Suzanne Sweeney is a graduate of Georgian Court University where she studied Elementary Education and Sociology. For some time now, she has been sharing her love of literature with the young minds who sit before her in class each and every day. After years of teaching the art of writing, Suzanne has finally taken her own advice and put pen to paper in order to produce her debut novel, Running Back to You. She writes what she lives, residing in the community she loves, Point Pleasant, with her family who provide a constant source of inspiration and support.
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I was privileged to ask her some questions.
This is what she wanted to share:
What is your favorite thing about writing?
There's a feeling you get as a writer when everything "clicks". When one comment a character makes helps make a seamless segue to a major event. Or when writer's block is suddenly broken by a new and unexpected idea that helps weave the plot together like you didn't know was possible. I've had many of those moments and they always take me by surprise.
If you weren’t an author, what would you expend your passion on?
Editing books, or perhaps even publishing. I spent many years teaching and I've gone through dozens and dozens of red pens over the years. Finding errors and weaknesses and helping authors to revise and edit is very rewarding for me.
What or who inspires you?
Many of my characters are inspired by people I know. You will find traces of my children in the two main female characters (maybe even a bit of myself). People I've known, strangers I've met, classmates I've grown up with, can all be found in some shape or form on the pages of my books. Even the names are from friends, family, and acquaintances. It's a sort of homage to the people who have helped make me the person I am today.
What is a trait, characteristic, feature, quality, attribute, idiosyncrasy, mannerism, peculiarity, or quirk that is unique to you?
I am an over-thinker. That is a quality that helps make me a good writer, because I know exactly where I plan to be one page from now, one chapter from now, and even one book from now. However, sometimes that can be a detriment, too. I will agonize over a particular scene, worrying about creating believability. After all, none of the events that I write about actually happened, so I have to have a clear image in my mind about how they would happen, why they would happen, and what complications could possibly pop up.
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner which meal is your favorite?
Breakfast - hands down. I love a good, hearty breakfast more than anything. I can live with a salad for lunch and soup for dinner, so long as I've had a savory breakfast.
If you could pick any destination, where would you go?
I would love to travel to Europe and visit some historical locations. To walk the streets of Rome or Paris, to visit Stonehenge or Buckingham Palace, to touch the Berlin wall, would be an amazing journey that I hope I could take at least once in my lifetime.
What is your favorite fairy tale?
As a teacher, I've had two favorites over the years that serve as a source of teachable moments - the Boy who Cried Wolf, and the Three Little Pigs. They both teach very clearly the values that children need to learn and live in order to be successful adults. :D
What type of music do you listen to?
Pop music and Classic Rock. I cannot sing to save my life, but when I'm in the car or shower, you can be sure that I'm singing right along.
If you could talk to one person (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Tom Hanks - hands down! He's my personal hero. I can honestly say that I've loved every movie he's ever done and we even share a few passions, such as space travel. When I was young, I wanted to become an astronaut, but that wasn't meant to be for me. He got to live out his dreams on the big screen both in front of the lens and behind it. He's also met with and worked alongside some of the most accomplished individuals of our times. I'm sure spending some time with Hanx would be amazing!
Night or Day?
Day, without hesitation. Specifically, early morning, say 6 AM when no one else is around. You can have the mornings! LOL! That is way to early for my taste.
What is your favorite splurge?
Starbucks. Macchiato in the cold weather and Frappuccino in the cold.
What is your favorite flower?
Gerbera Daisy. Flowers play a very important role in my books. The first flower Evan sends to Juliette is an orange Gerbera Daisy and it's not a coincidence.
Do you prefer baked or fried?
Fried food is probably my worst guilty pleasure. It is just sooo good!
What is your least favorite thing to do?
Gardening and yard work. I love to be outside. I enjoy having a beautiful outdoor space filled with vibrant flowers and a thick, green lawn. But I loathe weeding and maintaining my yard. If I were to suddenly become rich, a landscaper would be the first hired help I would splurge on!
Juliette Fletcher is a girl with a plan. Not one to sit back and wait for life to happen, she moves back home after graduation and begins to carve out a life for herself.
Evan McGuire is desperate for a fresh start. His career in the NFL depends on it. Years of partying and carefree living have caught up with him. After buying a beach house in need of renovations, he begins to rebuild his life and his reputation.
What Evan doesn’t expect is a chance meeting with Juliette out on an early morning beach run with her dog. A strong mutual attraction draws them together, but fear of scaring her away keeps Evan from revealing his true identity. Evan finds himself in an unfamiliar situation – forced to work harder than he ever has before to prove himself worthy of her affections.
Tragic misunderstandings and unexpected obstacles threaten to derail a fragile relationship. Someone is watching, waiting, and tormenting Juliette, desperate to destroy everything. Can they find the strength to overcome jealousy, insecurity, and fear before it’s too late?
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Excerpt from Chapter 3: Outside Forces
Wanting to know a little bit more about him, I press on. “I don’t mean to pry, but I was just wondering … do you live here? I mean, is this your house? Is there anyone who might walk in and have a problem with me sitting here right now? A wife? Girlfriend? Boyfriend?”
He chokes on his water and spits it out. I guess he’s never been asked that before.
“Wow, you get right to it, don’t you? No, Juliette, I live here alone, most of the time, anyway.” Another cryptic response that I’ll leave alone for the time being.
He hands me a fresh bottle of water.
“How about you? Anyone special in your life right now?” He folds his hands in his lap and I can’t help but notice they’re the exact type of hands I love: large, strong, and manly.
“No. It’s just Maddy and me against the world. She watches my back and I scratch hers.” It’s my lame attempt at humor. Absentmindedly, I start twirling my fingers through my ponytail.
He has a one-word response, “Interesting.” I’m perplexed.
I attempt to change the subject, “I think it’s time to take off the ice. Didn’t you say fifteen-minutes on and fifteen-minutes off?”
Evan checks his watch and agrees, “Yeah, let me check it. I want to make sure it’s not swelling up.” He tenderly removes the compression bandage and the ice. When his hand makes contact with my skin, something inside me awakens and I have to catch my breath.
He quickly removes his hand from my leg and walks away from me, over to the banister, gazing at the beach as the waves break on the shore. His back is to me and I take the opportunity to admire his physique without fear of being caught. His biceps are impressive. I can see them contract as he grasps the deck railing. I wonder why he pulled away like that.
“Hey, Evan, can I ask you a question?”
“Well, do you really own this place? It’s truly impressive. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never met anyone who lives in one of these homes. How can someone so young afford a place like this? I mean, I can barely make my rent and here you are in this huge beach house.”
There’s a moment of silence, like he’s considering my question and measuring his response. He’s still not looking at me.
“I’ve bought and sold a few houses over the past several years. Each one gave me a small profit, which I used to purchase the next one. My last house was in Houston and I flipped it for a very nice profit.”
“So, are you planning on selling this one soon? It looks like it’s almost done.” I’m hoping he says no.
“I haven’t decided yet. I’m starting to like it here. It looks promising.” He turns and stares right at me, “Very promising.”
I thought Running Back To You was great. It really brought out a lot of different emotions in me.
Juliette is a hometown girl returning after her graduation from college. She takes a job at a bar and is happy.
One day while running she gets injured. A hunk of a man named Evan takes her to his beach house to ice her ankle.
Evan is very sweet, handsome, and had a sexy physique in addition to being rich. He is new in town.
The two of them hit it off and eventually enter into a relationship.
I liked Juliette's spunky personality. I didn't like how quickly she changed her mind. For example, when something happened between the two of them, she would decide to do something and then do a complete 180. It frustrated me. Especially the one time when Evan did something that snowballed into something else. Everyone was upset with her because she didn't call anyone to let them know where she was. I was very angry because if he would have been upfront with her about what was happening, none of the circus that ended up ensuing, would have happened. While she mentioned it to him, it wasn't enough for me. I wanted her to call his a^^ on it. I would have liked to see her put him in his place instead of her getting chastised about a phone call that would have never needed to be made if not for him and his bad judgement.
Overall though, I really liked it. Evan gave Juliette lots of flowers with a meaning behind each of them. :-) It was great!
I also liked all of the names of mixed drinks. LOL! some of them were funny.
Running Back To You, had plenty of sweet moments, some funny moments, dangerous/creepy moments, romance, some steam, running, football, drink making, dancing, music, and sweets.
The characters were really likable, the pace was steady, and the story was engaging.
I recommend this one and I'm excited about reading the next book, Running Home To You soon!
I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I really liked it. It was fun, romantic, sweet, interesting, and extremely entertaining. :-)
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