Saturday, June 07, 2014

Here's Summer. . .

Looking for a "Summer" type book? How about a "Summer" type author? Okay, so that's an uber cheesy intro, but hey. . . too much sun will do that to you. Grab an iced tea, park yourself on a beach towel, and meet Stu Summers.

It’s not often an author makes himself into a hero—literally. Or literarily, I suppose. Why did you use your name? What gave you the idea?

My editor, Eva Marie Everson. I thought I should use a pen name for the book like, say, Nicholas Sparks. But Eva assured me readers wouldn’t mind that I basically wrote a memoir of how I dealt with all my problems as a writer – the biggest one being that I’m a fraud and can’t get dates except through my PR gal. (Which I fired, by the way, so that position is available if anyone is interested.)

Tasers are a big part of the story in Summer’s Love. What’s your connection? Have any personal life experience with them? Do tell.

Not in the sense that I’ve actually let someone electrocute me but I know someone who is packing and I stay far away from her. I have tased myself with electrical outlets, car batteries, and spark plugs. Did you know a surge of voltage shooting through your body can lead to male-pattern baldness and memory loss? I never knew that. But then I never knew a lot of things. Still don’t. What was the question again?

Hattie May Hall is a side character who’s larger than life. She belts out truth like a cat o’ nine tails. Is there a “real” Hattie and/or Hattie’s upon which you based this character?

Yes. My aunt Hattie May. She’s Mom’s younger sister. (all Mom’s sisters were younger). But aunt Hattie May is nicer. The character Hattie is based on a compilation of women I’ve met at writers’ conferences and in critique groups. They have strong opinions of right and wrong and mostly tell me that whatever I am doing or thinking is wrong. My agent thinks Whoopie Goldberg should play the role of Hattie in the movie but I doubt Whoopie is available.

Tell us what an average (I know, as if) writing day looks like for you.

I start with coffee, write for one hour, then take a nap. After my nap I wax my board and hit the surf. If it’s a good day I’ll surf until around 11. Then I grab lunch, usually rice and fish, take a nap, grab a cup of coffee and write for a couple of hours. If the surf is still good, I’ll catch an afternoon session, come in, get a beer, write for an hour, and have dinner. Usually rice and chicken. Then I watch old DVDs on my laptop. Sometimes I’ll write a letter to my publisher. He’s always hounding me for stuff, like this interview, and that really cuts into my writing and surfing time.

What’s been the most surprising thing about the writing journey that’s slapped you upside the head?

That I got busted for hiring a ghostwriter to write my books. Didn’t see that coming. I mean, my ghostwriter signed a non-disclosure, non-compete-whatever that was supposed to insulate me. I guess I’m too trusting of people. And book publishers, that’s another thing that caught me off guard. I had no idea they could be so heartless. I mean, I made them a ton of money for them with my other books and they cast me aside like whatshisname, that guy that can’t get a book contract anymore and is self-publishing his books. I forget his name.

What’s one nugget of sage advice you can give to a newbie writer?

Seek counseling.

Last but not least, just gotta know…is that really your picture on the back of your book or some gorgeous hunk of surfer you found on the beach somewhere?

It’s all me. Of course, I was younger then. And about twenty pounds lighter. All that rice and beer can put on the weight. Is it okay to mention that I drink beer? I get complaints from some readers that my characters shouldn’t drink and think lustful thoughts. But I think both are mentioned in the Bible. At least that’s what my editor says. Just to be safe, let’s take out that part about drinking beer. We’ll lie and say I drink water, even though the water on this island is pretty sketchy. But then I’m a sketchy guy. Are we done yet? I really need to get back in the water.

If anyone is looking for a great book to toss into their beach bag, check out SUMMER'S LOVE. Here's the back cover blurb:

Following the collapse of her interior design business, Kate Winston moves to Georgetown with hopes of making it as a sales rep for Tasmania, a company selling personal protection devices for women. With rapes, robberies, and domestic violence on the rise, the nation's capital is a ripe market. But Kate's stun gun party implodes when her guests demand she sweeten the deal by providing autographed copies of In Heat, the latest best-selling novel by Stu Summers. With creditors breathing down her neck, Kate drives to Page Me Books, where adoring fans clamor for an autograph with the New York Times sexy and single romance writer. 

Stu expects the flirty smiles and women fawning praise, but when his editor phones to inform Stu that his latest manuscript failed to impress the publishing board, his carefully crafted career begins to unravel. Stu has one week to deliver a complete rewrite that meets his reader's demanding standards. And he would if only he could write. But he can't. Not a lick. 

For years Stu has paid a church secretary to ghostwrite his novels.Only now Hattie May Hall feels God calling her to write paranormal prairie Amish thrillers with an evangelical, Cinderella twist. With Stu's career on the line and Kate's big taser sale in jeopardy, an unlikely pair of hearts collide, providing a shocking climax at the world's biggest stun gun ball.


Michelle Griep said...

Thanks for stopping by today, Stu. Love your quirky humor.

LadySaotome said...

Yes, thanks, Stu, for a fin interview. Color me intrigued!

Anonymous said...

Stu is such a character! And Summer's Love really is a great read. I enjoyed how it started out right away with action; I find it boring when novels drag on for the first two chapters of the narrator telling us why we should care about a character because "yada yada yada". Summer's Love cuts right to the chase and shows you!

Aaron Gansky said...

I remember my years of surfing and writing. Except for the surfing part. Maybe I should take it up.

Cindy Sproles said...

I've met Stu at a conference. Folks always circled around him, laughing, chatting, so I bought his book. I was impressed he allowed himself to be so open. I laughed. Coughed a little, maybe it was a little choke. But what I loved was, he's real. And he lets his human side show. So quirky. Funny. A little over the top, but when all was said and done, I closed the book with a smile on my face. A fun read. Good job Stu.

AvidReader said...

Stu is such a funny guy. I love that he makes his quirky brand of humor show in everything he does. I loved Summers' Love it made me wish I owned a taser and had a brother to demo it for me....