I know Dannie and was excited to hear she had written a book. When I first started to read Desert Heat, I did so with a critical eye because it was...
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Wow! Such a good story.I enjoyed it so much.I think what got me the most was that I don`t think most people would give a second thought to what kind...
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Our book club had the opportunity and privilege to meet and have a lively discussion of "Desert Heat" with Dannie Marsden...a great story with strong...
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I am waiting for the next book to come out! The story was a page turner and I also enjoyed the portrayal of a variety of lesbians and how we interact...
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Nancy: When did you know you wanted to write?
Syd: I was seven or eight, seven I think, in the second grade. We went to the library every day for school. I got this book, They Love To Laugh it was a romance set in the 1860s, one of those where she falls in love with the guy, and she doesn't think he's in love with her, and blah blah blah, it was an amazing book at age 7. And I thought, okay, that's what I like, I enjoyed reading it. Then I started reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, I was always searching for good book and I thought to myself, I'm going to be the Jane Austen of this century. And when I realized I couldn't be that, I just decided to go with writing what I knew. So since I was probably seven, I have wanted to write a novel. That was the one thing that I kind of looked at my entire life as the one thing that I hadn't really ever done that I really wanted to do.
Nancy: So when did you actually pick up a pen and write something?
Syd: I wrote poetry a long time ago, probably in junior high, so maybe 11 or 12. But I didn't actually sit down to write a book until four years ago. So I was 33 years old before I finally got up the gumption to sit down and actually do something.
Nancy: Okay, when you started writing your first book, did you actually just sit down and write it, or did you start it, stop and work on something else, or write straight through?
Syd: That one I wrote straight through. I had the idea in my head for so long.
Nancy: Which book was this?
Syd: That was Immediate Possession. I won't say it was an autobiography, because it's not, but there's certain things in that story that happened to me. And I just felt that if I was going to write what I knew that I would start with that. And in hindsight, it might not have been the best idea.
Nancy: And you just sat down and wrote that through to the end?
Syd: Yeah, I just sat down and wrote that one in about a month and a half.
Nancy: No shit?
Syd: (laughing) And if you read it, you could tell it was done very quickly.
Nancy: What you mean "if" I read it? I have read all of your books. Didn't you get my e-mail where I stated I was waiting impatiently for your next book?
Syd: (laughing) I did, I did. I didn't mean you. I meant the readers in general, when they picked it up and read it, they will be able to tell it's one of my first books.
Nancy: You can definitely see the improvement in your writing in each novel.
Syd: I worked hard at that. There were a lot of comments about the editing and looking back, they were bad. (The books, not the comments.) I have tried to pick up a little bit more along the way and have actually gotten some outside help.
Nancy: You actually almost have to go outside for help. There is nothing wrong with getting a friend to help for their opinion, but are your friends willing to be honest and say ‘that really sucks’ if it does. That's a hard thing to say to someone that you know and like. It's easier to get someone you aren't friends with to give you an honest opinion.
Nancy: Okay, so you've been writing for four years and you have five books?
Syd: Yes, five books published.
Nancy: Wow, that's kind of a lot of writing in such a short period.
Syd: It really is, but the first three were rolling around in my head. I get very focused on certain things and once I started, I couldn't put it down. You'll see the first three came out fast, and I don't think the first three are as good, technically good I mean, as a later ones. So, yeah, it was quick, but I slowed down after that, because I realize there was a lot more to writing than just getting the story out.
Nancy: You know, for new a writer, that's a hard realization to make. So it's good that you made it so soon.
Syd: It took me a while, but…
Nancy: At least all of your stories were enjoyable. I seldom don't finish a book, but in the last year, there have been a couple that I have tried three or four different times and I just couldn't do it. With your books, I never wanted to set them aside and start on something else. The editing might not have been perfect, but with a good story you can overlook a few mistakes.
Nancy: I know we talked about the book you read when you were seven, what actually inspired you the most right?
Syd: I think that I've always just had this urge. It wasn't a person or thing that happened, I always had this idea in my head that I was going to be this famous author and I was going to change the landscape of my current time with some book that I wrote. Which is ambition beyond what I can even imagine at this particular time. But I was like eight years old and at eight years of age, they teach you that ‘you can do anything. So it was just a dream that I've had from very early on.
Nancy: That's cool.
Syd: I love to read and the enjoyment I got from reading I wanted to give to other people.
Nancy: You know, sometimes I can be quite smart ass, and sometimes, my mouth is in gear before my brain is fully engaged, but…
Syd: No, I would've never guessed that. (Laughing)
Nancy: Right? But come on Syd, are you a little slow or what? You have known since you were eight you wanted to write and it took you over 20 years to pen your first novel. What is wrong with you? Look at how many books I have missed out on!
Syd: (laughing) I'm very hardheaded and sometimes very slow. I have to think through everything, make a plan, or ten plans, however many it takes before I actually get into what I wanted to do.
My girlfriend laughs at me because I can't just pick up and go to Florida or something and think I'm going to find a room when I get down there. I have to actually plan everything out. I have the route memorized, where we're staying, all the phone numbers, and that's like weeks before we even go. So to answer your question, yes I am slow and anal.
Nancy: I'm totally with you on the anal part. When I go someplace, I have several lists going…what I'm going to pack, what I need to get. My trip route is printed and set in my GPS unit. I'm not anal, I'm thorough!
Nancy: You've got five books out, none of them are even close to the same. Where do your ideas come from?
Syd: It could be something that just hits me out of the blue. One I can use as an example is Loves Abiding Spirit, which is the one set in Savannah. I had a chat going with a friend of mine and we were talking about people from our past and kind of the ghosts in the closet or the skeletons that we all carry with us and I got to thinking that it might be kind of a cool story if you had a real ghost in your closet, and where can I set that. Well it's got to be someplace that is famous for ghosts. So the idea kind of came from that. And I had always wanted to do a story with a woman who was married and had a child and her lover decided to leave her because she can't live the gay lifestyle anymore. So it all kind of congregated into that story. So it could really be anything. I could see a sign on the road, or hear something on the news. Like with the Storm Chasers, I'm a sucker for storm chasers. I can sit and watch the weather channel for hours. So that was something I've always wanted to put in a book. So it's random, very random where my ideas come from.
Nancy- When I started that book…I love the movie Twister, with Jodie Foster. Well how could I not… Jodie Foster was in it. So when I started to read the book, I thought ‘Crap it's going to be just like Twister I bet, only lesbian style!’ And it really wasn't, it was very refreshing. That's what I like most about your books, they're different. It's refreshing to pick up a book and not know exactly was going to happen. Your books are so diverse, so many different topics. Everyone has a formula for writing, but I like the way you do yours. Yours is not easy to pick up and know exactly what's going to happen, which is a good thing.
Syd: I do try. I always like to come in with a fresh idea, even if it's similar to something that's already been done.
Nancy: What's your next book going to be about?
Syd: You know, it's funny you asked. The next one coming out, will be my first attempt at a mystery. It actually came to me in a dream and it was very vivid. I remember telling my girlfriend about it she's like, you are quite twisted.
Nancy: Did you say thank you?
Syd: I did actually. (Laughing) So the next book is a murder mystery, and that will be my first foray into getting away from straight romance. It will be interesting to see how that one comes out.
Nancy: And how far along is that one?
Syd: It's up to the edits, it's written and going through the edits.
Nancy: Oh, very cool. Can't wait.
Nancy: When you write, do you have any quirks that you have to follow?
Syd: Well, I do everything on the computer, from writing down the story idea, the character development, and that kind of stuff. Anything I do is all on the computer. I am so not like the organized authors that have their notecards and they have this whole outline set up and they go by the outline. I am just so unorganized, I will have a thought in my head, and I'll start with that and the story just kind of writes itself.
Nancy: So no quirks at all?
Syd: My only quirk probably, I love Doritos, and I have a habit, when I write a love scene, because they are not the easiest to write, to sit and have a bag of Doritos with me while I'm writing. That makes it not quite as serious.
Nancy: Okay (laughing) We won't be calling you a freak at all!
Nancy: Do You like music in the background or do you need it completely quiet when you write?
Syd: Actually, I will have music on, but it has to be so quiet that it almost an afterthought. I can't have a TV on or blurring music. When I write, I kind of get into the characters and into the theme, so it's almost like I'm in the room or were ever each of the characters are and narrating what's going on, saying the lines as they say them. So I'll get distracted if I have something on that's too loud.
Nancy: With me, I can deal with the TV on, because that is easy to block out, but music, I can't have that on. If a song plays that I like, I will start jamming to it and the next thing I know, I'm writing the words to the song down and not the storyline.
Syd: (laughing) That's not a bad idea, maybe I should just start throwing random music quotes in my books.
Nancy: Are you often a character in your books?
Syd: One time did I base a character on myself. And that was Regan in Immediate Possession. She had probably 50% of what my personality is, and kind of what my job at the time was. After that, I didn't put myself in anymore, but I do kind of sample from people that I know.
Nancy: Hey, that was my next question! Do you base any of your characters on people you know or people you see?
Syd: Probably a little both. Gay, in Love's Abiding Spirit, is based entirely on a friend of mine, down to the way that she walks, and the way that she kind of just handles herself. Others could just be a look that I want to get. Let's say I wanted a brunette and I think a brunette with brown eyes is really hot, so I'll do that. It's probably 50-50.
Nancy: I love to people watch, and one of things I like to do when I'm watching is if something about a person catches my eye I write down a brief description to use later when I want to describe certain character. Do you do anything like that?
Syd: I haven't before, but I'm totally stealing that idea.
Nancy: (laughing) Okay I'm going to say goodbye now…that the second idea of mine you said you were going to steal!
Syd: (laughing) I don't know that I write characteristics about people down. I'm like you, very visual, and I love to watch people. I think that when things hit me, it may be just the one thing about someone…this person articulates with their hands a certain way, this person has a smile that I really like, this person walks particular way that I like, then I kind of remember that and at some point I'll incorporated into a character.
Nancy: You find it easy to name your characters?
Syd: You know, that's probably one of the things that takes the longest. I think I put a lot more thought into naming characters than I probably should. I will spend a good couple of hours, to a day, just sitting down strictly naming characters.
Nancy: I hate naming characters! That is the hardest part for me.
Syd: In some twisted way, I think I like it.
Nancy: What do you do when your story stops flowing?
Syd: Put it down and start another one.
Syd: Yeah. Like right now, I had an idea for a story oh, maybe three years or so ago, and got a third of the way done with it. It was told in first person, and I've always heard first-person novels are horrendous because nobody wants to read them, but I kind of went against that. I got about one third of the way done and I just couldn't figure out where I wanted to go with it because I was going back and forth between making it a full-length story and a short story. I think I stressed about it for about a week and finally said screw it. Now I probably have three going and I work on which everyone I get the most feedback from in my mind.
Nancy: Some people say that when they are writing a story, the characters take over and write the story. Do you find that to be true or are you in complete control of your story and your characters?
Syd: I'd like to think I'm in control. I'm the type of person that I want to be in charge of everything, but my A. D. D. gets the best of me. So I won't say that the characters write the story, but I'll start to rewrite it in my head. And that may be because I've gotten so involved in my characters that I see them evolve in a different way. So it's more my ability to NOT stay on track as to where the story goes and not the actual character.
Nancy: How much research goes into your books?
Syd: It depends on how much actual detail is going to be in a story. Love's Abiding Spirit ? I researched Savannah probably for months before I began to do any of it. Twist of Fate a TON, I read books on it, I watched quite a few documentaries, and I did a lot of online research of actual timelines of tornadoes and stuff like that. That book that was probably the most researched one that I've done so far. If it's just a simple story, kind of like Just Tonight, where I've been to most of places, I know my head what everything kind of looks like, I don't spend near as much time, but the more involved it is in the more detail I know people are going to pick up on, it can be several months of research before actually get into the meat of the story.
Nancy: Okay. What about the mystery one you doing, how much research did you do for that?
Syd: Quite a bit actually. There is quite a bit of detail. It is set in Chicago, on the way the Chicago Police Department and the detective departments work, and a little bit on the FBI in that particular area. On that one, it was really more research on the structure and who reports to who, a lot about the city and different things like that. That one had a lot of online and reading research put into it, and I'm hoping all that we picked up on by anyone who reads it.
Nancy: Do read all your reviews?
Syd: I did first. But I take criticism not very well, so some of the first ones, some of the ones that were kind of unkind, really really got to me. I remember asking Decky (R. E. Bradshaw) what she did and she gave me some very good advice. She said "I do not read my reviews anymore, I have my wife read them, and if there is one that she thinks I need to see, she'll show it to me". She also said she doesn't track what she sold each month either, so I stopped doing that probably back in November, and it was the best piece of advice I could've gotten.
Nancy: When you did you read your reviews, how did you handle a bad one?
Syd: I would kind of sulk for a while, because that's what I do, and then I would go through the next phase of what makes them such an expert on this particular subject. I remember one in particular where someone had said the book was a really bad rewrite of the Thy Neighbor’s Wife, by George Beers, and I've never even read the book. I got a little up in arms about that. Finally I was like, you know what, I can understand what some of them are saying, and I would take out the pieces that they said, maybe in a negative way and try to put a positive spin on it, and take it as constructive criticism and something I can use to make my writing better. Then I got to the point where I just needed to get away from that, because I spent too much time focusing on that, and not enough on the writing, and to me, the important part was the writing, and I need to get back to that.
Nancy: It's very hard to understand why people say what they do when they review a book. If I don't like a book, I will say why don't like it, like it was too simple and nothing caught my attention enough to make me want to continue reading, but to just say the book sucks or to attack the author is beyond the scope of what a review should be.
Nancy: If there are no outlets to sell your books, would you still write?
Syd: Yes. The funny thing is, my original goal was to write and publish, but I amended that goal to "I just want to write a book". I just want to say that at some point in my life I wrote a novel. That's why with the first three I wrote, I didn't do anything with them right away. It wasn't until a friend of mine read them and said, you know what, why don't you just go ahead and see if you get published? I mean you've written them, why not try. And I did, and you can see what happened. So yes, I may not write as much, but I think I'll always have a story to tell and I have to get it out, because if not, my head would probably explode. If I stopped writing, I'd have some sort of mental itch that just wouldn't go away.
Nancy: Is there any kind of book you would never write?
Syd: That's a good question. I don't know, I wonder if I would ever do erotica. And I think that anybody who hasn't done that would think say ‘Oh, would I want to do this’. I think it would just matter of what hit me at the time. I think if I had an idea and that's what it involved, I think that would be what I would write. I can't say as a matter of fact that there something I would never write.
Nancy: So you would never say no to erotica?
Syd: No, I try to never say never.
Nancy: We touched on this a bit earlier, but you plan your books in detail or do you just write?
Syd: I just write. I'll set out the characters and a little of what they look like and a little of their story, a little about the side characters, maybe a few details here and there. Even with that, as I start write the story, I may have had something planned out, I may have had one character in a particular job or wanting a particular thing, but halfway through the book it has changed. So I probably should and I think I would have a little bit easier time writing it if it gave myself more of an outline, but I just can't do that. I'm not disciplined enough in my writing.
Nancy: Do you edit as you write or do you just let it flow?
Syd: The first three or four that I wrote I did not. I just hit the computer and went with it. And I realize going back, how difficult it was to try and reread and look at the grammar and all that kind of stuff. So as I got better with certain things, then I would edit as I wrote as best as I could and that made it a little bit easier for the editor when that time came.
Nancy: Writing the sex or love scenes in your stories, is that easy or hard for you to do?
Syd: (laughing) Ooh?
Nancy: Don't make me take away your Doritos!
Syd: This is funny, I actually get shy answering this question. To me, they are kind of difficult, and there are times when I will write the entire story and skip over the love scenes just because I'm not ready to write yet.
Syd: To me, it's almost like you're sitting in a door way and you're watching this love scene play out in front of you and you have to describe in a way that doesn't make it sound like porn. And that's kind of difficult sometimes because you have to get the right balance between hot and romantic, and sometimes I struggle.
Nancy: Would you rather write a love scene or sex scene? And you can't say neither.
Syd: I would probably say love scene, only because, for me, I have never been able to have sex without there being some kind of attraction there. I don't know that I could write a sex scene and not throw feelings into it.
Nancy: To me I think writing a sex scene would be easier because you don't have to put emotions in there. When you're writing a love scene you have to put all the emotions in there and make a real. When you're writing a sex scene it's just hot monkey sex and you can put things down that feel good and to me that's easier to write. To me you do things so much differently when you're making love to woman then when you just having sex with somebody. And when you try to put that into words the emotions that is hard to do. So when I'm writing it's just easier to let them fuck and get it over with. Okay I was just kidding about that.
Syd: I tell you what, I'll try to write a sex scene and get back to you on that
Nancy: What do you find most challenging about writing?
Syd: Um, finishing the story. I think that the hardest thing for me because I already have a story written out in my head and it's moving along and I'm doing fine, I think I have a hard time wrapping the book up and making an ending that's believable and not one of those where every book I write they ride off into the sunset. We know they do, because that's romance, and that's what we like about it.
Nancy: You've got to have a happy ever after.
Syd: Yeah, I've put enough angst in there that everyone has that tug and that pull of their heart at the end of it and you can cheer for the characters because they have made it out okay.
Nancy: Yeah, it not only has to be believable you can't rush it at all. You have no idea how me times I come to the end of a book and boom! it's over. I'd much rather have an extra chapter or two than a rushed ending where I feel I've been cheated somehow. That almost bothers me as much as fade to black and we all know how much that bothers me.
Syd: (laughing) exactly that one is not one of my favorites either.
Nancy: Have you ever taken any formal writing classes?
Syd: Outside of the school no. But it's not a bad idea maybe I should look into that.
Nancy: Now that you're a published writer does it change the way you write?
Syd: Aside from trying to write the story that doesn't have as many of the spelling errors and stuff, no not really. I think because I self-publish I still have the freedom that I might not have if I was published with one of the traditional publishers. For me it's basically just telling the story the way I want to tell it. I know that there's going to be books that people don't like and there is going to be books that people love, but I write for me and what I think I want to say to people.
Nancy: How did it feel to hold your first book?
Syd: Oh it was amazing! It came and I was so excited I took pictures of it and posted them on Facebook. Upside down.
Nancy: (Laughing really loud) You're good.
Syd: I am so good. I was talking to a girl out in Washington, it's funny, we had little bookstore here that was a gay and lesbian bookstore and it went out of business right before my first book came out. And I remember thinking when I was shopping there before, "Man wouldn't it be cool if I could see my books on the shelf" I didn't get that opportunity, but she did tell me there was a little bookstore in the town the she lives in, that they have my books on the shelf. I told her it would make my day if she could take a picture of my books on the shelves and send them to me. And I was laughing because no matter how awesome it is to hold the book of my hand or to see it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but the actual thought of it in a traditional bookstore gets me crazier than anything else.
Nancy: Well that's cool. I was going to ask you something and I'm sure it was very important, and now it's gone. It just went bye-bye.
Syd: You're just like me, I see something shiny and I'm gone.
Nancy: Now all of your books have been indie, why did you go the indie route?
Syd: Well one was because I got very nice rejection letters. That kind of tabled everything for a while and I didn't really look into any of the smaller publishers, as opposed to going on my own. At the time it seemed like my only option if I wanted to publish. Now that I have done it, I've had a couple people ask me what I would do if I was approached by one of the traditional publishers would I go with them. I have always said no and I think the biggest reason is I don't like structure and I don't like to be told what to do. For me to go the indie route means I can do the things I want to do and that has kind of been my idea all along. And it's how I live my life by doing what I want to do.
Nancy: You said you've gotten rejection letters I'm assuming that means more than one. Now did you go with mainstream publishers or lesbian publishers?
Syd: Lesbian publishers, I don't know if I'm allowed to say names or not, but one was Bold Strokes Books. After I sent one book to Bold Strokes, I got a huge e-mail back, it was from one of the girls that read my story. She gave me suggestions on what I could do to get better. And I thought you know what that's really cool I can take their rejections because I know they read my story and gave it some thought.
Nancy: How hard was the decision to publish after being rejected by a couple people?
Syd: It was very hard. And I kind of went into with the attitude of, (I think it was my mom and what she always taught me to go and ask for something because you have a no anyway, you never know you might get a yes). My idea behind it was let's put this out there, my friend likes reading it, and she said it was quite entertaining. I thought some parts of it were pretty good, I thought why don't I see if maybe other people like it. So I focused more on the possibility of it being enjoyed then on the negative aspects of it. I thought, okay you're putting it out there and opening yourself up for a whole a lot of feedback and that could include some negative feedback. But it took a while, it took a good year after I got turned down before I put them out. So I went back and licked my wounds, and came back out eventually.
Nancy: Now you have had a couple of pretty good sellers, did that make you feel validated because obviously they were wrong?
Syd: It did. It did and I shouldn't say this but, and this will be my nod to Decky, she is the reason I originally decided to self-publish. I had looked into it and it just seemed overwhelming and then I saw what she had done and the success that she had and she had done it by herself. I read Waking Up Gray and I said you know what, I got a lot of respect for this woman. And I thought I'm going to do this. So when I saw some of her books hit the bestsellers and subsequently had some of mine hit the top of the lesbian charts, I was like yeah, you know what, here's to the publishing companies that didn't pick us and we managed to do it on our own. And that was my one little kudos to myself, yeah, look what I just did.
Nancy: As a reader it interests me when I see these books that I know had been turned down by publishers. Like Trin Denise, Decky and you. I've read all your books and I enjoy them all tremendously and yet everyone has been turned down by ‘traditional publishers’. And on the other hand I've read some books by the ‘traditional publishers’ and I'm wondering how the hell it even got published.
Syd: Yes, I've asked myself the same question.
Nancy: I really often wonder how a publisher picks a book they are going to publish.
Syd: I kind of wondered that myself and the only thing I can figure is like there's the ABCs of writing, and as long as you fit their ABCs it doesn't matter what the story is as long as the structure is correct. That's unfair to say I know there's more to it than that, but, I kind of know what you mean. I've read a few that, I thought, you know I've read some that were way better. So you do have to question the judgment rules on occasion.
Nancy: I read a book and can't remember the name of the book at all, but the storyline was fantastic, but in my opinion they cut the storyline off just to get to the romance. I thought it took so much away from the book. Now remember, Nancy gets really pissed off if there is no sex in a book, but there has to be more than sex to keep my attention.
Syd: I will agree with that, but I did, in the next book, I threw in a sex scene just for you.
Nancy: Cool! Nancy loves gratuitous sex. I'm all about the instant gratification.
Nancy: Obviously you have no regrets about going indie.
Syd: No, none at all. I don't know if you'll reach as far or get the backing that you would if you went the official route but it gave me the freedom that I wanted. Where I am right now, has made me happy enough and I've reached the goals that I wanted to reach and I wouldn't change the way that I did it.
Nancy: I don't think that you have to be published by Bella or Bold Strokes to be a number one author. Take Decky for example, she just keeps putting out top seller after top seller.
Syd: I agree, I think more and more the smaller companies and the indie writers are coming around and are having their day.
Nancy: I also think price has a lot to do with it. Once we draw them in with our low prices, we have to have good product to keep them. I know there's always been and always will be trash out there in the indies but, serious writers are putting out more and more good books.
Nancy: For your personal preference you prefer reading an e-book or paperback?
Syd: Ooo, you know what, I always would've thought I was a diehard paperback fan but e-books on my smart phone are amazing. So I would have to say e-books.
Nancy: Are you single or in a relationship?
Syd: In a relationship.
Nancy: How long?
Syd: We are just a tad bit over six years.
Nancy: And what did you say her name was?
Nancy: Do you have any pets?
Syd: We have a lot of plants and that is the extent of our pets because keeping those alive is probably about all that we can take care of.
Nancy: Just a little FYI for you, plants are not really categorizes pets, unless you have something like a snapdragon that you can maybe have it do something. Just thought I'd throw it out let you know that.
Syd: What if we name them?
Nancy: Sorry no.
Syd: No, we don't have any pets. And I'm hanging my head down in shame as I say that.
Nancy: As well you should be! Would you like one of mine? Just kidding.
Syd: Laughing. I would have pets if I had a big back yard. I would rescue greyhounds.
Nancy: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Syd: I'm a morning person. I much prefer to be up early that up late.
Nancy: do use a Mac or PC?
Syd: PC. I am so bad, I so do not like anything Apple.
Nancy: Do use your real name or a pen name?
Syd: Pen name.
Nancy: How did you choose your pen name?
Syd: It was a little bit of a process, kind of like how I pick my character names. It started out as Candace Parker, which was a little bit too much like the basketball player. So I shortened it up to Sydney Parker but it was too long and there is already a Sydney Parker publishing, so I thought okay you know what Syd's good, it's one of those names it can go both ways, and I like Parker, from there it was just Syd Parker.
Nancy: What you do for relaxation?
Syd: I golf, I love to golf. And we ride road bikes quite a bit we just joined summer bowling league. I read a little, I get sucked into though history Channel or Nat Geo. We golf mainly, if I want to decompress or work out some frustration I will hit the course.
Nancy: I take it you don't mean the little golf games in a bar?
Syd: Umm no. I would suck at that.
Nancy: Good, I'll take you on in one of those games once.
Syd: Fine, but I'm not betting any money.
Nancy: Money? We play for beer, we take our golf seriously.
Syd: All right, I'm down with the beers.
Nancy: Do you have any hobbies?
Syd: Not really. Mostly my hobbies are more like activities like hiking, I like to run, is that a hobby? Or is it just an obsession?
Nancy: Umm no. I do wood working as a hobby, I cook, I remodel houses at least I used to, those are hobbies. No hobbies, no pets, I'm going to have to have a serious talk with you.
Syd: My hobbies are probably what I would consider my relaxation activities, I consider cooking dinner cooking dinner, not relaxing. Maybe I should look at it like that, a little more fun.
Nancy: What am I to do with you?
Nancy: What is your favorite meal? And if you say don't eat on a hang up on you right now.
Syd: (Laughing) Homemade pizza. I guess if I have to have a hobby, you could say making homemade pizzas is my hobby. And I do like to make homemade ice cream and I do that a lot.
Nancy: Are you an accomplished cook or you a fast food foodie?
Syd: I actually think I'm really good.
Nancy: Um, I'm talking about cooking here.
Syd: (Laughing) what's that saying, there are two things I'm really good at and cooking the other one. I make a few things really well, how's that for roundabout answer?
Nancy: For getaway would you prefer the water of the woods?
Syd: Um water. I'm a walk along the beach but not necessarily get in the water type girl but I have to have the water.
Nancy: Don't like getting wet huh? (laughing)
Syd: (laughing) I have a weird quirk about that, I don't like to be barefoot when the sprinklers turn on, I just don't like to get wet. When it rains, and my legs get wet, I don't like it.
Nancy: You know I could have so much fun with you not liking to get wet.
Nancy: If you could have anything that you wanted what would you ask for?
Syd: Um, let's see…
Nancy: No, you can't have my dog.
Syd: I would love to have a book make the New York Times bestseller list. That's my selfish for myself one. If I had a family one I would like to have my grandmother back, she has Alzheimer's and she doesn't remember us very well, I watched as my grandfather passed away from that too and I would like them both back.
Nancy: If you could pick one of your books to become a movie which will you choos?
Syd: I waited for this question I love this one. Love's Abiding Spirit would be my pick. And for the characters I would choose Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
Nancy: Why did you pick that book?
Syd: I just think it would be neat. I like the city I think it would be neat to have another movie in Savannah, and I like the idea. If you asked what my favorite one was, it would be that one.
Nancy: I like all your books and for some reason I thought you would've chosen Twist of Fate for your favorite book. It which is so much more of an action book I really thought you would pick that one.
Syd: True and I thought about that but I just didn't think the budget was there for it.
Nancy: I just think that would make a really kick ass movie.
Syd: Well that's true, but I just didn't think there was a budget for.
Nancy: I'm not asking you to spend your money I was just asking which movie would be the best.
Syd: Well, can I have both of them then?
Nancy: God, does your girlfriend let you get away with that kind of crap?
Syd: I can be very sweet and get what I want from her.
Nancy: (laughing) I'm sure you can, but were not going to go there.
Nancy: Who are your three favorite authors” I would like three mainstream and three lesbian authors if possible.
Syd: I have to say Jane Austen, she is my number one favorite. Second favorite would have to be Gerri Hill, and for my third favorite I'm going to say Radclyffe because she still up there. Georgia Beers would be my third lesbian author; I really like her a lot also. Mainstream, James Patterson, old-school though, the newer stuff of his, is kind of running out of ideas. And I like all the old John Grisham stuff.
Nancy: Would you like to add anything else to this interview before we finish up?
Syd: I don't think so. I think probably if anything I would like to say a huge thank you to you, a huge thank you to Terry, if Decky reads this, a big thank you to her, and the biggest thank you to all my readers. The last year has been incredible and it would not have been so without all you guys.
Nancy: We have talked about your new book, but you never told me the name of it.
Syd: The name of the new book is called The Killing Ground. It has lots of blood and lots of twists and things in it.
Nancy: There is sex in there right?
Syd: Well yeah.
Nancy: Don't let me down now.
Syd: I would never let you down. I might just go back and add another scene just for you.
Nancy: (Laughing), I think you should. Gratuitous sex is always a good thing.
Nancy: I don't know about anyone else, but I will admit that after the interview I pulled out Immediate Possession to reread it so I could try and figure out what parts could have been "real experiences" for Syd. I don't know any more now than I did before, but still it was a great read.
Syd was as refreshing to talk to as her books are to read. Lots and lots of laugh out loud moments. I don’t know about anybody else, but certain things about Syd really have me worried. No hobbies? Wanting to call her plants pets? The child just ain't right!
As soon as I can get a hold of Syd's address, I'm sending her case of Doritos; after all she has promised me at least one gratuitous sex scenes in the upcoming book The Killing Ground. Above I mentioned that certain things about Syd had me worried, here is a perfect example, eating Doritos and writing a love scene. I just don't get it. But if that's what it takes, I'll make sure she gets her Doritos.
Hopefully Syd's new book The Killing Ground, will be out sometime this month. Like she mentioned, is totally different from her other books, but I can't wait to read it. And it looks like I'm still batting 1000, another interview, and another book I just gotta have. And I'm still waiting for the powers that be, to set up a book fund for me.