The Sensor Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Number of pages: 387 pages
Word Count: 92,000 words
Melena Sanders faced her fair share of danger with insurgents and terrorists when she served in the U.S. Army, but now she is about to go up against a new threat. Her best friend, Aniya, has disappeared while on a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska—a supernatural haven. Most humans have no idea darker races lurk amongst them. Mel knows better. If she wants to get her friend back, she’s going to have to go in alone—but not unarmed.
Melena has a few special skills the Army didn’t provide, but the odds are still against her. She’s got to come up with a plan fast that doesn’t involve her, or her friend, dying. But danger likes to play it rough. A war for power is about to rise in Fairbanks and if she wants to get Aniya back, she’s going to have to step right into the middle of it.
The Sensor Series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Word count: 101,000 words (approximate)
Melena Sanders has managed to avoid all things inhuman for most of her life, but after coming to Fairbanks, Alaska to rescue her best friend from supernaturals she hasn’t been allowed to leave. That is, until her long-time nemesis comes to collect a favor she owes him. Lucas might be half angel, but he’s all bad as far as she’s concerned.
Paying him back might get her out of town for a while, but her new destination will be anything but enjoyable. Mel’s got to help the nephilim take care of a demon possession outbreak in Juneau. Although something like this hasn’t happened for thousands of years, Lucas is certain Melena’s rare abilities are the key to solving the problem.
With violence in the capital city growing, she’s going to have to figure out how to stop it fast before the trouble spreads to other places. Not only that, but working closely with Lucas is changing the dynamics of their hate-hate relationship—worrying her even more than the demons. Getting back to her captivity in Fairbanks never looked so good.
1. Where did you get the idea for the novel?
I’d wanted to write a book/series with a female veteran as the heroine for awhile. Though it has since changed, at the time I hadn’t been able to find any military women as leads in urban fantasy. The trick was coming up with a storyline that would work. Darkness Haunts was my third attempt and the one that finally came together. I played with so many plot ideas I can’t even remember what triggered the one for it, but I can say I’d always been fascinated with Alaska and wanted to use it for my third try. The setting really helped fuel my imagination because there was so much to explore and there aren’t a lot of books based there.
2. Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
I come up with all my titles, but Darkness Haunts was not the original one for the book. The working title while I was writing it was Senses Awakened, but I dropped it later because I worried it would sound more like romance than UF.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
Definitely the novel. I didn’t even come up with the working title until half-way through the book. The rest of the novels for the main series have had names for them ahead of time, though. Once I started a pattern for them, it got easier. The only trick has been to make sure no other books have the same title.
4. Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
To be honest, it’s every time a reader tells me they just finished my book and that they loved it so much that they turned around and read it again. I can’t describe how flattering it is when a total stranger enjoys my writing enough that they want to experience it all over again. It keeps me motivated.
5. What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Caged Warrior by Lindsey Piper. I love books with strong female leads and that one grabbed my attention.
6. What was your first book that you ever wrote (very first one you wrote, not published)?
It was a contemporary fantasy romance about a woman who’d died in a past life centuries ago and was reborn. She starts having dreams about the man she’d once loved and feels she has to find out if he’s real. She eventually meets him again in Italy (he was immortal) and goes through a journey of discovering herself and finding love with him again. I enjoyed that story so much I wrote all 71,000 words of it in about a month, but I made so many beginner mistakes it wouldn’t be publishable without serious revisions. It’s one of those books I’d just rather keep to myself J
7. What is your writing process?
Usually I like to brain storm for awhile, at least a couple of weeks, and then write out the first couple of chapters to get a feel for the story. Once I have a handle on it, I finalize the plot and then finish the rest from there. I’m not a stickler for staying with the plan, though, and will make changes when I think something else will work better.
8. Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Jeaniene Frost, Karen Marie Moning, and Ilona Andrews
9. At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
I haven’t done an official book signing, but I have mailed signed copies to readers who won them through giveaways and I’ve given some to family/friends. If they are a fan who has already read some of my work, I try to personalize it in some way. It varies each time as to what I write depending on who they are.
10. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Very little scares me. I have no significant fear of heights, closed spaces, the dark, roller coaster rides, jumping out of planes or most other things people are commonly afraid of. The irony of this is I developed a strong fear of garbage disposals when I was fifteen after a couple of bad experiences. Many family/friends found this rather funny. The first time I forgot to check the disposal before running it so a knife flew out at me. Getting smart the next time, I put my hand down to check and got electrocuted. I gave up after that and refused to be near one while it was running to the point I’d leave the kitchen if it was turned on. This got rather tricky when I lived alone and I’d actually go so far as to invite friends over to run it for me, lol. It has only been recently that I’ve begun to work past that fear.
11. How do you react to a bad review?
I don’t pay attention to them anymore, but in the beginning I’d go read the bad reviews on my favorite authors and that always made me feel better. If the bestsellers can get them, who am I to think everyone is going to like my work?
12. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I slept, lol. Publishing a novel is exhausting! (later I went out to eat with my husband)
Thanks to Alisia for having me here today on her blog. I enjoyed the interview questions and opportunity to talk about myself and my work!
Instead of making the traditional post high school move and attending college, Susan joined the U.S. Army. She spent her eighteenth birthday in the gas chamber...an experience she is sure is best left for criminals. For eleven years she served first as a human resources specialist and later as an Arabic linguist (mostly in Airborne units). Though all her duty assignments were stateside, she did make two deployments to Iraq where her language skills were put to regular use.
After leaving the service in 2009, Susan returned to school to study history with a focus on the Middle East. She no longer finds many opportunities to test her fighting abilities in real life, unless her husband is demanding she cook him a real meal, but she's found a new outlet in writing urban fantasy heroines who can.