I’m so thrilled to feature debut author Suzanne Baltsar on the blog this week! Suzanne and I are agent AND publisher sisters – both repped by the fabulous Sharon Pelletier and debuting with Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.
Suzanne’s long history with books can be traced back to the second grade when she learned she could earn free pizzas in exchange for book reports, thus beginning her addiction to personal pan pizzas and reading. Her love for reading eventually turned into a love of storytelling. When she’s not writing romance novels, her nine-to-five is managing a small cinema, but she also has her own film company, for which she wrote and directed a narrative feature in 2013. She writes and lives her happily ever afters in Pennsylvania with a Mr. Brawny look-a-like and a couple of children, some furry, some not. You can connect with Suzanne on Twitter @SuzMWrites or on her website SuzanneBaltsar.com
Suzanne’s debut novel Trouble Brewing is a contemporary romance about a smart, ambitious woman making her way in the male-dominated world of beer brewing, and it comes out next Tuesday, September 25th. For more about Trouble Brewing – including how you can win a copy! – keep reading.
Who is one of your favorite (fictional or non-fictional) characters?
Zelda Fitzgerald, is of course a real person, but also kind of a fictional character now. I fell in love with The Great Gatsby in high school, and I remember the conversation we had about how Daisy was inspired by Zelda. Daisy was such a complicated character, I did more research on Zelda, and kind of became obsessed. I read biographies on the Fitzgeralds and some historical fiction. One of my favorite books is Z, which recently became a show on Amazon. Zelda was a free spirit, an artist, a trail blazer, a feminist, an f-cking icon before icons existed. And she didn’t get her due. Zelda is on my baby name list, and if it wasn’t for that stupid video game, I’d probably be name baby #2 Zelda. It’s a rock star name after a rock star woman.
Where do you love to be?
My bed. It’s terrible because of the whole “sleep when you’re dead” thing, but I love to sleep. I’m good at it and need a lot of it. When I’m not sleeping or napping in my bed, I play with my kid, watch Netflix, and do a lot of night time writing there as well. We moved into a new house a few weeks ago and got a king size bed, and it has changed my life. Like, it makes me want to sing “For Good” at the top of my lungs.
When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
I knew a 9-5 job wasn’t for me, but I had absolutely no direction at all. I didn’t even apply to colleges until the middle of my senior year. At any given time, I wanted to be a dancer for Britney Spears, an MTV VJ, a comedian, a talk show host, a radio personality. I ended up going to college and becoming a special education teacher. I was a good teacher, and because I enjoy the spotlight and have a knack for explaining complicated historical events in a simple manner, I was pretty good at it. But it didn’t last long. One thing I learned from the “pressure” of deciding what you’re going to be in school is that it’s all a joke. There is no reason to pick a path with you’re a kid with no knowledge of how anything works. College is a waste of money and time, especially for someone who wanted to be an MTV VJ…MTV doesn’t even play music videos anymore.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
I’m not one to give advice on anything, but a good life lesson to learn is to fail. Try everything and don’t be afraid of the outcome. Failing is not the end, it’s a chance to start again. So write the book, write the query letter, send it to your friend to read, talk to the publisher, whatever. Don’t be afraid of being told “no.” Because the only way you will reach your goal is to try. If that book you wrote sits on a blue file folder on your computer collecting dust, you have nothing. But if you do something with it, you are one step closer to what you want. Take this from a girl who failed first grade…not kidding. Failing is tough, but it makes succeeding that much sweeter.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I have worked a lot A LOT of different jobs, but the weirdest one for me was a fruit farm. I’m not much of an outdoor person, and this job required me to be in the fields all the time. It was a pick-your-own-fruit place and the workers had to lead the patrons out to the field and answer all their questions about the apples, peaches, cherries, or whatever we were picking at the time. We also had some animals on this farm that people could feed. We sometimes had to go down to give them water or whatever, and one day I was kicked by a llama. In case you didn’t know, llamas do not like to be approached from behind, and they will kick you with their reverse knee-d legs. That bastard of a llama left quite a bruise on my shin. But, like everything, it was all a learning experience. And Fuji apples are the best. If you don’t agree, don’t talk to me.
Suzanne has very generously provided three copies of Trouble Brewing for this week’s giveaway! Retweet the tweet below or share this post on Facebook for a chance to win one. We will contact the lucky winners on Friday, September 28th (US Only).
Check out this week’s guest interview with @SuzMWrites and RT for a chance to win a copy of her debut novel #TroubleBrewing, out 9/25 from @GalleryBooks! https://t.co/DapWm9eJXB pic.twitter.com/yefUz3kSWw
— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) September 22, 2018
Here’s a bit more about the book:
Piper Williams is used to being the only woman in a room full of men, but she isn’t used to being instantly drawn to someone she’s in business with.
After working long hours brewing in her garage, Piper is determined to prove herself—and to ignore the chemistry she has with Blake Reed, owner of Minnesota’s newest gastropub who is going to stock four of her brews. She wants her craft beer to stand on its own merits and knows that the tight-knit male-dominated brewer community will assume the worst if she starts anything with one of her vendors. No way she’ll risk everything she’s invested in her budding business on a guy who might not stick—no matter how charmingly handsome and funny he is, right?
And Blake has a conflict of his own—his haughty family wants him to ditch the gastropub and support his father’s political campaign. Well, that, and the fact that he knows Piper’s snark and sass is the perfect blend of crisp and refreshing for him. So Blake and Piper make a pact: she’ll go out with him if, and only if, two additional pubs start carrying her beer. Sticking to the pact proves harder than either of them expected—especially since the attraction is off the charts between quirky, independent Piper and smart, charming Blake.
Then Piper gets a once-in-a-lifetime offer that could launch her company to the next level—and take her away from Blake. Are she and Blake just drunk in love, or do they have something real that’s worth risking her dreams for?