Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview with Suzanne McLeod and Giveaway - April 27, 2011

Please welcome Suzanne McLeod to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What is your most interesting writing quirk?

Suzanne:  Thanks so much for having me here at the Qwillery! Hmm, writing quirk? Well, before I start writing I have to stick my fingers in my ears, hop on one leg whilst chewing a liquorice torpedo and humming the theme tune to Rocky. This helps me get in the mood— oh darn it, I can see by your expressions you don’t believe me. So I’ll own up. I don’t have any interesting quirks . . . unless you count calling all my yet-to-be-named characters, Dave . . . *g*

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Suzanne:  Charlaine Harris, Kelly Armstrong, Ilona Andrews, Rachel Caine, Emma Bull, Mike Carey, Kim Harrison, Ann Aguirre, Tanya Huff to name a few. (I have a lotof favourites :-D). And I think that every book I’ve read has influenced my writing in some ways, but as my favourite genre is urban fantasy, those writers I love most have probably had more of an effect than others . . . *wanders off to dream of Eric* *g*.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Suzanne:  I’m a planster! (© Jaye Wells, my fab crit partner.) I plot out the major arcs of my books, usually starting with the murderer and working out why/how/when the baddie does the “horrible” deed. Then I weave the murder plot into Genny’s – my MC’s – life, and work a road map of scenes for the book. Then, I start writing! Which is where the plantster bit really comes in. Initially I follow my map but like any journey there’s always more than one road to reach “The End”. So as I write I take some unexpected, interesting and exciting detours, this leads to more “bad things” happening to my characters, and then I usually pull over to re-plot my road map so I still reach “The Ending” I planned :- ).

TQ:  Describe the Spellcrackers series in 140 characters or less.

Suzanne:  Spellcracking books set in London about magic, mayhem & murder – liberally spiced with hot guys, kick-ass chicks & super-cool supes!

TQ:  Tell us about The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers 2).

Suzanne:  Genny’s got a whole heap of problems, she’s being haunted by a ghost, her witch neighbours want her evicted, she’s not sure what Finn (her boss and sort of Ex) wants from her, and London’s vamps keep asking her out on the Town (all apart from the one she’s really interested in!). Then as she’s trying to sort her way out of all that, her friend is murdered, and Genny ends up the main suspect. She goes on the run, determined to find out who the murderer really is . . . And that’s when the evil author in me really starts to have fun! *g*

TQ:  What inspired you to write the Spellcrackers series?

Suzanne:  I love reading urban fantasy with its mix of the mundane, magic and murder, and I love series where the story follows the main characters’ lives, friendships and romances, and shows how they grow and change. I also like books to have relatively self-contained plots, especially when it comes to the baddie getting their comeuppance. So, when I started writing the Spellcrackers series, I wrote the sort of book I love to read :-D

TQ:  What sorts of research did you do for the series?

Suzanne:  Research for me usually falls into three categories. The first is where I daydream, er, do lots of thinking and make copious notes. This type deals a lot with characters, plot, how they interact, and how stuff in the Spellcrackers world, like magic or ‘how vamps become vamps’, frex, works.

The second part is where I mine myths and legends, reference books, the internet, TV documentaries and anything else that might have caught my interest, looking for cool little nuggets to back up any wacky ideas I might have, and search for those all important RL facts that make the world feel more real.

The third part is where I get to go shopping in London . . . oh, sorry, I meant “serious research” checking out the real places in the books, again so I can make them feel “real” *g*. And often I find these research visits give me lots of new, interesting ideas (and strangely enough, occasionally new shoes too! *looks innocent*).

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is your favorite scene or scenes in The Cold Kiss of Death?

Suzanne:  It has to be where Genny visits Southwark, the area round London Bridge. She goes to the Clink Museum, sees the replica Golden Hinde moored on the Thames, and climbs up Nancy’s Steps at the side of London Bridge (named for where Nancy, in the original musical of Dickens’ Oliver Twist, was murdered). Partly I love the scenes set there because they were some of the easy writing ones, but the main reason is when I researched the area, Mr Mc and I were on a short holiday in London, so they bring back lots of happy memories :- ).

TQ:  Which character in the series was the most difficult for you to write and why? Easiest?

Suzanne:  All the main ones have me tearing my hair out on occasion. If it’s not Finn being difficult, it’s Malik, and I’ve threatened to kill both of them off a few times if they don’t get their acts together! But the easiest characters are always the walk ons

TQ:  What's next?

Suzanne:  Genny’s next adventure is “The Bitter Seed of Magic” (out now UK, and Dec 2011 US). Genny’s trying to find a way to break an eighty-year-old curse which is making London’s fae infertile. The fae think they’ve got the perfect solution, but Genny’s convinced they’re wrong, and sets out to prove it. Then dead faelings – half fae, half human – start being fished out of the River Thames. It looks like the curse is responsible for their deaths, and as Genny investigates, she soon finds she has to crack the curse before she ends up the next victim.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Suzanne:  It’s been great to be here, thanks so much for having me!

About Suzanne's Books

The Sweet Scent of Blood
Spellcrackers 1
(US - April 27, 2010)

'My name is Genny Taylor. I work for It’s a great job, pays the rent, lets me do the thing I’m good at – finding magic and cracking it – and the bonus is it’s run by witches, which stops the vamps from taking a bite out of me.

Not that vampires are the big bad any more, not since they launched a slick PR campaign – ­ oh, and they brought the goblins on board. Now the vamps are sought-after celebrities, and Getting Fanged and taking the Gift are the new height of all things cool.

But only if you’re human.

And I’m not.

I’m Sidhe fae.

And I know firsthand just how deadly a vampire can be.’

When Mr October, a sexy calendar pin-up vamp, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, an old debt is called in and Genny is forced to help prove his innocence, risking her job and the protection it offers – and threatening to expose her own dark secrets. Searching for the killer plunges Genny deep into the hidden heart of vampire society. It’s not long before she realises that she and Mr October are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle between London’s non-human communities . . . and it’s not just her own neck that’s at stake, but the lives of all London’s supernaturals.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders

The Cold Kill of Death
Spellcrackers 2
(April 26, 2011)
Genny Taylor works for ±
Making Magic Safe. But her own life is anything but safe!

The ghost grasped her shift and ripped it open. The three interlacing crescents carved red-raw and bleeding into her thin chest didn’t look any better than the last dozen times I’d seen them. The wounds weren’t lethal – they weren’t even recent; she’d been dead for at least a hundred and fifty years – but my gut still twisted with anger that someone would do that to a child.’

Being haunted by a ghost is the least of Genny’s problems: she’s also trying to deal with the witch neighbour who wants her evicted. Finn, her sort-of-Ex – and now her new boss – can’t quite decide whether he wants their relationship to be business or pleasure. And then there’s the queue of vamps inviting her to paint the town red; how long before they stop taking no for an answer?

Just when it seems things can’t get any worse a human friend is murdered using sidhe magic. Determined to hunt down the killer and needing help, she turns to one of London’s most capricious wylde fae and the seductive vampire Malik al-Khan.

But all too soon she realises she doesn’t know who she can trust – and now Genny’s the one being hunted, not just by the police, but by some of London’s most powerful and dangerous supernaturals.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders

Book descriptions from Suzanne's website.

See my 4 1/2 Qwill review of The Cold Kiss of Death by clicking here.

About Suzanne
Suzanne McLeod is the author of the urban fantasy series featuring Genevieve – Genny – Taylor, a sidhe fae, who cracks spells for a living. Suzanne has been a cocktail waitress, dance group roadie and worked for many years in retail management, before she started writing. She lives on the sunny (sometimes) South Coast in the UK with her husband and geriatric rescue dog.
Suzanne's Links

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win US Mass Market Paperback copies of The Sweet Scent of Blood (Spellcrackers 1) and The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers 2).

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

In what city, town, or place would you like to see an Urban Fantasy set?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. ohhhh. though question. I think I would choose either a tropical location or an arctic one. Not urban, but with more natural elements and adventure. Maybe the everglades :)

    I am a follower.

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  2. My country in Greece. I believe we have amazing places to see an Urban Fantasy set.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    GFC follower as Diana

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  3. I never even knew that nancys Steps really existed! Duh! I bet I've walked straight past them!

    I'd love to see a story in Scotland... maybe Edinburgh because it's such a mix of the old and new!

    +1 I'm a follower
    +1 Tweeted!/craftywhoopidoo/status/63269908565336064
    +1 Will post on my sidebar :)


    Many thanks to you both for the chance to win :)

  4. I would love to see an urban fantasy set where I live in the DC metro area.

    I'm a gfc follower


  5. I think it would be cool to have one set in Japan.

    GFC follower

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  6. anywhere would sound great!!!

    gfc follower

  7. I don't really care where they take place, though I prefer urban over country. If you do use a real place (especially one I know well) you best not make factural errors unless the storyline explains why there may be differences, cause it will annoy the heck out of me.

    Follower Anne38

  8. I would love to see one in New Zeland. A very beautiful country and romantic.
    GFC follower

    TheOneRing111 at gmail dot com

  9. Hmmm...I think maybe somewhere like Wisconsin would be cool! Near Grafton. I actually have a story idea I'm pondering on that will take place there! So eventually--being positive--it will happen!

    GFC Follower

  10. I'm sure there is one out there somewhere, but I'd love to read an urban fantasy set in Miami or somewhere else in Florida because that's where I live :)

    drakeLa90 at aol dot com

    +1 GFC follower
    +1 Tweeted!/lesleyboogie/status/63330512219029505
    +1 Blog mention

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. How about South America, mainly in the Mayan forests/ruins.
    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  13. What about one set in an Eastern European country like Croatia or somewhere such as Budapest.

    They have unique myths that could be incorporated in the story.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

    +1 for comment
    +1 I am a Follower via GFC

  14. I always think of a dark, gritty, urban setting when I think of UF, but I think it would be fun to have a UF set in Alaska, where the cold might not bother supernatural creatures, but any humans involved might not be too happy. There is so much natural beauty there, but not much "urban."

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower

  15. Make it Rome!!! Rome always seems so mysterious and full of possibilities. I am a follower and I mentioned this great giveaway on my blog.

  16. Somewhere in Australia would be a great setting. Thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC: ereader89

    elainareads AT aol DOT com

  17. Though question, so many beautiful places. I think I would choose Bruges in Belgium.

    Thanks for the interview & giveaway! I'm a follower of the blog ^^

  18. Colorado! What can I say... I enjoy my state. :) Plus I can easily picture the towns and terrain in my head. I know when someone has written about CO w/o visiting. ;)

    I'm a gfc follower

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  19. Great interview! I've never heard of this author or these books but the look interesting.

    I'd love to read a UF set in a city near me. I live right outside of Albany, NY's capital. I love it when I read things that mention places close to where I live. A place that I see mentioned a lot that is near me is Saratoga Springs. I see it all the time in books with horse racing in them because of the track up there.

    GFC Follower

    +3 in all

    rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com

  20. Thank you Suzanne...

    I love the covers of all these delightful books..mysterious and sexy. *S*
    Thank for sharing this interview, and I love reading about how an author gets into their groove when their writing.

    1=follower..already I love the Qwillery *S*

    1- Posted on my blog:




    1- Facebook:

    Thank you Again!


    pommawolf @ hotmail dot com

  21. I'd like to see an urban fantasy set in some city where not a lot of books are set...something exotic like Istanbul or something unexplored(in these terms of course)like Brussels :)

    nice giveaway :)


  22. I am a real fan of urban fantasy. Several of my friends also write it, and I am now hooked. LOL! Niuce to meet you Suzanne.

  23. What a great giveaway! I'd like to see an urban fantasy set in Greece! With lots of mythology!! :))

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  24. I've tweeted about it:!/vollkopf/status/63946495581364225
    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com

  25. I would love to see a book set in Italy. Such a rich culture and could definitely bring some lovely elements into a story.!

    I follow you

    Great giveaway

    kristen_babygurl at hotmail dot com

  26. I would love to see a story set in Cardiff, Wales. I went four years there and thought it was a magical place that (to the best of my knowledge) hasn't been explored yet! :)

    +1 Follower


  27. Thats a really hard one. I would say Chicago or St Louis, but both have been done. So I guess maybe a deserted island. Which might have been done but if so I dont know about it so Im counting it!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweet -!/DonnaS1/status/64914105932333056
    +1 blog -

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  28. I'd love to see one in Egypt, or Morocco. Just somewhere with a desert. I like traditional fantasy in that particular setting (Larke's Waterbringer for ex.) so I'd like some urban there as well.
    New Zealand, as mentioned before, is also a wonderful location.

    +1 Follower.


  29. Well, it's not very urban, but I'd like to see one set in my home state of MS.
    GFC follower

  30. how's about ASIAN countries. my country in Indonesia, but you could make it in another country in ASIA. little different don't you? thanks for Giveaway and making it internationally

    GFC: frinda florentine