Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steam Punk Romance Author Susan Hanniford Crowley Discusses Her Newest Book, "Mrs. Bright's Tea Room."

Scribal Love Welcomes Susan

Susan Hanniford Crowley is an author of paranormal romance. Her newest work Mrs. Bright’s Tea Room has been published by Tease Publishing LLC and is available from All Romance Ebooks.

What is the name of your latest book?  And how did you come up with the title?

My latest book is Mrs. Bright’s Tea Room.  I came up with the title in a dream but I think it was influenced by the custom my gal pals and I have of celebrating each other’s birthday in a tea room.  A tea room has tradition and certain proprieties, and I thought it humorous to use that term in a completely unexpected way. 

What is this book about?  And what genre is this book in?
The book is a steampunk romance, which means it is alternate history with science fiction elements.  I chose the Victorian Age, which took a lot of research.  I wanted elements to be true, especially since I made Queen Victoria a character.  

The book is about a middle class young woman who is in dire straits and has no choice but to work in Mrs. Bright’s Tea Room.   The plot focuses on her meeting her first character the dashing Airship Captain Travers.

Who is/are the main characters?  And why did you choose them?

Euthalia James is the young woman who desperately needs to earn enough money to free her father from debtors’ prison.  Those prisons were horrible places where people easily died, especially if they were from a middle class background.  

Captain Travers is our handsome, dashing, swashbuckling hero, the captain of a cargo airship that transports spices and other fine items from the Orient.  He’s a man of secrets, one of which is that he is a spy for Queen Victoria.  He’s Euthalia’s first customer.   

I chose Euthalia because of her range of emotions and talents.  I think all of us are capable of using undiscovered talents when placed in unexpected talents.  I loved the idea of a airship captain that is also a spy.    

What is the coolest or best part about your book?  (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc..)

I loved researching Queen Victoria’s time and merging that with an alternate history where that set the clock ahead on the use of steam in the form of steam carriages and dirigibles.  I also loved the automatons or clockwork robots of steampunk.  I used so much of real history and altered it a bit.  It was a lot of fun.  My favorite bit was when Travers introduces Euthalia to the queen.  Another secret is revealed about him.  It was tremendous fun to write.

Do you have a favorite character in the book?  If so, why?

I adore Captain Travers, because not only is he handsome but he treats people well regardless of their station in life.  He’s brave and strong and at other times amazingly tender and considerate.  When he falls in love, he’s wonderfully fun and gentle, and yet robust and exciting.  Travers is always a surprise and in a good way.

Is this book part of a series?  If so? What can we expect in future books? 

I don’t know yet.  I’m considering it.  Right now, I have made promises considering my vampire romance series, Vampires in Manhattan, and have to finished those first. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not really.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  It’s fun.  It’s Victorian.  It’s the outrageousness that is steam.  It’s sexy and yet incredibly romantic.  

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that I could probably write historical.  I loved researching the Victorian age and especially Queen Victoria.   I love, love, love the clothes.  I also love some of the preconceived notions that people have about the manners of the time.  I went to two experts to get the facts.   The people of the time were only outwardly proper.   Behind closed doors was another matter.  

Do you have a publisher?  And if so, why did you choose them? 
I’m published with Tease Publishing LLC.  I queried several agents and some publishers, and Tease fell in love with When Love Survives, which is my paranormal romance ebook about two supernaturals who through their efforts as rescue workers at the World Trade Center fall in love.  The book also introduces David Hilliard, my principle vampire in the Vampires in Manhattan series. 

I choose Tease because they fell in love with my work, and I’ve been happy with them.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’m a member of SFWA and RWA. I’ve had several mentors.  Marion Zimmer Bradley was my editor and mentor.  Currently I have Thea Devine in CTRWA as my mentor.  My critique partner a.c. Mason from Toronto RWA also advises me.

What books are you reading now?  

I’m reading The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, and I just finished reading The Mortal Touch by Inanna Arthen.  Both are vampire books.

What current writing projects are you working on?

I’m writing another novel about the Vampires in Manhattan.  I tend to keep projects close to me until they are finished, submitted, and accepted.

Do you write full time?  If not, do you hope to do so one day?

I work a part-time day job and write every possible second the rest of the time, so I suppose you can say that I write full time.  I don’t make a living at it yet.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was eight, I had a teacher that started the class on journaling.  I wrote about squirrels.  

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Going deeper and deeper into the characters and their world.  I find that writing is a constant evolution of the writer.  There is a point where you have written the story as well as possible in that moment in time.  Then you let it go.  When you look at your writing years later, it will be different, more evolved, a direct reflection of your evolution as the writer.

Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?

Find an excellent critique group that will help you grow.  In Science Fiction and Fantasy, there is Critters (an online group).  In Romance, it’s more than worth it to join RWA, just for the wonderfully helpful and practical articles in their magazine.  I also below to CTRWA, my local chapter (which has a critique group), and FF&P, which is an online chapter of the RWA for Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal writers.   I belonged to Romance Critters (an online critique group) and found my critique partner there.

Thank you, Clare, for having me.  

You are welcome!  Thanks for dropping by!

Susan has six ebooks, including her novel about a storm caller and a vampire called The Stormy Love Life of Laura Cordelais, is available as an ebook, Kindle, and also a limited edition print book through her website at

All her books can be purchased at

She can be found on Twitter::

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All my ebooks can be found at

To find out about her special contests, booksignings, and appearances, subscribe to her Newsletter by emailing her at onlyladyknight(at)yahoo(dot)com and putting “Newsletter” in the subject.  

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