Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday's Author Spotlight: Suanne Laqueur



Today I'm excited to have author Suanne Laqueur on the Sunday's Author Spotlight. Suanne is the author of the book 'The Man I Love', an adult contemporary romance novel. 
'The Man I love' was published in June 2014 by Cathedral Rock Press. Ever since the publication date in 2014, 'The Man I love' received many raving reviews. With an average rating of 4.62 in Goodreads, Suanne is definitely an author to keep in mind.

About the Book:

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22515690-the-man-i-love?from_search=true

One look brought them together. One bullet tore them apart.

From author Suanne Laqueur comes an astonishing debut novel, The Man I Love. This gripping story follows a young man's emotional journey to salvage relationships destroyed in the wake of a school shooting.

As a college freshman, Erik Fiskare is drawn to the world of theater but prefers backstage to center stage. The moment he lays eyes on a beautiful, accomplished dancer named Daisy Bianco, his atoms rearrange themselves and he is drawn into a romance both youthfully passionate and maturely soulful. Their love story thrives within a tight-knit circle of friends, all bound by creativity and artistry. A newcomer arrives—a brilliant but erratic dancer with an unquenchable thirst for connection. And when this disturbed friend brings a gun into the theater, the story is forever changed. Daisy is shot and left seriously injured. And Erik finds himself alone in the aisle, looking down the muzzle of a pistol and trying to stop the madness. He succeeds, but with tremendous repercussions to his well-being and that of his loved ones.

Traumatized by the experience, Erik and Daisy spiral into depression and drug use until a shocking act of betrayal destroys their relationship. To survive, Erik must leave school and disconnect from all he loves. He buries his heartbreak and puts the past behind. Or so he believes.

Spanning fifteen years, The Man I Love explores themes of love and sexuality, trauma--physical and mental--and its long-lasting effects, the burden of unfinished business and the power of reconciliation. Through Erik's experience we reflect on what it means to be a man, a son and a leader. A soul mate, a partner and a lover. What it means to live the truth of who you are and what you feel. What it means to fight for what you love.

This book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Interview with Suanne Laqueur:


Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? Is it in any way based on your own personal experiences?

I was a dancer for many years and a theater major at college. So the backdrop of performing arts is entirely based in experience. The emotions of The Man I Love are extremely auto-biographical: the trauma of unresolved emotional loss and how disconnecting from feelings doesn’t make them go away. Also dealing with depression and anxiety. And learning the power of forgiveness. I just layered different circumstances on top of all that. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the two main characters, Erik and Daisy?

The opening line of The Man I Love reads “Some seek the limelight and some hold the light in place.” And that line gives you the essence of Daisy and Erik. Daisy is an incredibly talented and passionate dancer pursuing her dream of being a ballerina. She’s at home in the spotlight. Erik is also drawn to the theater world, however he prefers being backstage. The behind-the-scenes man without whom the show cannot go on.

Erik was abandoned by his father at a young age. A cruel desertion which has shaped him through young adulthood. He’s cautious about sharing his heart and harbors a deep fear of being left. Daisy was raised in a loving, supportive house by progressive parents. Despite her love of theater and performance, she avoids drama in her personal life. She’s pragmatic to a fault, and keeps her struggles to herself. When she meets Erik, she is physically inexperienced but clear-minded about what her heart wants. He has physical experience but is an emotional virgin. Together, they meld into something greater. Not two halves making a whole, but two wholes building a great structure. A cathedral.

There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which do you love best, or which was challenging to develop?

The title of the book could easily be The Men I Love because of the men who influence and shape Erik’s life. Will Kaeger is Daisy’s exclusive dance partner and becomes Erik’s closest friend at school. He’s an emotionally fearless boy who is openly and unapologetically bisexual. At first this intimidates and confuses Erik. In time, it leads to a greater understanding within their friendship. I absolutely love writing scenes with Will. He has such funny dialogue and he’s so self-aware and self-actualized without being arrogant. He’s open to love in all its forms and will fight to the death for the ones he loves, male or female.

The character of David Alto was a challenge to write because he’s such a jerk. But why? It was difficult to make a character behave badly without making him a convenient villain. I spent a lot of time hashing out his backstory so I could understand him better. Same with the shooter, James Dow, who took weeks to create and shape into a unbelievably disturbed boy who did the unthinkable…yet could earn a little of the reader’s sympathy for what he’d suffered for all his life.

I also loved writing the character Kees Justi, the university dance teacher, who also becomes a friend and mentor to Erik. He’s a conglomerate of every dance teacher I loved and admired. By teaching Erik to appreciate dance, he’s also imparting a lot philosophy about life and love. Things Erik will remember and call on when he’s making one of the most important decisions of his adult life. 

Did you do any research for parts of the book?

I consulted with both a doctor and a detective for the shooting scenes. I had an idea of how I wanted Daisy to be injured—something serious and scary but not debilitating enough to permanently end her career.

My friend from high school was an EMT for many years before becoming a surgeon, so he was able to help with both the paramedics and the hospital scenes. He was the one who came up with compartment syndrome—he was quite excited about it. He also made sure I called the ambulance “the bus.” Little, accurate details like that are so important in making a scene realistic.

My friend who’s a detective helped me secure the crime scene and taught me about police procedure after a shooting. It was challenging because the book takes place in 1992, before cell phones. Back when security on campus was minimal. I talked to my old college friends, asking if they even remembered where a payphone was in our theater. We couldn’t remember. We tried to imagine a shooting and deduced we’d just hit the deck or hit the doors and go running for the campus center…

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?

I am just about finished with the first draft of my next novel. I had been all set to write a sequel to The Man I Love, instead I found myself writing scene after scene from Daisy’s point of view, telling her side of the same story. I wasn’t sure this was something my readers would want but it seemed to be what was pouring out of my heart and my fingers. It wanted to be written. She deserved her chance to speak. So I leaned into it and went with it and it’s turning out to be every bit as complex and layered. Characters I thought I knew are peeling themselves open even more. Throwaway moments in The Man I Love are turning out to be incredibly significant from Daisy’s eyes. So while the reader already knows the end of the story, they still don’t know the entire story. And I’m hoping that will hook them in and keep them engaged.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Write. Write every day. Write something. Write drunk, edit sober. Write raw. Write what everyone thinks but nobody talks about. Write what you love to read. Write what gets you excited. Write for you. And don’t stop.

Oh, and read. Read everything. If your craft is words, you have to feed it words.

The Book Trailer:

 

 


Praise for 'The Men I love':

 

"Five stars. A fabulous first novel. [Laqueur's] story is written so elegantly, so beautifully, and so deliciously... Readers will be grasping this book, begging to know more, until the final page is devoured. What ‘The Man I Love’ gets right is the grit of it all. This heartfelt love story is transformed into a tale about the power of communication, the toll trauma takes on survivors, the burden of words left unsaid, and connections between people that can last a lifetime... A beautiful, yet heart-rending love story, thanks to Laqueur's emotional rawness and compelling writing."
--Portland Book Review

"Five stars. Get ready to be wowed, because Suanne Laqueur's novel ‘The Man I Love’ is something extraordinary. Beautifully written, it touches on topics that are deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche by this point in time and explores them with humility and sensitivity. Erik and Daisy are so perfectly human, so sweet in their love and so flawed and hurt in their pain, that it's hard not to be enthralled by them."
--San Francisco Book Review

"Five stars. ‘The Man I Love’ is an incredible and emotional tale that pulls the reader into the pages and doesn't let up until the end... Laqueur's writing is raw, descriptive, and hypnotic...she puts the reader in a trance. It's not often that a first time author knocks the cover off the ball, but Suanne Laqueur has with her wonderful novel."
--Self-Publisher Review

About the Author:

 

Suanne Laqueur is the author of ‘The Man I Love’, an adult contemporary romance. This debut novel was published in June 2014 and recently won an Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival. It’s received five stars from both the Portland Book Review and the San Francisco Book Review.

“Nicholas Sparks, meet Suanne Laqueur. She’s coming like a steamroller and her engine is The Man I Love.”
—Diane Lunsford, Feathered Quill Book Reviews

Suanne Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog www.eatsreadsthinks.com in 2010, and now writes at www.suannelaqueur.com. Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.

For more information about Suanne Laqueur and ‘The Man I love’ please visit her website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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