Story Book Places —

September 15, 2016 | 2 Comments

From my e-mail queue–just a bit of eye candy. I’m not sure what the source is on this one but these are lovely pics. Let’s go traveling!

Places That Look Like They Are Out of a Story Book.

Beautiful flowers hanging off the balconies in

Cagnes-sur-Mer, Provence, France.

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Hotelplan

After the rain in Bibury, England, United Kingdom.

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Anguskirk

A quaint little town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber,

located in Germany.

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Triposo

A magnificent waterfall in Gásadalur, Faroe Islands.

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The breathtaking view in Hallstatt, Austria.

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Herison Black

A beautiful, sunny day in Bagnone, Italy.

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Manarola, one of the five famous Cinque Terre

towns in Italy.

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Camping Bella Vista

A quiet, traditional town called Gokayama in Japan.

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Waves crashing against the shore of the small fishing

town of Hamnøy in Norway.

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inigo cia

Local residents tending to their daily tasks in

Eguisheim, France.

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Jean-Claude Sch

Mother nature takes over this abandoned fishing

village in the Shengsi Islands, China.

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Weibo

Clouds wrapping themselves around the towering

mountain in Renndølsetra, Norway.

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Reddit

The Winter Wonderland in Shirakawa, Japan.

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Thousand Wonders

The impressive island that is Monemvasia, Greece.

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One of the many beautiful mountain villages

in China.

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Christian Ortiz

Gorgeous roses lining the exterior walls of houses

in Penne, France.

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Sebastien Toulouse

The incredible view in this small town in Oia, Greece

is simply breathtaking.

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Paow Magazine

The spectacular Foroglio Waterfall can be seen from

this quaint little town in Foroglio, Switzerland.

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Afar

The small town of Bled stands proudly in front of the

Julian Alps in Slovenia.

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These snow-covered houses in Røros, Norway look

just like something out of a Christmas tale.

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team effort

September 14, 2016 | 2 Comments

If you’ve ever wondered how a working writer manages to do all the things that have to be done in addition to writing a novel…

The lucky ones like me have a crack team helping to connect with readers, reading groups, booksellers, librarians…even the occasional snake.

Here are two of my adorable helpers, Tavia and Megan at HarperCollins, brandishing the Seattle Chocolate I sent to thank them with their help on the Great Reading Group Project. Thanks, girls! @SeattleChocolates @SeattleChoc @HarperCollins @WmMorrowBks

backstory :: behind the Chicago Fire trilogy

September 11, 2016 | 1 Comment

So I had a dilemma–I wanted to write a trilogy of novels that could be published together. But I didn’t have time to research three books in the short amount of time I had to write them.

Solution: Research one setting and situation, and place all the novels in that setting.

A brand new e-book edition is on sale now–all three books in one.

I chose the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It was dramatic and sweeping, it created chaos, and the time frame was compressed. That’s how I came up with The Hostage, The Mistress, and The Firebrand. Three young ladies were all at the same party on the night of the fire, and the ensuing emergency sent them scattering…and of course, they all ended up finding true love.

Each book starts the same, the moment the fire is sparked. Here is page one of each book. Here’s THE HOSTAGE:

…and then we have THE MISTRESS, which plays with the theory that the fire was started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over a lantern:

…and finally, THE FIREBRAND, in which Lucy will rescue a baby and raise it as her own:

And there you have it. Three books, one huge drama.

#historicalromance #Chicago #ebooks

announcing….THE APPLE ORCHARD :: The Motion Picture

September 09, 2016 | 8 Comments

IT’S HAPPENING. The Apple Orchard is going to be a movie. Whee! Tess, Dominic, Isabel, Annelise, Magnus…they’re all coming to life. Watch this space for updates. In the meantime, play casting director and tell us who you picture in these roles.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The Hallmark Channel has optioned TV rights to The Apple Orchard (Mira), bestseller Susan Wiggs’s 2013 novel. Lucy Stille at APA and Meg Ruley at the Jane Rotrosen Agency brokered the agreement for the book, which, Ruley said, follows two sisters raised separately “who meet for the first time during a crisis at the family’s Sonoma wine-country estate.”

My Bella Vista Pinterest boards are filled with visuals I collected while writing The Apple Orchard and its companion volume, The Beekeeper’s Ball. And yes, I have a third book in mind, but it’s not written yet. Stay tuned! Don’t touch that dial!

I didn’t personally bend your book

September 08, 2016 | 1 Comment

I appreciate each and every reader who takes the time to post a review of my books. But every once in awhile, there’s one that has me scratching my head. From my editor, whom I love like my long-lost son:

bent pages book:

He spotted a one-star gripe that reads simply ‘Product has been bent!’. Rushing to my defense, he adds, “…which I have voted down as Not Helpful. SANDY G, DO YOU THINK THAT SUSAN WIGGS HERSELF BENT YOUR ‘PRODUCT’? BECAUSE I’M PRETTY FREAKING SURE THAT’S NOT THE CASE.”

switching genres

September 05, 2016 | Leave a comment

Publishers Weekly has been my bible for 30 years. I sold my first novel 30 years ago this summer, in fact. Since Passing Through Paradise is being reissued this month, I thought I’d share a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the process of switching genres from historical romance to general fiction. The original interview can be found in PW’s archives. Thank you to Suzanne Fox!

PW Talks with Susan Wiggs

PW: Passing Through Paradise is only your second contemporary novel in a career built on historical romances. What drew you to this new area?

SW: It felt like a natural transition. I’ve always loved writing emotionally rich, character-driven novels that explore the way people fall in love and deal with life’s triumphs and tragedies. I enjoy writing the contemporary and historical books equally, though perhaps “enjoy” is the wrong word. Writing is a struggle no matter what the genre.

PW: Why have you chosen to work with Warner for your contemporary novels and Mira for your historicals?

SW: In both cases, I have been fortunate enough to find editors who appreciated my voice and saw the commercial potential in what I am doing. Mira publishes my historicals and has a fantastic distribution system, but Warner has been incredibly receptive to my contemporary novels and has packaged them to appeal both to a core romance audience and to readers of women’s fiction.

PW: Some might classify your latest as women’s fiction rather than mainstream romance. How do you see the distinction between the two, and which category do you think your book belongs to?

SW: This book is women’s fiction. In women’s fiction, the canvas moves beyond the falling-in-love stage of a relationship, which is the terrain of pure romances, to address all of the loves that fill a woman’s life—her relationships with parents, children, siblings, friends…: everyone who plays a part in her journey.

PW: Passing Through Paradise is also infused with a stronger sense of place than one sees in the typical romance novel.

SW: In all my novels, a sense of place—not just geographic but social—is a critical element. I have always been drawn to the novels of Edith Wharton, among others, where social dynamics are crucial. Wharton’s class consciousness fascinates me, and some of the tension in my books stems from that. For example, Passing Through Paradise contrasts the upper-crust family of the heroine’s first husband, with the working class background of her new romantic interest.

PW: Wharton is a writer drawn to bleak conclusions, while your own work is undeniably optimistic.

SW: As a reader, I was often frustrated by Wharton’s ambiguous endings; as a writer, I gravitate toward empowering and uplifting conclusions. That’s not just a response to my chosen genres but also a reflection of my views about life. I love my life, my family and my friends, and I’m drawn to “relationship” novels because of their affirming focus on the power of love to heal wounds and transform lives.

PW: What inspired Passing Through Paradise?

SW: The themes of personal integrity, sexual awakening, and emotional healing in the book have been percolating for a while. I’d been wanting to write about a woman forced to choose between making a damning disclosure to save her own skin, or staying mum and hoping for the best. Like all of my novels, there is a strong, underlying mythic structure to the story.

PW: Your female protagonist is a writer, a career often regarded as problematic for novelists. How did this element evolve?

SW: I made Sandra a writer because it was a good match with the book’s theme of the consequences of keeping secrets from the people you love. What’s a writer, after all, but a big fat liar who tries to prove a greater truth?

PW: Is the portrayal autobiographical?

SW: I had fun putting some of my own quirks into my heroine’s writing process: the fountain pen with peacock-blue ink, the zany journal entries, the endless lists on Post-it notes. The major difference is that my books are available in bookstores, airports and discount stores while Sandra’s young adult novels are banned. I had to imagine what it would do to a writer to be told, “We don’t think people should have access to your books.”

PW: What’s currently in the works?

SW: Mira is reissuing a personal favorite, The Lightkeeper, followed by a historical romance entitled Enchanted Afternoon. I’m also finishing up another contemporary novel, Home Before Dark, about the lives and loves of two sisters in Texas.

A version of this article appeared in the 01/28/2002 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: PW Talks with Susan Wiggs