Yay – it’s Wednesday already! Today on Meet the Author we’re talking to Suzanne Tierney about crying at commercials (and her challenge to you!), trying out life as a Victorian Lady and her new debut novel, The Art of Scandal released on 28th July…..
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am a cry-at-sappy-commercials kind of gal. I will ALWAYS burst into tears if an ad features a puppy, and if anyone remembers the “Maddie” commercial from Chevrolet about a woman and her puppy, I dare you NOT to cry.
In addition to being a pathological crier (A.K.A. wimp), I was raised in Oregon, spent the early years of my career in San Francisco and was then transplanted to Jacksonville, FL to “adult.” The adjustment from Oregon to Jacksonville has been a series of adjustments and surprises. Among the more unpleasant, did you know you can taste humidity? Did you know that alligators like to sit in fresh bodies of water and watch you cross the street? That summer can last till November?
Among the surprises that are actually delightful – the Atlantic ocean is warm enough to swim in; you can find little shark teeth on the beach; the pace of life is friendly and slow.
So it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship. I chronicle this relationship on my Instagram feed, @notajaxgirl.
What inspired you to start writing?
Being from Oregon and feeling so out of place inspires my writing. My book(s) feature a heroine who has a sure sense of her place and a hero who challenges that sense of place. In doing so, he teaches her to grow and she teaches him to set down roots.
How many books have you written and published?
My debut, The Art of the Scandal, releases on Amazon August 28, 2019.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Since I write historical, the name has to be appropriate for its time and reflect my characters’ culture and background.
In The Art of the Scandal, my heroine Lydia is an Englsih Rose from a long-established, aristocratic family. So I picked a lilting English name, Lydia, and an old surname with distantly French connections, Pierpont.
My hero, on the other hand, is Jewish and from the Cape Colony (what is now South Africa), so I had to give him a first name with meaning—Simon, which in Hebrew means “He has heard.” His last name reflects his heritage as well, Cohen. Cohen in Hebrew means “priesthood” and Jews with the Cohen last name are descendants of Aaron. If a Jew marries outside of his faith, he loses his “son of Aaron” status, so it’s very significant that Simon falls in love with Lydia.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Uhh, clearly my hero Simon because he is sexy, sensitive, funny and arrogant enough to think he can get us off the island.
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
I will name three: Jane Austen, because she is the reason I write. Her simple prose, her heart-wrenching plots, her plucky heroines and her swoony heroes.
Haruki Murakami—I admit I can’t understand half of the things going on in his books. The stories are complex, involve time slips and alternate universes and the mafia and spaghetti. But his prose is stunning, his imagery is unique, and he blows my mind.
E.B. White – my first favorite book ever was Charlotte’s Web. His stories are deceptively simple. And they squeeze my heart. My favorite line of his is from Stuart Little, “And ice cream. Ice cream is important.” Words to live by!
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
In elementary school, I think I wrote a story about a basketball that rolled away from home. We were supposed to do a picture book and since I’m terrible at drawing, I picked a ball because I am okay with circles. It did not win any prizes.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I’d love to try out life as a Victorian lady, but I imagine the corsets would impede my ability to breathe and belly laugh.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet the intrepid Jeanne Baret. She is the first woman to have circumnavigated the globe. Since she did so in 1766, she had to disguise herself as a man and boarded a ship serving as a valet. Talk about gutsy!
What are your favourite things to do?
Hug my loved ones (they find this annoying), take walks on the beach, read, listen to music, discover new books, art, and music, travel. I’ve been to some great places around the world, from Hungary, Romania, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, England, Scotland, Canada and the U.S. My current favorite place is Maine because though it’s a long drive from Florida, it is so peaceful there. Also, the ice cream is excellent.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
My mind has drawn a blank! Oh wait, years and years ago, I was driving to work and heard this song come on the local Jazz station. I fell in love with the song, but the announcer never said who was performing. A few days later, I was wandering through a local record store and this big, lumbering man came up to me and said, “Do you want to hear something beautiful?” And he handed me a CD. I blindly bought it. And when I went to play it in the car, it was…Charlie Haden’s Haunted Heart. Which was the song I had heard on the radio!
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
Don’t be a wimp and don’t judge yourself. Just write.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
E.B. White’s Trumpet of the Swan. Louis, the swan, has such heart. He’s a classic romantic hero who falls in love at first sight with a fellow swan. However, challenged by a lack of voice, he leaves home to repay a debt by his father, who stole a trumpet to give his son a voice. So he goes on an adventure, staying at the Ritz amongst other places, and earns money playing the trumpet. And he rescues his love from a zoo keeper who intends to clip her wings. The drama, the romance, the clarity of language! It’s poetry.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
The Art of the Scandal released on July 28, 2019 on Amazon. It’s FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited. The link: https://geni.us/9RCu
The Art is fake. The Love is real. The Risk is ruin.
May, 1850, London, England
“Beware, darling. Disaster rolls in on a whisper.”
Jilted by her fiancé, abandoned by her father, and scorned by her friends, Lady Lydia Pierpont and her pregnant, 15 year-old sister will be homeless by midnight unless she can charm the deed of her family’s home out of the mysterious South African who won the estate in a poker game.
Grieving over the death of his Jewish father and English mother, Simon Cohen has no time for gallantry. He’s out to reclaim his mother’s name from the aristocracy who humiliated her. With an art collection worth millions and the National Gallery begging for a donation, revenge is within reach.
But when Lydia points out that Simon’s treasure trove includes at least one forgery, they strike a deal. She’ll ferret out the fakes and if the debut of his collection goes smoothly, she’ll win back her home. If she fails, she will take the blame and go to jail.
Together, Lydia and Simon will feign an engagement, delve into the world of art forgery, and navigate the narrow-minded prejudices of London society to discover that love is forged, never faked.
Fun fact—subscribers to my newsletter get an exclusive “Art guide” of the art that inspired The Art of the Scandal. I licensed the rights to present the works from The National Gallery of London to share with readers. Here’s the link: https://suzannetierney.com/newsletter.html
You can also find my facebook author page on Facebook by searching Suzanne Tierney.
Thanks so much Suzanne for your interview. It’s lovely to hear about your debut book which sounds fab! I have to admit I didn’t take your challenge of watching the advert….I cry at everything so definitely don’t need to set myself off!! Also love your something strange – what a random thing to happen!
If you guys have any questions/comments for Suzanne, then I’m sure she would love to hear from you.
Enjoy your hump day!