Suzette Hollingsworth

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Suzette Hollingsworth grew up in Texas with a brief but memorable stint in Wyoming, went to school in Tennessee, lived in Europe two summers, and now resides in beautiful Washington State with her cartoonist husband and five cats.

Suzette has written the Daughters of the Empire trilogy in which the daughter of each union is the heroine of the sequel novel.

Suzette’s hobbies are theater, opera, and ballet as a viewer, and snorkeling, belly dancing, and tropical vacations as a participant. She loves playing the flute and traveling with her husband. Her favorite music is opera, Little Richard, and bluegrass. She admits to being a little bit country and a little bit rock' n' roll with a passion for all things Jane Austen. Suzette also loves her Seattle pals and Girls’ Beach Party weekends with her Texas SHS graduating class.

Q: You collaborate on a webcomic with your husband, Starting from Scratch, and have three completed novels with others in the works. You seem to have a variety of interests. How did you decide on historical romance as a genre?

A: I love history and I love romance, so historical romance is a natural fit for me. Also, my greatest fantasy is to own a time machine. An author who can actually take me back in time is magical for me. My favorite authors are no longer with us: Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. I love the beauty of the language, the personal connections, and the slower-paced lives of the pre-industrial Regency period. If someone lost a tooth, the whole village knew. If one was sick, the entire community pitched in to help. If a young lady was en route to a London season, she took with her gifts from everyone in her village: a pastry pie for lunch, eggs to trade along the way, hand-stitched lace and embroidery on her gowns and satin underthings.


Q: Which other authors do you read?

A: I read a great deal of non-fiction, but in fiction I enjoy Jo Beverley, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Laura Kinsale, Sarah Addison Allen. I love the classics, so also Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I am fascinated with the genres of magical realism and alternative history.


Q: How would you classify your writing style?

A: I love the elegance of language and subtle wit utilized by Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Mark Twain, and even P. G. Wodehouse. The reason these authors aren’t read as much today is because their novels are written in omniscient point of view, which distances the reader. The reader wants to feel that she is present in the story, that she is the heroine. She wants to feel that it is happening to her. Therefore I aspired to write a book with the beautiful language of Jane Austen but with a deeper point of view and more sizzle. Why not aim high? Currently I am fascinated with Sherlock Holmes—giving me an outlet for my elevated language and sarcastic wit. I find that my writer’s voice has a “cozy mystery” feel to it—with a little more bite. A cozy bite, one might say. I love writing Holmes because I don't have to apologize for his arrogance: the reader knows and loves it. Aren’t Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law a phenomenal Holmes and Watson? I think those movies are works of genius.


Q: What are your favorite periods to write in?

A: Victorian. I also love the 1920s (picture Hercule Poirot): the roaring twenties were an amazing time for women. In the 1890s women were covered from head to toe, corseted to the point that they could not breathe (or eat). Only thirty years later they were wearing loose-fitting mid-calf gowns, smoking, drinking, working, even voting! When my grandmother was born, women could not vote. She came of age in the 1920s, went to business school, and her father forbade her to cut her hair. So, of course, that was the first thing she did. 


Q: Do you think you would ever be interested in writing contemporary?

A: Yes. And I would like to follow the Daughters of the Empire series to its natural conclusion and write a futuristic novel with a woman president of the United States.


Q: Do you ever run out of ideas?

A: No.


Q: Is there a theme that runs through your books?

A: That is an interesting question. I have heard that every author has an underlying theme which is a thread throughout all of his/her books. Readers say that my strength is my characters, that they come alive on the page. That seems consistent with my viewpoint because I believe that we are all magical, multi-faceted crystals, and that we don’t have the smallest inkling of who we are or what we can be. I suppose I believe in the amazing potential of each and every one of us. And, in the meantime, there’s no substitute for keeping it real and living in joy.


Q: Why do you write?

A: To entertain and amuse. Myself and others. And to delve deeper.


Q: Where do you see your career going from here?

A: I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write for BookStrand and hope that I can find the readers who would truly love my novels.


Q: Does writing leave you much time for anything else?

A: No. I have a full-time job, I help care for elderly parents, and I dance in shows, so my life is busy. I struggle to maintain a sense of balance. I love my girlfriends, my husband, my family, and my cats.


Q: What is your biggest challenge?

A: Cooking. I wish that everyone would send me their recipes. Getting enough exercise is another challenge for me: my favorite exercise is sitting on a pink cushion eating chocolates and watching old movies. Unless I’m at the ocean, then it’s running in the waves.


Q: How do you cope with stress?

A: I’d like to say that I get on my Exercycle, but, in fact, I go onto Expedia and plan trips to Hawaii (which I can’t take except in my mind).

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