Thursday, 17 February 2011

Questions, Questions by Susan Bischoff + Giveaway

Banner made by Beth from Maybe Tomorrow?

I have not been a fan of YA. The immature, self-centered, whining petulant teenage heroes and heroines irritate me and made me wary of the genre. However, thanks to a YA novel I read last summer my faith was restored. The book in question was Hush Money by Susan Bischoff. A truly remarkable story told in fantastically evocative writing. (You can read my review here.)

So please give a warm welcome to Susan Bischoff!


Questions, Questions
by Susan Bischoff

Everyone loves a good mystery. There are a lot of elements that go into making a great story—characterization, voice, world-building, and more—all important, all beloved, but the one that keeps me turning pages is an author’s ability make me ask questions—and to need to find the answers.

Sometimes it’s a unique or intriguing character I need to know more about. Sometimes it’s a setup that seems impossible, and I wonder how the author is ever going to work out the problem she’s created for these characters.

I love the feeling of discovery when a new bit of information falls into my lap. It’s like a little gift. Sometimes I read across it unexpectedly and it’s like finding money in my coat pocket. I also love it when I’ve finally gathered up enough clues that I think I can see where the story is going. Then new questions start to form. I start to wonder when the characters will put it all together. How will they react? What will they do about the problem once they can finally see it clearly?

Maybe that’s why I enjoy the super-powered characters so much. They’re always on the outside; they always have secrets. And secrets are just more questions waiting to happen. Will they reveal themselves? Will they be discovered? How did they come to have these abilities in the first place? What was it in their past that moves them to be so heroic in the present? Will they be able to save the day and maintain their secrets?

Amazing world-building makes a story memorable for me, great characterization helps me connect emotionally, but it’s an author’s ability to keep me asking questions and looking for answers that keeps me coming back to the story, though a million other things want my attention these days.

What about you? What elements most draw you in as a reader?

Congratulations, Stella, on your blogoversary! Wishing you many more, and thank you for having me.


A little about Susan:

I’m just a girl who wants superhero romance! Is that so much to ask? Why must it always be a tragedy? Why does Angel walk away? Why does Spike—what did happen to Spike? Why did Wonder Woman go back home after the end of season 1 and WWII, then come back, work with Steve Trevor’s grandson, and still not hook up? Seriously! And let’s not even talk about Superman Returns, ok? Let’s. Just. Not.

The Talent Chronicles series began with my desire for more superheroes! More romance! More Superhero!Romance!

You can reach Susan at her website:

Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone. Kids with psychic abilities tend to mysteriously disappear when they get noticed. Joss has spent years trying to hide. Now she has an unasked-for best friend, who is the victim of an extortion plot by the school bully, who used to like Joss, who is best friends with her long-time crush, who is actually talking to her. Life just got more complicated.

Longer version:

They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. For Talents, keeping their secret is the most important thing in their lives. For some, that need for secrecy begins to define who they are.

That’s how it is for Joss, a high school girl who does everything in her power to go unnoticed. She's incredibly bright, but strives to maintain grades that are good yet not too good. She doesn't participate in school activities, keeps quiet in class, eats by herself. Despite her longtime crush on Dylan, she wouldn't even think about trying to talk to him. Joss doesn't make friends of any kind, because friends can draw attention, friends can make you slip up, friends can make things complicated.

When new girl, Kat, steps in to rescue Joss from an uncomfortable situation with Marco, the class jerk, she doesn’t realize what she’s getting into, and it blows up in her face. Joss finds herself torn between a desire to do the right thing, to find some way to help a girl who was kind to her; and her need to mind her own business and fade into. For the first time, Joss begins to question the way she operates, and starts to long for connections with other people--especially a connection with Dylan, who's finally starting to talk to her.

But what's up with Dylan's sudden interest? As Marco’s best friend, can he be trusted at all?

It's bad enough when a girl's got to worry about friends, boys, over-protective dads, and shoes that pinch, but when you throw in blackmail, government agents with guns, and really annoying little sisters...that's just about too much to handle, even for a girl with an ass-kicking superpower.


Susan has kindly offered a copy of the 1st book in the Talent Chronicles: Hush Money to a lucky commentator.

Hush Money: A Talent Chronicles Novel

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. Leave a comment/question for Susan, answer her question: what elements most draw you in as a reader?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on Friday 4 March 2011.

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