Thursday, August 09, 2007

Suzanne Brockmann: Studette

Before we get started, I apologize for the delay in getting the sites updated. It's being worked on, and I really appreciate your patience....

Now, I want to dedicate this blog to one of the coolest, most proficient romance authors out there: Suzanne Brockmann. I was only reminded about how great she is this morning, when I saw a link to her Web site, where she has posted details about her Comic-Con dinner with Joss Whedon.

Whaaaaaat? you say? Um, yeah, Studette was one of the lucky few who bid on an auctioned dinner with Joss Whedon and won. SB is a huge FIREFLY and BUFFY/ANGEL fan, and if you'd like to see the details, click here. It's a very interesting account of how dang nervous she was to meet The Man and how amazing their dinner was. (I mean, can you imagine sitting with Joss Whedon and collecting all the gems of awesomeness he tends to spill forth? Can you? And just imagine if you were one of the other winners who found out that not only would you be with Joss Whedon for the evening--you'd get SB with the package, too!)

At any rate, SB has affected me greatly on a few different occasions. The first came after I sold my first book and I was struggling with the second (for Special Edition). When I say it was a struggle, I'm not lying: I wasn't hitting the right idea, and my chances of selling again seemed bleak at the time. Then I went to a small retreat with the San Diego chapter of RWA, and SB was one of the speakers.

She rocked my world, much as Joss Whedon has rocked hers (and mine, actually).

SB talked about developing a hero and heroine as well as their relationship, and one thing she said that I've never forgotten--one thing I took to heart--was that you should torture your hero, and that the hero and heroine are each others' worst nightmares. After hearing her speak, my second story gelled. I loved my tortured hero and his impossible heroine. That book came to be called THE PREGNANT BRIDE (Hey, the title made it sell!), and it spawned a miniseries called Kane's Crossing. Readers still ask me if there'll be more books, and my editor loved that story. It solidified my Special Edition career and eventually allowed me to go into dark places that have led to urban fantasy and action-adventure writing.

All with tortured characters, of course, and all due to SB.

Another moment that stands out was during the New Orleans conference at the Harlequin Silhouette party. I found myself looking out over the French Quarter from the party's balcony, and who was standing next to me but SB herself! Ack! What should I say? Should I stop breathing? Should I just disappear? We ended up chatting about the WWII museum and I told her about how she'd affected my career. Naturally, she was gracious, as she is whenever you meet her at booksignings and appearances; in fact, SB has a way of making you think she'll always remember you (I don't flatter myself into thinking she has any idea who I am, LOL.). More imporantly, when I had her sign a book at a following National conference, she made me believe that I was going to ascend to great heights and, who knows? Maybe she's part of the reason I've kept selling, even to this day.

The last big moment was something many other authors will agree with and many will probably remember keenly. It was at the same National conference, I believe--the one after 9/11. SB got up in front of the entire lunch crowd (thousands, THOUSANDS) and delivered the most shattering speech I've ever heard. Truly, it ranks up there with anything Martin Luther King, Jr., or JFK gave us. I'm not kidding.

She talked about how to cope with our shared wounds. She reminded us about the power of love in a dark time of hatred. The room was almost silent with people holding back their tears or even giving in to their soft weeping. I'm not a person who cries much, but I even had to stare at the table while I sobbed.

Even now, when I think about 9/11--and, God, I still think about it and I'm just as prone to rage--I call up SB's words, and they calm me. They really do.

We all have "mentors" who have guided us either directly or indirectly, and SB is one of mine. I didn't fully realize that until this morning, either....

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