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Author Interview: Suzie Clarke Chats about Shadow Dancers

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Get ready to learn more about the book Shadow Dancers in this discussion with sapphic author Suzie Clarke.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Suzie Clarke about Shadow Dancers, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Fish Out of Water category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Shadow Dancers?

This book is the final book in the Shadow Series. I couldn’t wait to write how Rachel and Claire finally were able to overcome all their challenges and be together.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

I loved both of the main characters Rachel and Claire, but I’d have to say I think Rachel was my most favorite because she never gave up protecting those she loved no matter what she had to go through to do it. She always came back fighting. I’d say I relate to Rachel the most because she was a very physical character.

What was the biggest challenge writing this book?

It is always a challenge to write action/romance because the action and romance plots must build and come together. In this third and final book, Rachel and Claire’s romance was already well established, so I needed to make sure the storyline concerning their relationship was engaging and interesting. Yes, Rachel and Claire were in unique situations, but like all marriages, they had problems, obstacles to over come, and growing to do. I loved writing how they dealt with all of it.

What part of Shadow Dancers was the most fun to write?

By far the most fun for me to write was when Rachel and Claire went to their property in Arizona that connected to the Reservation, and then Ilesh, Rachel’s cousin, came and taught Claire how to be the hunter and not the hunted. I enjoyed writing the deeper connection that developed between Claire and Ilesh and what she learned from him.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

I wanted the title to be connected to the first and second titles so I knew it at least needed the word “Shadow” in it. I wanted it to be something related to Rachel’s Native American heritage. As I thought about their time on the reservation in past books and the basic outline of what they were going to do there this time, it was clear “Shadow Dancers” needed to be the title. The reader finds out what a Shadow Dancer is when Rachel and Claire go to the reservation. I won’t give it away—you need to read it for yourself!

What is your writing process like?

My writing process has developed over the years. I leaned toward being a panster rather than a plotter at first. But I think for me it was more from a lack of experience than anything. Now I’m a planner—big time! I love an outline of the entire plot. I like to see the whole picture, at least as much as I can at the beginning. It takes time to plan it out, but when I do my writing seems to stay more focused and goes faster. I think it’s because the direction of the plot is more clear. I also seem to have more confidence to expand or change direction if I need to in order to enhance the storyline.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

I’ve always wanted to sit down with Pulitzer Prize winning author John Steinbeck, maybe on a summer night around the campfire. I have a ton of questions to ask him! To me he was one of the most gifted writers who ever put pen to page. Did you know he paid people to tell him stories about their lives? He’d go to the indigent camps and sit around and give men fifty cents or a dollar or two so he could hear their stories. He loved people. Yet, his own town shunned him and rejected him because of what he wrote (The Grapes of Wrath). To have the courage to write what you feel you need to write, no matter what others say, is an admirable quality. I hope I can be like that.

Have you ever cried when writing an emotional scene?

Oh My Gosh! Yes. In Shadow Dancers, near the end, when Rachel and Claire are at their property in Arizona and Rachel goes into the teepee to wake Claire. I bawled like a baby after I wrote it. I think It was because finally the main characters could live the lives they had wanted and hoped for since the first book, Moon Shadow. It was such a relief to write that scene. Sometimes writers get into their characters like readers do.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I love a good western, especially about women. I enjoy sapphic action adventure with romance. I’m sure because it’s the genre I write in. But I love a plot where the main character gets in a tuff situation and is able to figure a way out, with or without help. As a little girl, I loved reading adventure stories, even if the main character was an animal, especially a horse.

What book do you wish you had written?

I wish I’d written Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. I love the characters, the world building, the emotive way he expresses the characters, and the storyline. But I got my satisfaction when I wrote Western Blue. It was everything I’d hoped it would be and a finalist for the 2024 Golden Crown Awards in Romantic Blend.

Meet Suzie Clarke

Suzie Clarke is an award winning sapphic action/adventure/romance author who lives in Ohio. She loves writing strong female characters who know how to stand up for themselves. Her goal is to immerse the reader so deeply in the story that they can’t put it down until the final word.

Visit Suzie’s Website

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Author Interview