Friday, June 1, 2012


This contest is now closed!  Congratulations to A. Frank, the winner of Susan Buchanan's e-book, SIGN OF THE TIMES!  Enjoy!

It's Day One of Authorpalooza, a month-long event during which I'll be introducing you to a wonderful variety of authors who have new releases to talk about.  First up is Susan Buchanan, author of the contemporary romantic drama SIGN OF THE TIMES.  

Susan has generously offered to give away one copy of her e-book.  So, be sure to leave a comment, including your e-mail address, below to be entered for the chance to win.  This giveaway is open to both US and UK residents.

Take it away, Sooz . . .

1) Can you give us a brief overview of SIGN OF THE TIMES?

SIGN OF THE TIMES is the story of twelve main characters, each of whom represents a sign of the zodiac, so their personality traits, jobs, aspirations were created around the relevant star sign. It charts how their lives intertwine, the events that happen to them and how they all are bound together by one event.

2) What's your favorite quality about your hero/heroine?

Ah, well there are 12 heroes/heroines in SOTT, due to the nature of the novel.  Let’s pick Holly, who opens the story – it would have to be her natural warmth and bubbliness.

3) What made you want to write this book?

Although not big on astrology, I do believe there are certain character traits more dominant in some signs than in others.  Twelve key characters were a big ask, but I love a challenge! I didn’t think the star signs had been written about in this way before and I looked forward to seeing how I could develop them.

4) What are you working on now?

THE DATING GAME – due out in Dec.  It’s meant to be more in the Chick Lit genre, but quite frankly is a bit more serious although still down-to-earth and with lots of laughs in it.  THE DATING GAME is about a Recruitment Consultant who is a disaster in the love stakes, so it’s the tale of how she joins a dating agency for professionals and the ups and downs she goes through as a result.

5) What comes first for you -- character idea, plot idea?

In the grand scheme, the plot, followed by bits and pieces of the characters, then more scenes flit into my head and afterwards the characters start to round out.

6) How do you think of titles?

Well, SIGN OF THE TIMES was originally meant to be called ZODIAC, for obvious reasons and because it was short and snappy. However, another author had whipped that title! So, I had a rethink and chose SIGN OF THE TIMES.  SIGN being a play on words related to the zodiacal signs, TIMES being because the novel is about the events that befall its characters.  I like relatively short titles, although I am drawn personally to titles like Mark Haddon’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, as it makes you think, “What?”

7) What are your thoughts on love scenes in books?  Do you prefer to read/write sweet/romantic encounters between your hero and heroine or spicy ones?

A bit of both and I think the characters dictate that. I am not going to write out and out Erotica, but I have had readers tell me they felt very hot under the collar on reading certain scenes in SIGN OF THE TIMES! But there are also plenty of sweet examples in the book too.  I like to leave a lot to the reader’s imagination, plus I have to remember my mum will be reading it too!

8) Who are the authors who inspire you?  

Victoria Hislop, Maeve Binchy, Dorothy Koomson, Emily Giffin, Antony Capella, Jodi Picoult

9) What genres do you like to read?  Do you stick to one or are you eclectic in your reading tastes?

My tastes are pretty eclectic. I read pretty much everything except Sci-Fi and Biographies.  That said, I am discovering there are whole genres I knew nothing about – Steampunk for example. Oh, I’m not too fond of Horror either, as I have too vivid an imagination. I didn’t sleep well for weeks after reading THE OMEN.  I particularly like novels which are set in other countries, especially if I have visited them and can figuratively walk the streets with them as I read the novel! – Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Khaled Hosseini, Victoria Hislop, Elizabeth Kostova, Cathy Kelly, Carole Matthews, Harlan Coben, John Grisham and Ian Rankin are all among my favourite authors.

10) What was the last book you read that really WOWed you?  

Joanna Rees novel A TWIST OF FATE – due out in August.  I received an advance review copy and could not put it down. I loved the way it was split into several countries and how well drawn the characters were.  I reviewed it on Goodreads if anyone wants to look at it.

11) Do you prefer a series or stand alone novels?  

Not fussed.  Being brought up on THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA hooked me entirely.  I haven’t yet read the series which are very popular currently.  But I don’t choose a novel based on whether it’s part of a series or not.  If the idea appeals to me and I like the blurb, I go for it!

12) If you could be plopped down in the middle of any book, which one would it be?

Without question, Michael Ende’s THE NEVERENDING STORY – miles better than the film. I always wanted to be Sebastian as he lay on the floor, opened the pages of the book, started reading and discovered that he was in the book.

13) If you could invite any five people (living or dead) over for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Bill Bryson, the travel writer – I love him.  I’ve been reading his stuff for more than ten years.  His humour and anecdotes have taken me all over the world with him.

Rupert Penry-Jones – You may need to Google him.  He’s an English actor and well, it’s self-explanatory really!

Tchaikovsky – I love classical music, particularly the Russian stuff and it was Tchaikovksy who hooked me, as I adore his pieces.

Dante – That guy had an amazing imagination and had me petrified and intrigued all through university!

Tom Ward – Ditto comment for Rupert Penry-Jones!

Fast and Flirty 

Favorite word?  In English, ‘puddle’.  In Italian, spazzolino, which means toothbrush!
Dream vacation spot?  That I’ve been to,
Natal in North East Brazil.  That I’ve not, Bora Bora
Favorite time period in history?  Medieval times. I would have liked to go to the jousts – closest I get are the re-enactments in San Gimignano in Italy, which are fantastic
Favorite girl's night out drink?  Poinsettia cocktail – made up of cranberry juice, champagne & either Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec.
Favorite date night activity?  Dining at our favourite Greek restaurant
Coffee or tea or soda? - Coffee, mainly decaf now – am wired enough!
Strong but lean or built and burly?  Strong but lean, but not skinny.
Scruffy or clean-shaven?  Again depends, but not too scruffy – yes, am veering towards clean-shaven.
Dark-haired or blond?  I’m very indecisive today – so either.  Tom Ward is dark and Rupert Penry-Jones is blond.
Celebrity Hottie on your laminated list?  To choose an international instantly recognizable chap, let’s go for Josh Lucas in the movie "Sweet Home Alabama." 
Novel hero crush?  In my novel – Ben.  In any novel – weird choice, but the father in Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian.

Thanks for dropping by Books by Banister, Sooz!  It was a pleasure getting to know more about you and your book, SIGN OF THE TIMES.

Leave a comment below telling me what your astrological sign is and you'll be entered to win an e-book copy of SIGN OF THE TIMES.  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you win!  Drawing will take place on Friday, June 8th, so get your comments in by midnight on Thursday, June 7th.

Purchase SIGN OF THE TIMES at:

Visit Susan Buchanan at:


  1. I'm an Aries! Eastern-zodiac wise, though, I'm a Snake. Haha.

  2. I am a Pisces; not too connected to earth. However, I hear in pictures, and when I read, I am there. How I get through life? Osmosis mainly. Your book, A Sign of The Times sounds like a place I'd like to go. Wishing you all the best in your success.

  3. Bridget O'NeillJune 2, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I'm a Scorpio. Scorpios are supposed to be mysterious, which I most definitely am not. :)

  4. I am a combination of Taurus and Gemini since I was born on the cusp of both - which makes me a little crazy at times.

  5. Awesome interview! This book sound really interesting. I wonder how it will be with 12 lead characters. That would be somehting different to read!

    I'm an Aquarius.

    Thanks for hosting an awesome giveaway!