Message From The Author
Many writers have been accused of having their head in the clouds, but Susan Grantwhose first novel, ONCE A PIRATE, debuts this Februaryis often, literally, in the clouds, since her other career is flying 747 jumbo jets across the world for United Airlines. Sues been flying for almost 20 years, and when I spoke to her, shed just returned from Sydney, Australia, one of her very favorite places in the world. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, flying jets is boring, she admits, but thats okay by me, considering the alternatives! I want my excitement in books, not in real life.
Susan was also one of the first women in history to attend the United States Air Force Academy in the late 1970s, and flew jets in the Air Force, including a three-year stint as a flight instructor in the rigorous USAF pilot training program. Her dream was to be an astronaut; however, she discovered that she lacked the gene necessary to comprehend advanced calculus, which is required of astronauts. Luckily, she laughs, as a pilot, I just need to know how to add five to things.
Sues writing career began in 1997, when she took a trip to Seattle and attended an RWA conference. She had always read romances, but she wasnt aware of romance as an entire genre of bestselling booksshe just knew she liked books with a love story and a happy ending. At the conference, editor Gail Fortune said that time travel was hot, and Sue started jotting down her ideas for ONCE A PIRATE on a cocktail napkin on the plane home.
The story of a modern-day fighter pilot who crashes her jet and is rescued by a Regency-era pirate, ONCE A PIRATE is fast-paced, witty and delightful. The novel opens with Lieutenant Carly Callahan flying through a bad electrical storm (Susans least favorite weather to fly in). She loses both radar and engines and has to bail out, but instead of landing in her own 21st-century ocean, shes back in the time of wooden ships. Pirate captain Andrew Spencer plucks her from the drink, thinking shes Lady Amanda Paxton, but Carlys requests for a radio (Who is Ray Dio? Andrew asks) and other 21st-century oddities make him believe shes lost her mindthough he cant help thinking that shes a comely lunatic.
Since Susans favorite writers are Mary Jo Putney, Julie Garwood and especially, Catherine Asaro, its no surprise that her next book, THE STAR KING (Nov. 2000), has as its hero a hunky alien with an attitude. He meets a former fighter pilotthe novel opens with a combat scenewhos now a suburban mom. Susan jokes that shes starting a new sub-sub-subgenre: Aviation Romance.
Both the contemporary flying scenes and the 19th century sea battles in ONCE A PIRATE are incredibly exciting and accurately described, in part the result of Susans reading about all of Admiral Nelsons battles in the 1800sshe describes herself as fighting Navy battles in my mind while my children were in the bathtub. Sues drawn to pirates, she says, because she likes any character who uses the word Aye, and also because being a good warrior is a timeless thing.
Sue served in the Air Force for seven yearsstill a pioneer, but not in the first wave of women in the militaryand didnt encounter much gender discrimination. Her relationships with the other, mostly male, members of her flying squadron were affectionate, like brothers and sisters.
I can only speak for myself, she says, but as long as you were pulling your own weight, it didnt really matter whether you were male or female. Also, it wasnt my lifes goal to change anyones mind, just to do my job well! Women in the military are no different than women in any other situation, Sue says, and thats one thing she wanted her heroine to reflect. Some are tomboys and others are very feminineyou can be a tough fighter pilot, and still melt when someone kisses you.
Sue has two kids, a girl and a boy. When her young daughter first saw a man in a pilots uniform, she was stunned, saying, I didnt know daddies could be pilots, too! The similarity between pilot and flight attendant uniforms also gave her kids the impression that her job encompasses everything thats done on the planeshe says, They think I take off, run back and serve everyone, then return to the cockpit to land. My kids will say, Could
you call the pilot for another Coke?
Susans pioneering spirit is evident not only in her dual careers, but also in ONCE A PIRATEher independent, sexually assertive heroine even teaches a roguish pirate a thing or two about love. Lets hear it for the inventor of
the Aviation Romance!
To read a longer excerpt from ONCE A PIRATE, visit Sues really fun website at http://www.susangrant.com/.
You can also write her c/o Dorchester Publishing, 276 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10001.
Heres an excerpt from ONCE A PIRATE
Carly watched as he searched her face, his eyes intense, mirroring her own passion. Hes a kindred spirit, she realized with a jolt.
Never in my life have I dreamt so vividly, milady, he said, using his expressive hands as he spoke. Until the storm wakes me, I am sailing on air, faster than any ship I have sailed. The clouds are but an arms reach away. Aye, the stars, too. Yet, the sea is far, far below.
The flickering flame of the bedroom candle imbued his skin and hair with an amber glow, and the robe clung to the hard lines of his powerful body. She watched him in awe, drawn to his confidence and masculinity in a way that left her breathless.
For the first time in her life, Carly understood what it meant to experience desire, true desire. The feelings shed had before now seemed childlike and insignificant in comparison.
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