Okay you all, the weekend is upon us and you’re gonna need something new and choice to read. Let that something be Hush Money by Susan Bischoff.
Here’s the blurb:
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.
Here’s my attempt at a review:
I just finished Hush Money and am totally jonesing for the next book already! Loved this book. The main character, Joss, is snarky, strong, insecure, and protective-all things that make her a realistic heroine. I enjoyed her voice and also reading things from Dylan’s (her crush) point of view. The back and forth between the two really kept the story moving. The action sequences were written well-easy to imagine and quite exciting! I can’t wait to find out more about all of the characters and how they use their super powers. Great debut!
And what you’ve all been waiting for-The interview!!!
SWB: How did you choose what talents would go with each character?
SB: There are two ways that happens. One is that I start from the Talent as part of the main concept. I know that a story is going to need a certain Talent, or I know that this Talent will cause these kinds of problems, and hence, this story. Then I develop the character around the Talent. How would living with this ability affect someone?
The other way is when a character starts out more about the person and I just need to assign them something that fits with the persona that’s already growing in my head. Often it’s one or the other, but Joss and Dylan were both this latter type. I knew that just having an ability affected everything about Joss’s life, and I also knew I wanted it to be something with a lot of potential power for her to grow into.
SWB: Do you outline and plot?
SB: I could seriously talk all day, and I won’t. I’ve formulated a Blueprint for story development which has done wonders for my productivity. I’ve got that available for download, alone with a series of instructional posts for using it here: http://susan-bischoff.com/downloads/
SWB: Where do you write?
SB: Today? On my lap on the sofa, but usually at the kitchen table.
SWB: How many books will be in the Talent Chronicles? How planned out are they?
SB: I think there are about 20 Talent couples in my head, screaming for an HEA. Seriously. So who knows?.
There are three books planned for Joss and Dylan, Hush Money, Heroes ‘Til Curfew, and Heroes on the Run. After that, they become supporting characters and some of their friends take over lead roles for a handful of stories. Beyond that I was supposed to return to my grown-up Talents but…
The series was orginially conceptualized with adult characters for an adult audience, but I just stumbled in to the YA thing on a sort of random inspiration and the characters ran away with me. I’m really enjoying my teen crowd. Maybe the other characters will get younger.
SWB: Working on anthing else?
SB: This week I came up with the bones of a new YA in the Talent world, apart from the kids we’ve met so far. It’s a bit darker than what I’ve been doing, and I’m considering it for a serial type of project, but I’m not sure where it’s going yet. No active non-Talent projects right now, though.
SWB: Upcoming release dates:
SB: I wish it were easier to set release dates. I’m lousy at knowing how long things will take. A series of hold-ups on Hush Money delayed that a month past my projection for it. So I’ll just say that I hope to have the print version out in the next few weeks, but almost definitely by the end of September. I hope to have at least the e-version of Heroes ‘Til Curfew out sometime in the fall, but almost definitely by the end of the year. And I’d love to push Heroes on the Run out the door by the end of the year, but almost definitely in Spring 2011.
How’s that for non-committal?
SWB: What else do you like to do besides write?
SB: Besides book shopping, and knitting, I collect dolls. My current thing is resin Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls (BJDs) [psst, they are very expensive, buy my book. Cough. What?] I like to sew for them, and for Blythe doll. While I’m full time back in the writing, I’m actually on hiatus from selling smocked dresses for Blythe, http://www.dollydelicacies.com/Gallery.htm, but I would like to get back to making sewing patterns for dolls when I get a bit of a break from the writing stuff.
SWB: Tell us all about you:
SB: I’m 38, I don’t believe in cutting my hair, and rarely wear socks. I hate dishwashing with a fiery passion.
Current favorite movie moment to rewind: The kiss at the end of the BBC’s North and South.
I’ve been married for 19 years. My DH builds spiral staircase kits [http://www.spiralstaircase.com/], and comes home every day smelling of sawdust and man sweat. This is why I don’t date my heroes. Don’t need to.
My daughter, Briar Rose, is 6. She never stops moving or talking. I have really only been able to get anything done since she started school. She’s a force of nature and a great reader.
Pets are a huge, ill-behaved puppy named Beau, and cats Barnum and Bailey.
SWB: Why YA?
SB: Like I mentioned above, it was an accident at first. I had been on a writing break for a while (link to Why Indie post: http://susan-bischoff.com/2010/08/19/why-im-an-indie-author-blog-carnival/) and I was having trouble getting back into it. My CP suggested maybe I was in a rut of some kind and that I might put the Talents aside and work on something fresh. And while I could come up with some ideas for that, nothing really sparked. Then, it was probably during yet another epic Buffy marathon, I just said, you know, I would LOVE to write a teen character like this, coming into her power, dealing with a superhero identity…Come to find out that if you write teens, it’s probably YA. Who knew?
SWB: Why indie? What has your journey been like?
SB: There are a lot of reasons, and a lot of them I talk about in the above-referenced post [http://susan-bischoff.com/2010/08/19/why-im-an-indie-author-blog-carnival/]. I’ll sum that up by saying it’s about creative freedom, control, and keeping my own schedule. I am, at heart, very DIY-oriented.
The other reason is that my best friend and CP, author Kait Nolan [http://kaitnolan.com], who kept after me to get back into writing all during my break, and new friend Zoe Winters kept giving me their sales stats in stereo chat windows, and I got really jealous that I couldn’t play. I wouldn’t call it peer pressure, but I think it’s definitely partly the rockin’ indie company I keep, present company included.
SWB: Is Joss named after Whedon?
SB: On some level, she must be, don’t you think? I didn’t set out to do that, but when she told me her name… Look, she is the boss of me.
SWB: What do you like to read?
SB: Always romance, but I go through periods with other stuff. A lot of the original inspiration for the Talent Chronicles comes from reading Ayn Rand, and other fic popular with libertarians. I adore Shannon McKenna, erotic romance author, for the manly intensity of emotion she puts into her heroes. There are fantasy series I’ve read that stick with me because the world-building was incredible. I found Elizabeth Haydon’s Rhapsody, Prophecy, Destiny fantasy novels to be an amazing experience. I also go through periods where I can’t get enough Regency.
I LOVE manga! Seriously, I can just go stupid over a good manga series. I love how the art enhances the story, the fantastic storylines, and mostly when there’s over-the-top boy-girl melodrama.
Currently I’m just trying to find the time to get in as many indie reads as possible. There’s so much good stuff out there and it’s so affordable. My ereader overfloweth.
SWB: Anything else you’d like to share? Gimme all your links, baby!
SB: Hush Money is available at:
Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords, Scribd, and Kobo. Paperback coming soon.
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Bischoff/137550366285624
I’d like to thank Susan for giving such a fun interview! I know you all will enjoy Hush Money as much as I did.