Thursday, June 19, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Allegiance by Susannah Sandlin

Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for hosting this blog tour. I have Susannah Sandlin, author of Allegiance here today. Welcome!


Does Real Life Bleed Into Fiction?

“This is really dark. I was surprised at how dark it was.” That was one of my editors recently, talking about the manuscript we’re about to start revisions on. It’s in my urban fantasy series (as Suzanne Johnson), coming out early next year. I had an explanation: “Things are going down a slippery slope in this world. It has to be darker.”

Then ALLEGIANCE came out this week, and I knew it was a dark book—to me, all of the books in the Penton Legacy series have been a blend of darkness, action and humor. Like my editor, a couple of readers and reviewers have expressed surprise at how dark the Penton world had gotten. (Don’t worry, there’s still a lot of humor—a lot!—and smexy times with hot hero Cage and the uncontrollable eagle-shifter Robin!)

So I started thinking about why, unconsciously, I might have gone down such dark paths in these two books, which were written almost back-to-back. I’m not a gloomy person, after all. The daughter of the World’s Ultimate Pessimist (if that isn’t an official title, it should be), I have always tried to look on the bright side of situations, and I usually succeed.

But in thinking about this, I realized that I’d had a very, very rough six months prior to writing these books, almost entirely due to day-job dramatics and an online, threatening stalker (which involved the day job and not the writing). I had a dark few months, angry and helpless to do anything about the situation and unable to even vent about it. The writing of those two books came toward the end of that darkest period, (which should be resolved in another few months).

Did that influence the direction of these books? Or as an author writing about worlds (in both series) that are struggling to find a way to survive a catastrophic change, does the story really have to keep descending into darkness before it can find its way back to the light at the end of the journey?

I suspect it’s both.

Which made me think about authors and books. As a reader, do you think much about the author as you’re reading, or what might have gone into the direction of a story?

I don’t. When I read a book, the story grabs hold and transports me to another world, and sometimes that’s a very dark world. I mean, the world of Harry Dresden or the Black Dagger Brotherhood isn’t exactly sweetness and light. But the story exists independent of the author by the time it reaches the printed page or the backlit reader screen. If the story doesn’t grab me, I usually set the book aside after the hundred-page test.

So when a book takes a dark twist, how much of that is dictated by the author’s objective assessment of where a plot needs to go, and how much is dictated by the author’s subconscious mindset? I’m not sure one can ever disconnect the two completely.

In the meantime, yes, Allegiance is dark. And funny and sexy. But Penton’s not out of the woods yet!


About the Author
Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.

She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. Her Penton novel, Omega, was nominated for a 2013 Reviewer’s Choice Award in Paranormal Romance from RT Book Reviews magazine. Absolution was the winner of the 2013 Holt Medallion in Paranormal Romance.

Find the author:


From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the fourth book in the smart and steamy Penton Legacy series.

British vampire psychiatrist and former mercenary Cage Reynolds returns to Penton, Alabama, looking for a permanent home. The town has been ravaged by the ongoing vampire war and the shortage of untainted human blood, and now the vampires and humans that make up the Omega Force are trying to rebuild. Cage hopes to help the cause, put down roots in Penton, and resolve his relationship with Melissa Calvert. The last thing he expects is an attraction to Robin Ashton, a trash-talking eagle shape-shifter and new Omega recruit.

Meanwhile, as a dangerous saboteur wreaks havoc in Penton, the ruthless Vampire Tribunal leader Matthias Ludlam has been freed on the eve of his scheduled execution. But by whom? And to what end? As war and chaos rage on, love is the last thing Cage is looking for, but will his attraction to Robin distract him from the danger living among them?

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  1. When I'm reading I am in that world and not thinking of the author. I am usually amazed what the author has come up with and think about it afterwards. Allegiance was much darker than the other Penton stories, a wonderful read. Yes, Penton is definitely not out of the woods.

    1. Thanks, Roger! In thinking about that world and how it might logically progress from the last book, I thought it really had to go darker. There's so much at stake!

  2. Usually when i read a book i'm immersed in the story ( if i enjoy it a lot) so it's what i have in mind. It's only afterwards that i tend to think about it and wonder a little what i felt from teh story and then i can wonder about the authors 'want/will .
    i do think life can have a impact even unconscious but good author create something from that .
    Penton is darker and i was surprised yes ( a lot yes) but i enjoyed it despite all that, and yes the humour was simply perfect

    Penton will see the light again but nothing can be too easy and we knew Matthias wasn't alone so they had to see and decide what was worth fighting for ( even if i do hope they get their happy time not in a hundred of book later^^)

    by the way you have the right to vent don't worry all of us have thos emoment we just need to contact someoen to vent to let of some steam to start feeling better so don't hesitate

    1. Thanks, Miki :-) I'm not sure the books wouldn't have been just as dark had my own mood been lighter--it just felt right for these stories. But oh yes, things will get better!

  3. I agree that when I am sucked into the world of a book I am reading, I'm not thinking about the author's frame of mind. But the author's mindset will definitely affect the tone of the book. We all struggle with darkness in our lives. Why wouldn't our favorite characters?

    1. Exactly! And I'm not sure the two can be totally separated. If I'm feeling "dark" and the character needs to not go there, I'd have trouble writing it until my own mood improved. Fortunately (at least I think it's fortunate), my stories have been dark when I needed them to be. It's all back to the chicken-and-egg thing :-)