Tuesday 28 January 2014

SUSANNAH SANDLIN BlogTour & Giveaway

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
Most authors get that question a lot, and usually, our answer is a blank stare because the real answer is not only complicated, but hard to put into words. Which, if you think about it, is ironic coming from people who use lots of words for a living.

For me, ideas for books (or, in the case of “Chenoire,” stories) come from a hodgepodge of useless trivia we have stored in our heads that somehow coalesces into an idea.

For “Chenoire,” I can trace my story idea back to getting lost, watching yet another disaster strike an area I love, and a nonfiction feature article I wrote about bird feathers.

The story takes place in an imaginary crossroads community near Delacroix, Louisiana, in St. Bernard Parish, sandwiched between New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a vivid spot for me because I once got lost in St. Bernard trying to find a bakery. I ended up on a barely-there road on a desolate piece of land surrounded by water, near a closed-down bar with the appropriate name of “The End of the World.”

Once I found my way back to civilization, it turned into a grand adventure, of course, but I always wonder about the hearty souls who make their homes in that little corner of the state, in a parish that’s seventy-six percent water, mostly brackish marsh, bayous, and wetlands.

My unintended trip to Delacroix stuck with me years later, when I began to think about the story that would become “Chenoire.”

By that time, the parish had gone through yet another disaster. The first one happened back in 1927, when torrential rains in the Midwest sent a badly swollen Mississippi River hurling toward New Orleans with tons of floodwater. There were a lot more rich, important people living in New Orleans than in the poor fishing towns of St. Bernard, so the state decided it was time for a sacrifice. Promising the St. Bernard people they’d pay them for their losses, officials set off explosives on the river levees in the parish, letting St. Bernard go underwater to relieve pressure on the river and spare New Orleans. Then they never paid.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, St. Bernard was, for all intents and purposes, destroyed. Every building was damaged, if it wasn’t gone altogether. Every person was homeless. Every school, every hospital, just gone. It took time and patience and faith to rebuild, but they’d finally gotten back on their feet when the BP Oil Spill occurred in the Gulf and sent the Louisiana fishing industry into a tailspin.

And that was when I began writing “Chenoire,” sending my character Faith, a biologist, into St. Bernard Parish to study some of the effects of the oil spill on the fragile ecosystem of Southeastern Louisiana.

Faith’s specialty came from an article I’d recently written for my day job about bird feathers. Did you know that what a bird eats impacts the color of its feathers, beak, and feet? It was news to me! One of the reason pink flamingoes are pink is because they eat a lot of shrimp. Feathers are mostly protein, and one can even feed birds certain types of food and influence their color.

(It’s not all food-based, of course. There’s species and gender to consider. Male birds are usually more brightly colored than females; females need to blend in with their surroundings to protect their nests, and males need bright features to preen for the females in order to attract a mate.)

Anyway, how the oil spill, the bird feathers, and getting lost in St. Bernard all came together in the story of “Chenoire”? That, I’m afraid is a mystery of synapses and brain short-circuitry. And, of course, my unhealthy fascination with alligators!

About The Book:

Chenoire by Susannah Sandlin
Genre: urban fantasy

About Chenoire:
When Faith Garrity’s twin sister died, she lost a part of herself. Unable to move past the pain, the once-driven ornithologist is at risk of losing her career as well. To save her job, she heads to the oil-ravaged wetlands of Louisiana. There, in the bayou community of Chenoire, she encounters the handsome but guarded Zackary Préjean, still suffering from a great loss of his own.

She’s drawn to Zack, but soon finds that the Préjean family isn’t what it seems… They have dangerous secrets—and deadly enemies. Caught up in a feud that threatens the area’s uneasy truce, Faith and Zack must learn to trust each other. Survival will require enormous sacrifice, but it just might also give them both a way to move on.
Source: Info in the About Chenoire was from the press kit from the publicity team.

Buy Link(s):

Zack Préjean wiped the blood from his skinning knife onto the faded blue bottom of the apron he wore, scanning the bayou that backed up to his papa’s back porch. Something had drawn his attention, but he couldn’t figure out what.

He’d been working on the small gator for half an hour, figuring to take off enough fresh meat for dinner and prep the rest to deal with later—it was too small for the skin to be worth much. The calls and caws of the birds and cackles of swamp hens soothed him, and God knew he needed soothing. Spending the whole month of gator season at Chenoire wasn’t what he wanted to be doing. But Papa had asked him outright for help, and he had to honor that.

Finally, he figured out what had caught his attention; the bayou was too quiet. He wedged the knife through his apron ties, covered the gator with a towel, and closed his eyes to focus on what he could hear. Footsteps coming from the path leading down to the house—heavy ones, stirring up a whiff of anger.

Zack tripped on his way through the kitchen, catching his toe on the edge of a chair because he’d been staring out the front window instead of watching where he was going. All this family time must be getting to him, because for a moment he swore he’d seen not a man on the path that angled toward the small circle of houses where the Préjeans had lived for generations.

No, he thought he’d seen an angel.

Except angels didn’t stomp their feet, curse like sailors, and swat at bugs, which is what this one appeared to be doing. What the hell was a woman doing on foot way out here at dusk?

Crossing his arms over his chest, Zack leaned against the frame of the front door, silent and still, waiting to see what trouble she brought. She looked like a city woman, and city women always brought trouble.

He couldn’t keep the grin off his face. Whatever else she was, his citified swamp angel was pissed off and dirty as sin. Bits of mud flaked off what might be a long, lean pair of legs underneath the grime that covered her from her shoes to the bottom of her khaki shorts—or maybe they were mud-covered black shorts. Hard to tell. Her hands flew around her head, batting at what Zack knew were probably the armies of tiny no-see-ums that swarmed near the small stand of trees this time of day. Occasionally, she swatted at her own head, giving her short blond hair a disheveled look he’d mistaken for a halo.

“Damned gnats. I’m gonna—” The angel finally spotted him and stopped in her tracks, dark-blue eyes growing wider as her gaze dropped from Zack’s face to the vicinity of the knife.

He cleared his throat and stifled the laugh that threatened to escape. “You lost, Angel?”

Meet The Author:

Susannah Sandlin
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, and a new romantic thriller beginning this month with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.


  • 1 $25 Amazon gift card
  • 2 $10 Amazon gift cards
  • 2 Author swag packs- open to US Shipping (books, swag)


  1. I have another one of her books that I should read soon

  2. I always enjoy these little adventures that Suzanne shares with us. Chenoire is pronounced "shin-WHA", and is a wonderful short story. Thanks.


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