by Suzanne Hartmann
Writers get their ideas many ways. In the case of my first novel, PERIL: A Fast Track Thriller, boredom motivated me to create stories to entertain myself while I sat through my kids’ violin and piano lessons and baseball and soccer practice. Over a couple of years, what started with a simple question— “What if I could…”—eventually became a set of detailed stories revolving around one main character: the mysterious Lady Anne.
The idea for a twist of NASCAR came after my daughter decided she liked watching stock car races and one day announced that she had chosen a favorite driver. I knew nothing about NASCAR at that point, so I had no idea if this driver was someone we should encourage her to root for. I decided I’d better educate myself and started paying more attention when my husband watched a race (instead of taking a nap).
After a few months of watching the races and pestering my husband with questions. I realized that stock car racing was more interesting than I thought. Eventually, I couldn’t resist placing some of the stories I had created at a racetrack. And that naturally led to the addition of a main character who is a NASCAR driver.
Initially, I never intended to write a novel based on these stories. It wasn’t until I was thinking about one of the stories while taking a walk in our neighborhood one day that a thought popped into my head, “Why don’t you make these stories into a novel?” I fought the idea for a week or so, thinking maybe I was having a premature mid-life crisis or something, but after much prayer, I realized God was nudging me. So in spite of the fact that I had very little experience writing fiction, I dove into research about NASCAR, then set out to weave my stories into a novel.
Once I began writing, it almost became an obsession to get all of the stories from my head into the computer–what I call a brain-dump. That became the narrative outline I followed to write the story. Essentially, it was a series of main plot points that needed to be threaded together. I think of it like a dot-to-dot. The main plot points are the dots and as I wrote, I created the threads that lead from one to the next.
After I finished writing the first draft, I had so much to learn, but God was faithful and led me to some Christian writing forums, and from there to an awesome critique group. Throughout the process of my writing journey, God has pulled me way out of my comfort zone, but He continues to equip me as He walks with me through each step.
Here’s a little about the book God nudged me to write. I pray that readers not only enjoy a good read, but will pick up on the themes of honesty and the importance of following God even when where He’s leading doesn’t make sense by human terms.
A top-secret agent.
A high-profile assignment.
Danger at a NASCAR track.
A top secret agent with enhanced strength must use her extraordinary abilities during several high-profile assignments, from the White House to NASCAR tracks while escorting the first Muslim king to convert to Christianity. When unwanted publicity and the attention of a NASCAR champion threaten to expose her, she becomes a terrorist target, with danger surrounding her on all sides.
“Plenty of action and unexpected twists.”
Foreword by Jimmy Makar, GM of Joe Gibbs Racing
Thank you so much for hosting me today. Before I close, I would like to invite your readers to participate in a KINDLE give-away. To celebrate the release of my debut novel, I am giving away a Kindle to one lucky winner! Entries will be accepted through 12/16. To enter, click here.
Suzanne Hartmann is a homeschool mom of three and lives in the St. Louis area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition & Linguistics from Western Illinois University. To relax, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study. She began writing fiction when her children were young, and four of her short stories were published in a Milliken Publishing reading workbook. PERIL: Fast Track Thriller Bk. #1 is her debut novel.
On the editorial side, Suzanne is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and operates the Write This Way Critique Service. Through her blog, Write This Way, she has become known as an author who can explain writing rules and techniques in easy-to-understand terms. Her popular Top 10 series of articles formed the basis for her e-book on the craft of writing, Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level.