Friday, August 22, 2008

Interview: Sutton Fox

Today the Diaries goes faster than a speeding bullet to find the perfect author to harass - uh interview. Sutton Fox is making her skid marks on the Romance world with her new book Lion Tamers. A perfect blend of high speed action and sizzling romance. Ditching the Pinto we rented for a snazzy pair of racing stripes, we caught up with Sutton Fox at a dusty Georgia dirt track.

Jmo: Right, MorganO, dirt track equals dust. Glad you figured that one out. The smell of nitrous oxide is making us higher than a kite but who are we to complain.

MorganO: Exactly and wait until we get to the Rocky Mountains to interview Piper, woohoo! We’re going to be oxygen deprived. Anyhow, after promising Jenna to keep Jmo away from the trophy girls, she let me snag him away for this special interview. And no, Jmo, we won't be setting Sutton on fire to see if the fire retardant suit really works. Now before he goes in search of Ricky Bobby, let's get Sutton off to a quiet corner where we can have a little chat away from the squealing tires and more importantly, before Jmo tries to join a pit crew. Jmo, put down that wrench.

Jmo: Only if you stop trying to lure Jeff Gordon into the backseat.

MorganO: Damn. You weren’t supposed to see that. Ahem. Sutton thanks for allowing us to interrupt your high speed endeavors. First of all explain the difference between dirt track and stock car?

Jmo: Obviously MorganO is more interested in the drivers than what they’re driving, otherwise she’d know the answer to that question.

SF: Thank you for traveling all this way just to interview me, I really appreciate it. It’s tough to get away from the track on race days.

The difference between dirt track and stock car is like the difference between apples and oranges. They’re both fruit...well, you get the idea. The technical version of a stock car, is a race car that conforms externally to a commercial model. For example, the Chevrolet, Impala SS you see Jeff Gordon race at the track on Sunday should resemble the same car you can purchase in the dealer showroom on Monday. Hence the term ‘stock’. They have been modified for safety purposes. These types of cars are usually raced on oval, asphalt surfaced tracks. They do race on road courses as well, but I believe that’s another interview.

The car Morgan Blade drives in Lion Tamers is a winged sprint car. It’s not stock. It’s what is known as ‘purpose built’. It’s made for one thing, racing. It has a shorter wheelbase, bigger tires and way more horsepower than your average street car. And let’s not forget about the wing. It’s there to provide down force or pressure on the car to keep all that horsepower on the track. If you’d like to see a picture of a sprint car, the book trailer for Lion Tamers features a picture of one. You can find the trailer on my website.

A dirt track used for auto racing is an oval or ‘D’ shape with a clay or ‘dirt’ surface. The sizes range from one-quarter mile to a big half-mile with three-eighths mile being the most common.

TMD: Can you tell our readers how you became a fan of racing and how it inspired you to write Lion Tamers?

SF: I’ve been a fan of racing all my life. I remember going to the local asphalt track with my older sister when I was eight years old. It thrilled me to watch those shiny cars speed around the track making all that noise. It still does today. Racers are some of the most dedicated and passionate people I’ve ever met. They don’t quit, they don’t give up, they just keep after that win, no matter what life throws at them. Being fortunate enough to know a few racers personally, and know the sacrifices they’ve made to pursue their sport really inspired me. I wanted to capture their intensity and valor for people who may not be able to get to the track for whatever reason. I want them to be able to know what it’s like here, inside the oval.

TMD: There's a strong sense of reality in this one. You draw the reader right into the world. We can almost smell the dust. *Achoo!* Well, with it blowing around the way it is, can't miss that part. You've reached a pleasing balance between the reality of the world you've created and the emotional tug of Morgan's (That would be Morgan the heroine and not MorganO) reasons for entering the contest. What made you combine the racing world with reality TV?

SF: Remember when reality TV first hit the airwaves in a big way? Here I am, watching all of these reality shows, and couldn’t find a single one about racing. I have since found one, but it wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped it would be. In the way of writers, I wondered how it would be from the inside out. I wondered what would motivate someone to want to be on a show and do whatever they had to in front of the world. Just to win some money. What would that mean to them? I wanted the ‘why’ of it.

TMD: what came first your love of racing or romance?

SF: I guess it would have to be racing. I didn’t read my first romance until I was seventeen. Who could forget Ruark Beauchamp from Shanna, by the incomparable Kathleen Woodiwiss? Upon finishing her story I was well and truly hooked. I always have a book or my e-reader at the track.

TMD: How many years have you been part of the racing world? Only one so enmeshed in the sport could catch the essence so realistically.

SF: I’ve only been actively involved in the sport for about ten years.

TMD: Why do you think so many female readers are entranced by the thrill of racing? Besides the sight of hot men in jumpsuits. Down MorganO.

SF: Because it is a thrill. The horsepower makes you shiver, right along with the element of danger and risk. People who take risks are viewed as powerful and attractive, and that holds a special kind of appeal.

TMD: We understand that Lion Tamers is the first book in a series set in the racing world. Can you give us a brief outline of books to follow? And when does book 2 come out?

SF: The series is called Traveling Circus. Book two, Center Ring, will be released by Lyrical Press on November 2, 2008. It focuses more on the team ownership aspect of racing with little romantic suspense thrown in for good measure. The third book, High Wire, is back to grass roots racing, featuring dirt late models. It will be released February 2, 2009. There are two more books in the series for a total of five, but the last two are still works in progress.

TMD: This is an old tradition but we are all about tradition here. If you were asked to partake in a world's weirdest race, would you ride the goat or the lama?

SF: The llama, no question. They spit, and I think that’s funny.

TMD: With so many romance authors setting their books in the sports world, do you think this is a movement to empower women past the role of bring-me-a-beer-during-the-half-time-show?

SF: Honestly, I’m usually the one saying that at my house. I hate to let that go. Really, I believe today’s women have moved beyond the ‘movement’. They aren’t restricted by the narrow and sometimes myopic view of whoever may be leading the current society. They are empowered internally to do whatever they want to do. And that gives them the freedom to make any choice they please and follow it through.

TMD: How does it feel as an author to be able to combine two of your loves?

SF: Unbelievable. I know it sounds trite, but it really is a dream come true.

TMD: Who was the inspiration for Tyler??? MorganO is still drooling over him.

SF: Well, I can tell you personality wise, he’s an amalgamation of several racers that I know. I’m not sure their wives would like the names listed here. This will date me, but in the looks category it would have to be Robert Redford from his Butch Cassidy days.

MorganO: RR? Hubba-hubba! I just knew Tyler was hot for a good reason!

TMD: As someone who's followed both of her dreams, what advice do you have for women who want to follow their dreams, be it racing or writing?

SF: Set goals, believe you can achieve them. Don’t quit, ever. Don’t give up. And for heavens sake, stop worrying about what other people think. They are only thinking about you in reference to themselves anyway. It’s very rare you will find someone who will support your dreams. Most people will definitely tell you why you shouldn’t do something. Especially those who claim to love you the most. So be strong and follow your heart in spite of them.

TMD: Do you think feeling passionate about what you love, in this case racing, makes you a better author when you're writing?

SF: I hope so. I hope when people read my stories they can feel the passion I have for the sport. And I hope they enjoy it just as much as I do.

TMD: Uh, Sutton, Morgan wants to know if she can go vroom-vroom in your car. She's always wanted to go zero to sixty-nine in less than five seconds. Well, looks like you don't have much of say in it. Morgan, watch out for Jeff Gordon... too late! I'm sure when the ambulance gets here, he'll be okay. Sutton, thanks again for letting us experience the thrill of race day with you. Before you go chasing her, could you let our readers know where to find you on web and if you have anything coming out we should be racing to buy?

SF: Thank you again for sharing your time with me. Lion Tamers is available now from Lyrical Press. You can buy it at Lyrical Press.

If you like to know more about me, you can check out my website: http://suttonfox.com or friend me on myspace: www.myspace.com/suttonfox

I love to hear from readers. You can reach me at suttonfox@gmail.com

Thanks Jmo. MorganO! Morgan, come back with my car!

4 comments:

Piper Denna said...

Awesome interview. Sutton, you llama lover. Who knew? LOL And who'da guessed you'd be asked such a goofball question? Can't wait for Center Ring to come out now...

Maya Blake said...

What a lovely interview, Sutton. Having read Lion Tamers, I can't wait for Center Ring. Congrats on your fab book.

Sutton Fox said...

Thank you, ladies for your kind words. I'm excited about Center Ring too!

Mary Marvella said...

You handled that like a pro! Go you!

VA-ROOM to the top!