Today I’m tossing protocol aside and interviewing my alter ego. Please grab a seat, your favorite beverage and listen in, as I step out of the box regarding writing and moving into character.

I’m Susan Jean Ricci, author of the romantic comedy Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems and its sequel The Sugar Ticket. I’m also the behind-the-scenes keyboardist for several short stories including, A Super Sandy Christmas, Heart Marks the Spot, The Christmas Cardinal, and soon-to-be released, Two Miracles For Christmas.

Q: What has been your most formidable challenge with your writing career thus far?

A: Um, let me see. Avoiding procrastination is right up there with time wasted on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love my twitter family and Facebook, but for a person with an addictive personality, the concept of nosing around those sites is very alluring. While I realize these outlets are a great way to gain new fans and friends, disciplining my time more effectively is key to writing more stories.

Q: If you were to go back and do things over again, is there something you’d change about your professional history?

A: No, not a thing. Writing rants for the newspaper when I was raising a family was a true learning experience and I got a big kick out of seeing those rants published. Much of my work was centralized on being an advocate for the Handicapped or the Military, albeit in writing. I took advantage of problems I saw going on in the community or the government, and used them to further educate those who would listen. I wrote several magazine articles regarding true to life issues, such as parenting a teen after divorce, things like that. Of course, writing the next best seller was always the feather tickling my behind, but I’ve come to the conclusion timing is everything. I just want to write more entertaining stories about the DeMatteo’s and NOT have them published posthumously.

Q: Tell us about your characters, Cindy and Jay, from the Cindy’s Crusades Series. Are they based on real life people, or did they begin talking to you when you sat down at your keyboard one day?

A: Cindy Layton was (and is), a real pain in the ass. Her persona evolved when I tried writing a journal while dating Joe. Instead of letting me keep my journal the way I wanted to, she kept interfering with my thoughts constantly. I finally caved in and let her take over. (Laughs). Without giving away any spoilers, it was a great relief when Jay DeMatteo showed up. He kept Cindy out of my hair for a while. When I decided to write a sequel, there she was, starting all over again with me. By that time, though, I’d grown very fond of her. As far as Jay goes, he’s a great guy, has enough patience for both he and Cindy, and is so easy on the eyes, Cindy grows amorous whenever he smiles at her, which is often.

Q: Ah, so do you and Cindy have some traits in common?

A: Oh, definitely. We both appreciate our mates in serious ways, both mentally and physically. (Wink)

Q: If you could chose between a hot guy and a good dinner out, which would you prefer?

A: Yikes, I’d take the hot guy, as long as he was my hubby!

Q: Anything special you’re working on right now?

A: I’m writing a nonfiction piece about what life is like when a person has a handicapped sibling. I have a handicapped brother, and when my mom passed I became his guardian – a role I’ve been fulfilling my entire life.

Q: What have been your proudest moments during your writing career?

A: If I hadn’t met and married my husband Joe, there wouldn’t be a Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems, let alone a sequel. I’d have to say he was the determining factor that sent me into the publishing arena. I’m so proud of him, and I rely on his encouragement as my editor to keep me focused. My other proudest moments were when I was offered a contract to become a Women’s Pen author in the Annie Acorn publishing Company and last year as Dinosaurs & Cherry Stems made semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Reviews 2013, Best Indie Author Book Awards in its genre.

Q: Name two little known facts about yourself.

A: I was an aerobic dance instructor and had my own business for five years. I also sold real estate. I loved those jobs, but not as much as I love entertaining others with my stories!

Q: One last question – What do you keep in your office that inspires you?

A: I have a post-it note my mother wrote to me. It says, Hey, Sue, more later! <3 Keep writing – You know! I found the note in her desk after she passed away when I was going through her things. I have it taped to my printer, and I include the note in my print books, in the acknowledgments section.

On that ‘note’, I’d like to thank you for stopping by, and I hope you’ll visit me again.  I hope you enjoyed reading about the writing life from my POV! Have a super day!