"If you are looking for a series that keeps you on the edge, wondering what will happen next, wondering how an author created a jaw-dropping, heart-stopping book. Then look no further. Genie has created that with this series." --Bunnies Review

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Suzette Hollingsworth grew up in Wyoming and Texas, went to school in Tennessee (Sewanee), lived in Europe two summers, and now resides in beautiful Washington state with her cartoonist husband, four cats, and a dachsie named “Tinkerbelle.” She collaborates on a web-comic with her husband, www.startingfromscratchcomic.com, which has a strange correlation to their life!  (And which has readers in sixty countries.) It’s the story of how financial misfortune transformed their lives.

Suzette’s hobbies are playing the flute and traveling with her husband.  Her favorite music is opera, Little Richard, and bluegrass. She loves tropical vacations and snorkeling: she freely admits that the closer she gets to the equator, the happier she is. She also admits to being a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll with a passion for all things Jane Austen. She also loves her Seattle gal pals and Girls’ Beach Parties with her high school graduating class.


What is the name of your series of books? How many books are in the series?
The Daughters of the Empire series, 3 novels

What's the genre/subgenre of your series?
Historical Romance. The best descriptor of the series is “If Jane Austen and Robert Downey Jr. met on the African Queen type of historical romance.”

What is the premise of your series? What ties it together? Are the characters related, have the same career, live in the same town, etc.?
The daughter of each union is the heroine of the sequel novel, encountering along the way a British officer in Egypt (Victorian times), a Spanish prince in Madrid (1902), and a World War II spy in Italy.

Why write a series? What are the pros and cons?
I understand that there are marketing advantages to writing a series, but that’s not why I wrote it. I wrote it because I have a story to tell and it has me in its grip: I couldn’t do anything else. In fact, I would like to carry the Daughters of the Empire series to its natural conclusion and have a futuristic female president.

What's your next project? Is there another series in your writing future?
YES, as a matter of fact! My current project is a young Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in their early thirties with Mrs. Hudson’s niece the love interest. In the first novella, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Sword Princess, seventeen-year-old Mirabella Hudson, hired as a laboratory assistant for Sherlock Holmes, learns that the Great Detective has more in store for her than washing jars, labeling specimens, and indexing criminal fingerprints.

Sherlock Holmes is a great, fun hero to write because he is liked from the get-go despite being a pompous ass (or perhaps because of it!) something which might result in an unsympathetic hero in another narrative. Holmes also lends himself well to Steampunk, blending the “Age of Invention” with something old-fashioned, elegant, and slower-paced. It seems to be a perfect fit for my writer’s voice which involves complex plots and is elegant and witty.

Any contests or giveaways related to this blog post or that you are running?
Yes, I will give away a free book in the Daughters of the Empire series (Kindle, Nook or .pdf version) winner’s choice:
THE PARADOX:  The Soldier and the Mystic
A closet Victorian psychic’s abilities are the key to a British officer’s future, the reason why he can't marry her, and the destruction of her dreams.
THE SERENADE:  The Prince and the Siren
It's the clash of the TITAN EGOS between the crown prince of Spain and a Parisian diva opera singer whose suppressed terrifying secrets unexpectedly escape to the surface when she sings.
THE CONSPIRACY:  The Contessa and the Cartoonist
A World War II spy/Contessa crosses swords quite literally with a dashing British political cartoonist who threatens to blow her cover.

Any other information you would like to add?
I think this is a great time for writers and a great time to write your series.  I believe in writing the story which has always fascinated you--intrigue is contagious!


THE SERENADE:  The Prince and the Siren
By Suzette Hollingsworth

Love is a rebellious bird that no one can tame…
--Georges Bizet, Carmen

Paris Opera House, 1903

Oh, for goodness’ sake, who is he and why is approaching me? It was little more than twenty minutes until curtain. Until her life changed forever, until all of her hard work culminated in one perfect moment, until…

She smiled at her own excitement. It was all deliciously true, and there could be no further delays before proceeding backstage. Although she was in full costume, her heavy makeup had not yet been applied.

Nicolette glanced his way, his exquisitely elegant dress catching her interest. Definitely wealthy, or dressed the part if not. For a moment her curiosity overcame her ire. Even in a sea of seemingly identical evening wear, he stood apart.

His dark hair waved over his ears from underneath a black silk top hat, and his dark-brown eyes were…inviting. There was a regal, stiff formality about him.

And he has the most engaging smile I ever beheld. Combine that with the heat in his eyes and…

What am I thinking? I need to leave--now. She admonished herself to hasten out of the Grand Foyer without looking back. And something about him…

This isn’t like me. Especially tonight.

He had the look of a notorious flirt. Dangerously virile. She never succumbed to any courtship by the extremely rich or notoriously handsome and most assuredly not both! They had everything, and nothing pleased them.

Why am I speculating on this man I don’t know? He is nothing to me, and this is the singular most important night of my life.

As he grew closer, Nicolette observed the unmistakable look of desire in his eyes. Well, she certainly was not going to be next on this dark lord’s discard list.

Inexcusable! I allowed him to reach me. No doubt due to the fact that his gait contained much more energy than the elderly bow he was now executing as if he were suffering from gout, despite having the superb physique of a sportsman.

“Mademoiselle, may I beg your acquaintance?” His smile was dazzling. It surprised her that he exerted the effort.

“You may. If it pleases you.” She barely nodded, but she kept her eyes glued to his face, growing increasingly annoyed with his effrontery. She was no man’s student, nor did she wish to engage in any game and call it love. He had best look elsewhere. Love must be love and nothing else. Like music, love must be pure and rich and encompass everything. It must swallow one whole.

Why am I concerning myself with him? Nicolette raised her chin, her forced expression cordial, she was sure, but her mood anything but.

The elegant gentleman appeared startled at her dismissal. Something told her he was not accustomed to begging--or even asking. He would soon gain an education in manners. Why the fact that she was not at all impressed by him should momentarily stun him, Nicolette did not know, but it appeared to be a new experience for him. True, he was exquisite and wealthy, but this did not preclude rejection.

“I would prefer to please you, Mademoiselle,” he remarked slowly, his tone both tempting and bewitching, as if he were wavering between commanding and placating. “And how might that be accomplished?”

Suddenly a little man appeared out of nowhere, clearly intending to announce the gentleman’s presence--how outmoded! She smiled in spite of herself. He displayed a practiced arrogance that implied the announcement was generally not needed but that she, in her unrefined foolishness, required it.

She returned her eyes to the elegant gentleman who had cleared his throat, an apparent signal to her to answer him. She happily obliged him. “That is not information which should be necessary for me to reveal. One who was truly interested would discern it.”

The page observed her lack of deference with an unconcealed desire to correct it as he hovered beside her polished intruder in overt dismay, his moustache bobbing.

This delighted Nicolette all the more.

“Mademoiselle, have I offended you? The very idea pains me. Let us take the first step toward reconciliation and actually meet. It is the greatest wish of my heart.”

Those residing in hell wish for a glass of water, but I should not expect them to get it. She lowered her eyes in an effort to hide her mirth. “And mine, I assure you.”

“Your servant, Mademoiselle.” His manner was polite, but his positioning prevented her from advancing. He reached for her hand to kiss it in a gesture of introduction.

She denied her hand. Simply because she was an opera singer did not mean that she owed men an audience or free access to her body.

He was clearly astonished that she refused him her hand, his practiced demeanor suddenly stupefied. Much to her amusement, this was far more than his companion, the perfumed bull, could endure. The attendant grew red in the face and rushed forward, sputtering, “The crown prince of Spain, Alejandro de Bonif├ício, wishes to make your acquaintance, Mademoiselle.”

Oh, my. This is a most distressing development.

So she had refused to grant the prince of Spain his every wish, had she? Well, not the best thing to do, she supposed, but he couldn’t expect her to know who was demanding her hand.

Why am I still here? The first bell sounded, indicating that patrons should exit the Grand Foyer for their seats. I am Cinderella, and the clock is striking twelve, and still I stand here, staring…

“Are you a lover of music, Your Highness?” she asked, watching for his reaction. He had a pleasing manner now that she observed him more closely.

“I am a devoted patron, Mademoiselle.” He cleared his throat awkwardly. “But I must admit that I prefer the classics both in art and music.”

“The classics?”

“I do not actually understand the new music. Puccini and Verdi are much too modern for me. Forgive me if they are a particular favorite of yours.”

“Very much so.” She giggled.  “And who is your favorite Spanish soprano, if I may ask?”

“I favor the days when men sang all the parts. I admit I am old-fashioned but do not like to see our women on the stage.”

“Oh?” she asked coolly. “And why is that, Your Highness?”

“I would think it would be obvious, Mademoiselle. And, please, call me Prince Alejandro.”

“You consider it degrading for women to be on the stage, Your Highness?” she persisted.

“That is the general view of things. And how could it be otherwise? Women should be cherished, protected, and revered. How can that be the case when they are flaunting themselves on the stage?”

“I beg you will excuse me, Your Highness.” She forced a smile before turning to leave, surprised at the magnitude of her disappointment in this man.

How could she have imagined any other outcome? Why had she wasted her precious time with him? She wanted to kick herself. “I am much honored to make your acquaintance, but I, unfortunately, have a pressing engagement.”

“Mademoiselle, please. When shall I see you again?” he asked, his voice desperate. Clearly he was unaccustomed to being refused information and did not know how to navigate this situation.

“Oh, I should think very soon indeed.” Unless I don’t make haste. She could not resist turning to gaze upon him one last time.

“But I don’t even have your name,” he commanded, his voice now edged with angst.

“You will, Your Highness.” She bestowed a parting glance upon him before turning and gliding quickly across the Grand Foyer, smiling to herself. “You will.”


  1. Welcome, Suzette! I am so pleased to have you as my guest today! Your series sounds really interesting. Love the concept!

    I have some errands to run Thursday morning, but will be back in the afternoon to chat with everyone.

    1. Genene thank you for this great opportunity to share my novels. You're all about concept yourself!

  2. Great excerpt, Suzette! Leaves me wanting to know what happens next.

    Good luck!

    1. Thank you, Jerrie! That is so kind of you. Exerpts are somewhat difficult to deliver out of context (for me anyway!) In normal writing there should be more dialogue, but one is attempting to provide backstory -and- dialogue in an excerpt :)

    2. Dear Jerrie:
      Would love to send you a novel of your choice, THE PARADOX, THE SERENADE, or THE CONSPIRACY all stand-alone novels. Just email me suzetteholl@gmail.com with Kindle/nook info.
      Thanks again for your kind comment!

  3. I like historicals and love your description of If Jane Austen & Robert Downey Jr met on the African Queen. That cracks me up!

    1. :) I am smiling reading your comment, Larissa. I have a formal, elegant writing style and when it hit me it is like Jane Austen & RDJ on the Queen it somehow sounded better than "it's old-fashioned". Don't quote me on that! ha! ha! You can download the 1st 3 chapters from Amazon for free to see if it is a voice you would like.

    2. Dear Larissa:
      Enjoyed your comment, would love to send you a novel of your choice, THE PARADOX, THE SERENADE, or THE CONSPIRACY all stand-alone novels. Just email me suzetteholl@gmail.com with Kindle/nook info.
      Congrats on your upcoming publication PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY! I know I will love that one!

  4. Suzette, I enjoyed the interview and excerpt, and the covers are spot-on.
    Best of everything with the series.

    1. Meb, that is so nice of you to take the time to check out my novels, I greatly appreciate that. I especially appreciate the remark on on the covers. My husband, who has an on line web-comic "The Wandering Ones" did the cover for "The Conspiracy" - which is about a cartoonist & a contessa, so it is fitting that he did it! Thank you again.

  5. I've purchased and read all three books and loved every one of them. Great reads, great stories. SJB

    1. My first Fan!! Naturally I must adore you! Thank you, SJB.

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Christine! For a new author it means SO MUCH to have someone take the time to offer encouragement. I didn't know if I would have even one comment. I asked my co-workers to at least show up and say "Get back to work!" but so far haven't seen them on here. :)

  7. Thanks for the interview and excerpt, I love books with a series because they the story gets to continue

    1. I'm with you on that Shannon, I always get frustrated when the story ends just when the hero and heroine are getting together. Are you a writer too?

    2. Dear Shannon:
      Would love to send you a novel of your choice, THE PARADOX, THE SERENADE, or THE CONSPIRACY all stand-alone novels. Just email me suzetteholl@gmail.com with Kindle/nook info. Trying to catch everyone who hasn't contacted me, hope I didn't leave anyone out.
      Thanks again for your comment!

  8. I cannot wait to buy the rest of these books! I am in trouble at work all of the time because I couldn't put down the 1st one! My crochet projects people have ordered have even gotten behind! Sorry to be negative but REALLY she is the best!

    1. OK, there's my co-worker! So touched that she came through for me. And I'm wearing her crochet project in my hair.

  9. Loved the first two books and I cannot wait for the third book to come out in print. Suzie, you are a very talented writer.

    1. Thank you so much!! "The Conspiracy", a World War 2 novel, will be out in print in October. Thank you for reading my historical novels and so happy you enjoyed them. I enjoy travelling in my time machine and writing them :)

  10. Great post. Congratulations on all your success, Suzette! Wishing you many more sales.

    1. Thank you, Cecy! It is a challenge at the beginning finding the readers who would love one's books, especially if one is a little outside the box. Sales are great but finding a fan is much better! :)

  11. I adored your excerpt! Gotta read this book!

    1. Dear Sarah,
      Truly appreciated your comment! Would love to send you a novel of your choice, THE PARADOX, THE SERENADE, or THE CONSPIRACY all stand-alone novels. Just email me suzetteholl@gmail.com with Kindle/nook info. Trying to catch everyone who hasn't contacted me, hope I didn't leave anyone out.

  12. Shhh...just me slipping into the back row and applauding your books with the rest of your fans, Suzette!

    1. ha! ha! Don't forget the extra butter on your popcorn, Genene.

  13. Just curious... these three books are set in differing decades, what is your favorite time period to write about?

    1. Regency is fascinating because it is prior to the Industrial Age, the world was much slower paced. I have often thought that people born into an agricultural nation who lived through the industrial age must have seen the most change of any generation. But I also love the Victorian Age, a very elegant time but with a passion for invention/science and an interest in the psychic realm. And Victorian is Sherlock Holmes' era! Thank you for your great question, Clint.

  14. Congrats, Suzette! Sounds like a fun read. Wishing you much success!

    1. THANK YOU so much, Terri! I do try to write unusual plots, hope they are fun!

  15. I am a faithful fan! Love the Daughters of the Empire series. Having the story continue through the generations is wonderful. I found myself learning quite a bit from each book because something you had written would peak my interest, causing me to stop and do a quick research foray on the internet. Any book that makes me do that is a good book! I am anxiously awaiting your Sherlock Holmes series. Having read the teaser from your website (http://www.suzettehollingsworth.com/Pages/SuzetteHollingsworth-Sherlock.html), I must have more!! When will the first book be available?

  16. A fellow history lover!! You are so kind. I have two Sherlock Holmes novels completed, working on the third. Going to the GSRWA writer's conference in October in Seattle, hoping to sell the series to an agent/publisher then. Fingers crossed! I am very excited about this series, love it, Sherlock is a great hero to write because he is so over the top, such a pompous a_ _ , and unpredictable.
    Thank you for your interest!

  17. Before the evening totally gets away from me, I want to say thank you to Suzette for being my guest!

    I'll let Suzette decide when to draw the winner of a free e-book. But all commenters between now and the end of August will be entered in my contest for a chance to win a $15 Amazon.com gift certificate.

    It's been a fun day!

    1. This was such a fun experience, THANK YOU, Genene.

      There were so many nice comments, I couldn't pick, so I want to give a kindle version, .pdf, or nook version to anyone who posted a comment who would like one (pick one of my 3 novels), THE PARADOX, THE SERENADE, or THE CONSPIRACY. You can email me at suzetteholl@gmail.com with the email contact info I need to send it to you. I am VERY, VERY technologically challenged, so I hope you send me everything I need (e.g., kindle email) and I may have to work with you to make it happen! Please be patient! And thanks again for stopping by!