02-23-19 – Best Selling Author and RTG Alumni: Christy Carlyle

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interview: 2008 GH Finalist Susan Gee Heino, Regency historical

1. Entry Title, category, year: Mistaken By Moonlight, Regency Historical, 2008
Were you the overall Winner that year?  No, but  I won in the Regency Historical category. One week later, it sold in a two-book deal to Berkley Publishing. The title was changed to Mistress By Mistake and that book was released in 2009. Damsel In Disguise was published in 2010, Temptress In Training will be out in July of this year, and Passions and Pretense will be released next April.
I can be contacted through my website, www.SusanGH.com.

2. Why did you decide to enter your manuscript in the GH Contest?I decided to enter the GH that year because I'd sent portions of this manuscript through a few other RWA Chapter contests and it did surprisingly well. I had to really hurry to finish the full manuscript to make the Golden Heart deadline, and I really hated parting with that $50 knowing I wouldn't be getting any feedback, but I thought this time I might take a chance. I don't often gamble, but I'm so glad I did!

3. Where were you and what were you doing when you got the GH call?  When I got the GH call I was literally walking out the door with my family on our way to a Spring Break vacation on Lake Erie. I was so stunned I can barely even remember the phone call. I'd had so little hope of finalling that I hadn't even remembered that was the day calls would be going out. That vacation is kind of a blur, but I do recall that I walked around with a stupid grin for the longest time.

4. How has being a GH Finalist/Winner affected you as a writer?  Being a Golden Heart winner has not changed how I write, or what I write, but it has done a lot to give me confidence to continue writing. What better validation is there than to know you've been ranked among the best of the best by your peers? I think on some level, it is even more precious to me than the contracts I've signed with my dream publisher. I have so much respect for my fellow writers and to be honored by them this way is priceless. When I'm stuck in the middle of a book that seems to be going nowhere, when my characters feel flat and boring, I remind myself that I suffered through all the same doubts and frustrations in that winning (and bestselling!) manuscript. If I managed to pull that off in the end, then surely I can fix this one, too. So I quit whining and keep writing.

The friendships I have built with some of the other GH finalilsts from 2008--the Pixie Chicks--have been life-changing. That is the very best side-effect of finaling, I think; you become a member of a super special kinship. I've learned so much from these wonderful writers! And it has been so much fun to follow each other's careers over the past few years. That is something that will stay with me long after memories of the award ceremony have faded and my pretty golden pendant has tarnished. That is something you get whether you win or simply get to forever call yourself a Golden Heart finalist.


Judith Ashley said...


Your post and comment on being a Golden Heart finalist has lasted longer than your memories of the award ceremony and your excitement at signing contracts is an amazing perspective on the importance of the Golden Heart.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us at Romancing The Genres.

Sarah Raplee said...

Your story is so inspiring! And your career is certainly flourishing since that first sale a week after the GH ceremony. You're a winner in my book!

Tam Linsey said...

The deep friendships GH finalists seem to develop is wonderful. I'm glad to know many of those associations continue on past the initial rush of being a finalist.