5-18 Powell's City of Books, World's Largest Indie Bookstore by Judith Ashley and Sarah Raplee

Saturday, June 9, 2018


Hi, I'm Sue Ward Drake. 

I’ve been a writer all my life. A column for my high school paper. Travel journals. Poetry (published when newspapers published poetry). Advertising copy. I cut my reader’s teeth on Nancy Drew mysteries and early adventure stories that were in my school library. Eventually, I moved on to Helen MacInnes who held her own with the male post-WWII, Cold-War thriller writers—and she wrote romantic suspense.

After joining RWA and beginning to read the longer contemporaries with suspense elements, I wrote and rewrote a few manuscripts, selling the third one, I think. My first published romance follows both the mystery and the thriller genre models.

For someone who doesn’t like roller coasters and who used to give herself nightmares just by looking at paint spatters on her bedroom window, I’m surprised the suspense is actually easier to write than the romance, though I’m fascinated by what makes people tick, romantic couple-type people. For the suspense, I usually have to go over and over a scene to produce the proper edge-of-the-seat tension.

The most difficult aspect is getting the romance and the suspense to coalesce into a unit so one can’t be separated from the other.

I am currently working on more romantic suspense stories. My re-released first romantic suspense, HEAR NO EVIL, has plenty of suspense and a MacGuffin. And then of course, there is romance. I find having to juggle two or three elements fascinating and the most fun way to spend my writing time.

For Molly Light, painting is her path out of a silent, solitary world. Now her talent is awarded with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to paint under the blue skies of the Mediterranean. Her journey to Greece with the brooding, enigmatic stranger who awarded her the prize, plunges her into the terrifying world of international intrigue from which there seems no escape. Nor can she escape the suspicion in this man’s eyes whenever he looks at her—or the overpowering desire his every touch arouses.

Bent on revenge for the brutal torture he’d once endured, Stefanos Metadorakis believes Molly is sharing secret military plans with a U.S. enemy. His instructions are to accompany her to Greece, watch her every movement—and mood—not fall in lust with her. But he’s inexplicably drawn to Molly, and it’s not long before their passions explode. As distrust mixes with desire, dangerous forces are closing in, their sights set on Molly. Can the lovers forget the past and learn to trust each other enough to survive? 

With a childhood spent in a house full of dark windows in every room, Sue Ward Drake developed a vivid imagination for spooky happenings. Her sometimes undependable hearing gave her a chance to imagine the worst, and she grew fond of suspenseful tales. After a lifetime traveling the globe including a year in Spain, nearly that long on a Greek island, and over thirty-four years in New Orleans, she now happily resides in Nevada with her husband of thirty-nine years within minutes of the mountains and no more than three hours from the sea.

Sue will be speaking at Emerald City Writers Conference in Bellevue, WA October 25 - 28, 2018 on disabled characters and how to frame and write emotion. Please visit her at: or on Twitter at @SueWardDrake.


Judith Ashley said...

Sue, Thanks for being our guest this weekend. How wonderful to have lived on a Greek Island and done so much international travel. Looking forward to seeing you at Emerald City in October.

Deb Noone said...

Sue, I love your description of your book, it is vivid, sensuous, and bone-chilling all rolled into one. I wish I remembered my visits to Greece, but alas, I was a toddler. So I live vicariously through your wonderful book, and can't wait for the next one!

SusanD said...

Thanks, Deb, for being so inspired by my story. I hope to have a short story with Stefanos and Molly out soon and maybe a novella with Nikos. I am amazed at how much I remember about living there, but I believe that's partly due to recalling details in order to include locations and feelings in HEAR NO EVIL. I am trying to create new adventures before the aging process gets much farther along, and I think it's time you put a trip to Greece on your bucket list. And as for adventures, you live on the Maine coast. How can that not be adventurous? :)

Sarah Raplee said...

I've always wanted to visit Greece, Sue! Reading about Molly and Stefanos in Greece sounds like just what I need!

SusanD said...

Thanks, Sarah. Hope you enjoy the story--and the setting. I used a lot of my own experiences living one summer on a small Greek island.

Barbara Rae Robinson said...

I loved your story, Sue. Greece is one place I've always wanted to go. A Greek island home is my fantasy.