Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Interview with Thyra Dane

Thyra was my second interview. We will both have stories in the winter historical anthology published by the New Romance Cafe, Kisses and Other Scandalous Pastimes.

Thank you for being a part of my journey as a writer and interviewer. I hope someday to meet in person.

Today I have the luxury of visiting with a new writer friend, Thyra Dane. Some may recognize her name from her years of writing fanfiction. Welcome to the Creekside Café, Thyra. It’s almost fifty degrees here, I imagine our North Carolina winter seems more like spring to you.

view from Thyra’s cabin

Thyra: Yes, I was born in Denmark and grew up just south of Copenhagen. We traveled a lot when I was a kid. When I was 18 I moved to California and then to Norway when I was 19. I met my husband in Norway and live in Oslo now.

Thyra: Thank you so much for having me here, too bad it is only by way of our computers.

Sherri: What would you like to drink today?

Thyra: Tea, tea and tea. I drink different kinds of tea at different times of the day. High on caffeine in the morning, no caffeine in the evening. Right now I’ll take tea with ginger. Yum. And just to be clear, to those of us who live in cold climates, tea is always hot. I’m not yet quite over the shock of people serving me iced tea when I ordered tea in North Carolina.

Sherri: I have a terrible secret that could get me tossed out of the south. I don’t like iced tea, sweet or otherwise. You’ve been to North Carolina before?

Thyra: I have. Several times, actually. One time I drove down the coast from Washington DC to Florida with my husband and two friends. Later I visited my good friend, author Suki McMinn, in Tryon. She and her husband opened their home to me and my family, which was incredibly nice. That last trip was part of a vacation where we visited nine southern states in one summer.

Sherri: Wow that gave you a lot to write about. How long have you been writing?

Thyra: I’ve been writing for a long time but it wasn’t until I found fanfiction that I realized that romance was my genre.

Sherri: I’m not familiar with fanfiction.

Thyra: Fanfiction is huge and is essentially about taking characters from books, movies, TV shows etcetera and playing with them.

50 Shades was originally a Twilight fanfiction named Master of the Universe and one of the most popular fanfictions. It’s the same place I published my fanfiction.

We were a great writer’s group. We encouraged each other and quite a few have branched out and become published authors. Suki McMinn and others have done very well by self-publishing, which is very encouraging.

Sherri: Have you published a novel yet?

Thyra: I did have a nibble with a publisher but they went out of business just as I was finishing my story. They wanted a Viking romance and I did write one, but I wasn’t pleased with it so it was probably just the same that it was never published. I am planning on writing a Viking series about three sisters. I have the titles ready: The ShieldmaidenThe Healer and The Wife. I also have the stories outlined but I always stumble over some historical details. I LOVE the Viking age and don’t want to mess up on historical facts. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible not to since we know so little about the Vikings.

Sherri: Write the stories. Continue to research but don’t let the details hold you back. I believe we often let our fears cripple us. As we’ve been emailing back and forth for this interview, I have enjoyed your sense of humor.

Thyra: I’ve been reading a lot of romance and I feel that this is what has made me a better writer. I have found my voice, so to speak, and know that I need to write stories with a dash of humor or it just won’t work for me. This is why most of what I’m writing these days is contemporary romance.

Sherri: Do you have another job or do you write full time?

Thyra: I am the manager of a PR agency that does PR and marketing for schools for young adults. I love my job and I love writing. What I don’t love is the fact that the day only has 24 hours and a week only has 7 days. I need moooore time.

Sherri: Don’t we all. I work full time, write and chair my local writers’ group, plus have a very large family, six sons and nineteen grandchildren. Some days feel like there is no end and others need another twelve hours just so I can finish what needs to be done.

Thyra: Wow, 19 grandchildren! That must be a lot of fun!

I have two kids, one is 17 and one is 19. The oldest is away for school and is actually leaving for a school trip to Japan tomorrow. My husband and I met each other when I was 19 and he was 20. We’ve been married for 29 years now.

Sherri: What do you enjoy about writing?

Thyra: I love creating characters and making them do fun things. I love the creative outlet, I love thinking about my characters, trying to solve a difficult situation and suddenly having a great idea. Unfortunately, my great ideas usually come just as I’m closing my eyes and going to sleep.

Sherri: What do you feel are your writing strengths and weaknesses?

Thyra: I would like to think that my humor is my strength and, of course, that I have inside knowledge to Scandinavia. My weakness is procrastination.

Sherri: Who are your favorite authors/genres?

Thyra: I have a lot of favorite authors. I love Suki McMinn’s books and also authors like Laura Kinsale, Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas, L.H. Cosway, Mhairi McFarlane and Roni Loren. I read all subgenres in romance and the only thing I look for is quality writing and well written characters. Historical, contemporary, urban fiction and even alien romance – I’ll read anything as long as the story is good.

Sherri: Would you like to tell everyone how we met?

Thyra: We met through The New Romance Café (Facebook Group) and through the anthology project we’re both participating in. I’m very excited about that book project because I finally managed to finish a story. I’m terrible at beginning new stories instead of actually finishing some of the many I’ve started over the years. I guess, I needed the deadline.

I have an old blog that was very popular (over a million readers of one of the blog posts) but it doesn’t fit my writing now. It was for my fanfiction. So I’m currently moving the best parts to a new blog I’m currently creating: I hope to have it up and running in a few weeks.

Sherri: Thanks, Thyra for visiting with me today. I’m looking forward to reading your story in our spring romance anthology, Love in Bloom. The anthology is due out in March 2019. The proceeds will go to Pink Ribbon International. 

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Creekside Cafe Interview with Suki McMinn

Sherri: Welcome to Creekside Café, Suki McMinn. Let me introduce you to my friends and readers.

Suki: Thank you so much for inviting me to your cafe. I really enjoyed your chat with Thyra Dane. You know, she and I go way back. When I was a brand-new writer, we wrote fanfiction in the same fandom and became great friends online before she came to see me in person. We even hosted a fanfiction contest together. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at her short story in the anthology, and it’s a real treat. Her style is so fresh and funny and sexy, all at the same time.

Sherri: I’m looking forward to reading all of the stories. I have to say, I’m excited about the project. For those of you who haven’t heard Suki, Thyra, along with several other international writers will have stories featured in an upcoming anthology.

Suki: This is the first time I’ve contributed to an anthology, and it feels great to be on a team of authors. I was impressed with the New Romance Cafe group and loved that we wanted to donate the book’s proceeds to Pink Ribbon International. I’m a breast cancer survivor, so it’s a cause near and dear to my heart (quite literally!). A routine 3D mammogram saved my life in 2017.

Sherri: While I haven’t experienced cancer first-hand, I have friends and loved ones who have. It feels good to be able to do something good with our talents.

Suki: I can’t wait to read the stories in our anthology, “Love in Bloom,” as well as the summer book, “Hot Summer Nights.” We have such a diverse group of authors from all over the world writing in different sub-genres. It’s going to make an interesting collection. I set my paranormal romance in the fictional town of Hogback where my cozy mystery series takes place, but I steamed it up quite a bit since it’s a romance. All the stories in our book have the theme “spring” in common, and mine is called “The Iris.”

Sherri: It was so cool to learn you are not only familiar with eastern North Carolina but a Carolina girl as well.

Suki:  I am! It’s my favorite place in the world. And did you know North Carolina is known as “the writingest state?”

My newest book, “The Vampire of Waller County?” is set in North Carolina. It’s actually the first book in my new series of novelettes (the Hogback Series). Book 2, ”Christmas in Waller County,” is out now as well.

Sherri: They sound like a lot of fun. Tell us a little about your series.

Suki: I call it a cozy vampire mystery series with sweet romance and humor. (I might have made that genre up. Ha!) My main character is 18, so it could also be considered New Adult. My artist brother, Corey McNabb, painted the artwork and designed the covers, which I love. I set the series in Hogback, a tiny fictional North Carolina town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s just like Tryon but with more biting.

Sherri: Tyron is your home, now?

Suki: I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, but spent 27 years living in Los Angeles. I returned to North Carolina—to the tiny town of Tryon, where I lived for four years before my husband’s job took us to Phoenix, Arizona. Now I spend my summers in Tryon and the rest of my time in Phoenix.

Suki’s cottage in Tryon, North Carolina

Sherri: You were a model and actress in LA? Seeing your picture, I can see why you, you are lovely. You have a great smile. 

Suki/Susan during her modeling days

Suki: Thank you! It was an interesting profession, and now I write about it. My first novel, “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” is a paranormal romance set in L.A.’s modeling world.

Sherri: Have you ever been to eastern North Carolina?

Suki: Yes! Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, we spent many of our summer vacations at the beaches of North and South Carolina. My grandparents bought a little house in Bolivia, North Carolina, right on the intercoastal waterway. We called it the “Little Sandy Beach House” because there was a tiny patch of sand at the end of the street where the water met the land and made a perfect private beach. On Saturday nights, we played bingo in the community building, and that was about as wild as it got around there. I sure do miss it. If I had my druthers, I’d have a little house in the mountains and a little house on the coast.

Sherri: My home is north of that area, along the Pamlico Sound, though my oldest son and his family live near Bolivia.

Do you write full-time or do you hold down another job as well as write?

Suki: I write full time. I retired from my on-camera career when I left Los Angeles.

Sherri: How long have you been writing?

Suki: I started writing ten years ago at the age of 49 and fell in love with it. I lived in Los Angeles at the time and wondered what was next for me after working for nearly three decades as a model and commercial actor. My husband and I left L.A. two years later and moved to Tryon. When new friends asked what I did, I said, “I’m a writer,” because that’s what I wanted to be. Then I made it so.

Sherri: I admire your confidence, it took me years to be able to call myself a writer.

Are your books Indie published or traditional or hybrid?

Suki: Hybrid. My first book, “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” had a publisher, but it went out of business a week after my book came out. I’d just ordered the cake for my launch party and invited the whole town of Tryon in a press release, so I gave myself a quick and dirty education in self-publishing and got the book back out in its second edition just in time to pop the champagne. Then I self-published more books, but I continue to look for publishers for some of my books. I write both fiction and nonfiction. I write nonfiction as Susan McNabb.

Sherri: Some days I love being a writer and other days I want to bang my head against the wall. What do you enjoy about writing?

Suki: I love “losing time” as I get immersed in telling a story. There’s really nothing better except maybe strutting down a runway, but I don’t do that anymore.

Sherri: Is there anything you despise about writing?

Suki: The technical stuff. I can spend hours trying to figure out how to place page numbers correctly on a draft. I once deleted the table of contents from a book because one chapter heading was indented more than the others, and I didn’t know why. Those things aren’t in my natural skill set, and they drive me crazy

Sherri: I’m right there with you one that one. I ask my sons or grandsons to help me on the computer and they go bip, bip, bip, okay, it’s done. I’m like, hey wait a minute, you hit what button to get you where?

Sherri: What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?

Suki:  I’m not sure if it’s a strength or weakness, but like many writers, I’m often plagued with self-doubt. My path to being a published author is littered with corpses of finished and unfinished books. They might be brilliant or horrible, but I can’t tell which.

Sherri: Yes, those brilliant ideas that fizzled out somewhere in the middle of the story. But the fact that you went on to write three books says it all. I believe we as authors have to find our voice. Sometimes we have to experiment and see what doesn’t work in order to discover what does.

What type of books do you read? Who are your favorite authors?

Suki My favorite author is Jane Austen. I have an English Literature degree so have enjoyed a fair number of the classics, but I also appreciate many other kinds of writing. I read fiction and nonfiction and only wish there were more hours in the day to read. I love book clubs because they introduce me to authors and genres I might have missed.

Sherri: As we mentioned earlier, Suki and I met in the Facebook group, The New Romance Café.

Suki: And are now bound by an anthology of romantic short stories called “Love in Bloom.” I noticed we had friends in common among our North Carolina authors. It’s a small world.

Sherri: It is interesting that two of us in “Love in Bloom” are from North Carolina when there are authors from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Norway, and several states in the US.

Before we go, give us a little insight into you as a person and as a writer.

Suki: I had no idea writing could be so rewarding or I would have started much sooner. Now, I make it a point to encourage new writers. It can be a hobby or a profession, and you can start at any point in your life. I also advise new writers to join writers’ groups. Writing is such a solitary activity, and sharing experiences with other writers is crucial. I’ve learned so much from other writers in the ten years I’ve been writing, and there is still so much to learn. When I moved to North Carolina, I joined the North Carolina Writers’ Network. When I got to Phoenix, I joined the Desert Rose, a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. If you can’t find a group you like, start one like we did with Tryon Writers. Reach out and make new friends in the writing world. You won’t regret it.

Sherri: I agree, I love my writers’ groups. I believe it is important to have a supportive local group like the Pamlico Writers’ Group and the Heart of Carolina. But having the resources of a national and international group like the Romance Writers of America has allowed me to take online classes and participate in contests, workshops and other events I would not have known about otherwise.

Part of the reason I started this blog was to connect with people who share my passion for books and writing.

I hope you have enjoyed my chat with author Suki McMinn. For more information on Suki, check out her website If you are interested in her non-fiction work, you can find her as Susan McNabb, at (

Here is the list of Suki’s fiction books:

Drop Dead Gorgeous

Christmas in Waller County

The Vampire of Waller County