Blog Tour: Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson {Author Interview + Giveaway}

Posted 9 September, 2013 by Lori @ Romancing the Dark Side in Author Interviews, Blog Tour, Giveaways / 20 Comments

by Suzanne Johnson

I’m super excited to be hosting a stop on the Elysian Fields Blog Tour! Author Suzanne Johnson took a few moments out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her new release in the awesome Sentinels of New Orleans series, its fierce heroine and all the yummy heroes…there’s also an amazing tour wide giveaway that you don’t want to miss!

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RtDS: I’m super excited to be welcoming urban fantasy author Suzanne Johnson to the blog! **major fangirl moment**

SJ: It’s great to be here, Lori—thank you!!


RtDS: Suzanne, I could sit here and gush about how I love your books but then we’d never get this interview done so let’s get right to it! Name 3 things that would surprise your readers about you.

SJ: 1) I don’t know how surprising this is, but my penchant for the offbeat apparently began early. I recently found a drawing I’d done in art class in the fourth grade, where you outline your hand and then turn it into a turkey. My turkey had an axe hanging out of its neck, blood dripping off of it (in red crayon, of course), and a word bubble that said, “They got me!” I wonder what my teacher thought!

2) I’m allergic to cats, but adore dogs. How I ended up with a heroine who has a cat, I’m not sure. But like DJ, I seem to be stuck with him.

3) I recently took up digital scrapbooking, with the idea that instead of a written journal I’d do daily graphic journal entries and put them on my Pinterest page (which currently has nothing but book covers on it). You know, because I have so much spare time *insert eye-rolling*. Maybe over the holidays….


RtDS: I really love that you made DJ a wizard and not the oh-so popular witch we often see in urban fantasy. She’s flawed and also a bit of a geek girl (fellow Harry Potter fan) which I can totally relate to. Was this always your vision for her?

SJ: It was. I mean, originally, she was going to be a geeky shapeshifter, but I read a piece by fantasy author Terry Pratchett about the “glass ceiling” in writing wizards and decided I wanted my heroine to break through that glass ceiling and be a geeky wizard. I always wanted her to have to work for what she got. So her strongest magic (minus the elven staff) is slow and methodical ritual magic, but she makes up for it by thinking outside the box. One of my favorite DJ moves was when she and Rene Delachaise, the merman, did a ritual to share their powers in River Road. DJ’s not all-powerful, but she is creative and very stubborn. She never gives up.


RtDS: What was your favorite chapter or scene to write in the series so far and why?

SJ: Well, I mentioned the power-share between DJ and Rene in River Road—that’s probably my all-time favorite. In Elysian Fields, I love the section where DJ and her “albatross” visit Jean Lafitte in Old Barataria. That whole series of scenes was such fun to write! Actually, all the interactions between DJ and Rand (Quince Randolph) were fun to write because she genuinely dislikes him, and he’s genuinely obnoxious.


RtDS: DJ has definitely been through an ordeal since the series began. Describe her personality in 140 characters or less.

SJ: Determined, snarky wizard who’s a chaos magnet; works with hot guys; leads with her heart instead of her head.


RtDS: Our lovely heroine DJ has not one but three yummy Alpha males vying for her affection, the undead Pirate Jean Lafitte, the enforcer Alex Warin  and his werewolf cousin, Jake. Who was the hardest personality to develop?

SJ: Ah, that would be our favorite French pirate Jean Lafitte! I do so love Jean. The challenge with him is that it would be so easy to do a Captain Jack Sparrow and turn him into a cartoon character. But I really have wanted to stay true to the historical Jean Lafitte as I’ve come to know him through my research: handsome and charming but dangerous if one gets on his bad side; more than a bit arrogant; extremely smart; practical and yet a dreamer; a complex combination of sincerity and deviousness. And then I want to take that real historical person and put him in a world full of paranormal creatures, in a modern era very different from the one in which he lived from roughly 1780-1825. So he’s the toughest character to write, but also one of my favorites.


RtDS: Do you find it challenging to develop a balance between the dark world of urban fantasy and humor in your books?

SJ: To some degree, especially as the series gets darker. It took a darker step in Elysian Fields, and I expect that trend to continue as the stakes of controlling the preternatural world get higher. The Jake storyline got darker in this book; the political storyline got darker. What keeps the humor in it, though, is DJ herself and how she reacts to situations and other characters. Jean Lafitte and Rene Delachaise, and her interactions with them, add some lightness. She and Rene are like a buddy movie—they’re really funny together. And she’s in this huge mess when she goes to Old Barataria in Elysian Fields, but how could you help but laugh when she comes out of her “toilette” and finds the handsome pirate lounging on the bed?


RtDS: Will DJ ever get some ink of her own? (I had to ask!)

SJ: You mean a tattoo? I keep threatening to do it, but so far she’s resisted. If she does, it will be Rene who talks her into it and Alex who’ll raise the biggest fuss.


RtDS: What are some of your favorite authors or series in the urban fantasy genre?

SJ: I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden series. I think it’s the perfect combination of action and humor. I’m also a fan of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson and Alpha/Omega series and Kim Harrison’s Hollows.


RtDS: What book is currently on your nightstand?

SJ: I’m actually re-reading one of my own books, Omega, the third book in the Penton Legacy series (written as Susannah Sandlin) because I’m writing the fourth book in the series and want to stay in the right voice for those characters and make sure my timeline is consistent. Of course I hate reading my own books because I keep seeing things and thinking, “I wish I could change that” or “What the hell was I smoking when I wrote that?”


RtDS: Without giving away any spoilers…can you give us a little sneak peek into the next book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series?

SJ: Hmmm….Eugenie Dupre’s role is going to grow bigger; there’s going to be another game-changing twist involving Quince Randolph; the vampire storyline is going to heat up; and one has to wonder how Jean Lafitte will respond to the events at the end of Elysian Fields. And let’s not forget there is at least one major prete group that thus far has remained silent and uninvolved: the fae. And I can say no more!

Just for fun:

RtDS: Morning person or total night owl?

SJ: Total morning person, which is bad because I have a full-time day job that pretty much owns me from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., so most of my writing has to be done at night.

RtDS: The Walking Dead or Downton Abbey?

SJ: Ummmm …. “Gator Boys!” I honestly don’t have much TV time anymore, so I only watch things that don’t have continuing storylines for me to follow. From what I’ve read about each of those two shows, though, I’d probably be more likely to watch “The Walking Dead.”

RtDS: Favorite movie/TV witch/wizard?

SJ: Hermione Granger, of course! I loved Hermione in the Harry Potter books, but Emma Watson played the character beautifully in the movies. I still want one of those purses that can hold an entire household. And a room of requirement.

RtDS: What’s your current guilty pleasure?

SJ: Playing with my digital scrapbooking stuff. I know I don’t have time for it, but I do it anyway. I used to quilt and would collect fabric, and this is sort of the digital version of that—collecting digital images and figuring out how to put them together in different ways. At least it doesn’t take up as much space as the fabric!


RtDS: Suzanne, it was truly an honor to have you stop by the blog and chat with you, I had a fabulous time, we must do this again! Congrats on the new release! Xoxo

SJ: Thanks, Lori—I’d come back anytime!

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Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson
Sentinels of New Orleans Series
Book Three

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Date of Publication:  August 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0765333193

Number of pages: 352
Word Count: approx. 102,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen
Book Trailer:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Book Description:

The mer feud has been settled, but life in South Louisiana still has more twists and turns than the muddy Mississippi. New Orleanians are under attack from a copycat killer mimicking the crimes of a 1918 serial murderer known as the Axeman of New Orleans.

Thanks to a tip from the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, DJ Jaco knows the attacks aren’t random–an unknown necromancer has resurrected the original Axeman of New Orleans, and his ultimate target is a certain blonde wizard.

Namely, DJ. Fighting off an undead serial killer as troubles pile up around her isn’t easy. Jake Warin’s loup-garou nature is spiraling downward, enigmatic neighbor Quince Randolph is acting weirder than ever, the Elders are insisting on lessons in elven magic from the world’s most annoying wizard, and former partner Alex

Warin just turned up on DJ’s to-do list. Not to mention big maneuvers are afoot in the halls of preternatural power.

Suddenly, moving to the Beyond as Jean Lafitte’s pirate wench? It could be DJ’s best option.


River Road by Suzanne Johnson
Sentinels of New Orleans Book Two

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765327802
ASIN: B00842H5VI

Number of pages: 336
Word Count: approx. 92,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description:

Hurricane Katrina is long gone, but the preternatural storm rages on in New Orleans. New species from the Beyond moved into Louisiana after the hurricane destroyed the borders between worlds, and it falls to wizard sentinel Drusilla Jaco and her partner, Alex Warin, to keep the preternaturals peaceful and the humans unaware. But a war is brewing between two clans of Cajun merpeople in Plaquemines Parish, and down in the swamp, DJ learns, there’s more stirring than angry mermen and the threat of a were-gator.

Wizards are dying, and something—or someone—from the Beyond is poisoning the waters of the mighty Mississippi, threatening the humans who live and work along the river. DJ and Alex must figure out what unearthly source is contaminating the water and who—or what—is killing the wizards. Is it a malcontented merman, the naughty nymph, or some other critter altogether? After all, DJ’s undead suitor, the pirate Jean Lafitte, knows his way around a body or two.

It’s anything but smooth sailing on the bayou as the Sentinels of New Orleans series continues.


Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
Sentinels of New Orleans Book One

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books

ISBN: 978-0765327796
ASIN: B006OM459U

Number of pages: 337
Word Count: approx. 94,000

Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

Book Description:
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter roux.

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Giveaway provided by author via Bewitching Book Tours

Tour Wide Giveaway

1 iPad 2 open internationally

5 -$20 gift cards to winners’ online retailer of choice open internationally


a Rafflecopter giveaway


About Suzanne Johnson

On Aug. 28, 2005, Suzanne Johnson loaded two dogs, a cat, a friend, and her mom into a car and fled New Orleans in the hours before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Four years later, she began weaving her experiences and love for her city into the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series, beginning with Royal Street (2012), continuing with River Road (2012), and now with Elysian Fields (August 2013).

She grew up in rural Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis’ birthplace, and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years—which means she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

She can be found online at her website or her daily blog, Preternatura. As Susannah Sandlin, she writes the best-selling Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series and the recent standalone, Storm Force.

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20 Responses to “Blog Tour: Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson {Author Interview + Giveaway}”

  1. Roger Simmons

    Thanks for the interview with Suzanne. Always interesting Q&A. Elysian Fields is a great read. Now we wait for book four. Team D.J..

  2. Rebe

    I always wonder if wizards have magical tattoos. If DJ got one, would it be magical? Would it be for protection or special powers?

  3. ^^ i’m not really at ease with the idea of the fae becoming involved…. i don’t know why i don’t have the impression they are friendly^^

    i did love the scene after her ” toilette”^^ and i want to see Jean revenge^^ ( and rene interaction with DJ^^)

    thank you for this wonderful adventure

  4. Stephanie

    I love the series. The elements of true stories and paranormal make it so much fun. The romantic tension between DJ and all her leading men is one of my favorite things. I agree Rand is very obnoxious but I do love Rene. Jean will always have my heart though. 🙂

    • RomancingtheDarkside

      I’m torn between Jean Lafitte and Alex, oh who am I kidding…they’re all yummy! 😉

  5. Eva Millien

    Thanks for sharing the great interview and the giveaway. I love the way you described DJ. Her to a T! evamillien at gmail dot com

  6. Barbara Elness

    I loved the interview. It’s always fun to learn a little bit more about the series and Suzanne that I didn’t know before. 😀

  7. Liz S

    I love the idea of digital scrap booking as a journal. I like to do paper scrapbooks and themed digital photo albums as gifts. Looking forward to DJ’s next adventures!

  8. BookLady

    Great interview! I enjoy learning about an author, especially when we have something in common. Like Suzanne I also am a quilter and fabric collector.

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