Tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests in general.
I was born in Long Beach, CA, and spent most of my life in northern California. I met my husband of nineteen years through correspondence (in the days before the Internet), when we were both involved in a science fiction author's fan group. We conducted a long-distance courtship between Canada and California, and I finally moved to Canada as a landed immigrant. I spent three years there, grew homesick for the U.S., and we moved back to California. Four years ago, after doing research on the Southwest, I fell in love with New Mexico and we moved to Albuquerque. Our house has lots of raised beds for flowers, a desert hillside, and open space behind it. It's paradise for a writer.
I started writing for professional publication in 1992, and my first book, Prince of Wolves, was published in 1994. Since then I've written twelve romance novels (paranormal/fantasy), one fantasy novel (the recently published Shield of the Sky) and five novellas/short stories. My thirteenth romance, To Tame a Wolf, featuring one of my romantic werewolf heroes, will be out in May of this year. I'm currently writing the sequel to Shield of the Sky.
In addition to writing, I love dogs (especially mine), animals in general, nature, gardening, many kinds of music, making jewelry out of handmade beads (purchased from fine artists), reading (especially mysteries and science fiction) and good old movies.
What drew you to the Beauty and the Beast TV series, and why did you/do you feel the need to express yourself in B&B art? Had you worked with art before being involved with Beauty and the Beast or did your artwork develop from it?
Obviously I love romantic stories, especially those laced with fantasy elements. B&B fulfilled both those requirements, plus I loved Linda Hamilton. Fandom gave me a chance to illustrate the characters I was so fond of... especially since, at the time, I hadn't yet gained enough confidence to try my hand seriously at writing. I had attended the California College of Arts and Crafts and graduated with a BFA, so I was already an artist... in fact, I'd hoped to become a professional cover illustrator. That, unfortunately, didn't work out, so my B&B work let me continue with my art while working at other jobs. Eventually I wrote one story, "The Third Wish," for a fanzine I helped produce... and that was the beginning of a whole new endeavor ...
How did B&B affect your life?
In a very major way... it led me to becoming a professional, published writer. The sister of a friend, who'd been published in several genres, read "The Third Wish" and suggested I try writing a romance novel. Since I was between jobs at the time, I sat down and wrote my first novel... Prince of Wolves. I didn't really know what I was doing, but when my friend read it she was quite excited and "mentored" me through the process. I sent the book off to a publisher, who rejected it (because they didn't publish contemporary paranormal romances at that time.) The second publisher, Bantam Books, bought the book as part of a three-book contract. That was the beginning of my writing career, and I truly do owe it all to B&B!
Which of your B&B works do you like best, and why? If you were forced to pick one of your art works as a favorite, what would it be?
I haven't looked at my artwork all together for some time, so it was fun remembering what I'd done years ago. (Some of the art I wince at, but so it goes!) My favorite pieces are: Catherine & Vincent in his Chamber from Sweet Sleep Of Night (in the adult section); Vincent and Lion from Embrace The Night; Catherine and Lioness from She Walks In Beauty; Dragon and Unicorn from Forever And Always 3; The Kiss from Sweet Sleep Of Night; Catherine with Roses from Within The Silver Mirror; and Catherine and her Daughter from Threshold To Dreams 2. Probably my absolute favorite is "Catherine and Lioness" from She Walks In Beauty.
How long have you been drawing/painting/sculpting, etc? If you started when you were a child/teenager, do you still have some of your work from that time? Did you share it with your friends then?
I did start drawing as a very young child, and always considered myself to be an artist. I just assumed that was what I'd eventually be doing for a living... but I lucked out and found something I was even more suited for.
My Mom did keep some of my old artwork, but for the most part I did it for myself, just as I occasionally wrote stories for myself.
Who most influenced and/or encouraged your talent? What training have you had for techniques in art, and where, if it was formal training - or are you self-taught, working from instinct?
I'm not sure I had any specific source of encouragement... it was more an internal drive when I was doing B&B artwork. As I said earlier, I attended art school, but most of my technique was self-taught (and I still had a long way to go!)
How do you choose the subject of your art? What inspires the composition of the drawing, the choice of making a face portrait or a full body picture, the need to include Catherine, the positions of bodies. What do you imagine first - the content of the work or the emotion you want it to convey? Tell us a bit about all this.
I especially enjoy the human form and faces, so that was what I usually focused on. Since I was frequently working in pen, my drawings are often stylized. Since I very much enjoyed drawing Catherine, I tried to include her as much as possible. For me, the attraction of B&B was the relationship rather than just Vincent. Many of my pictures involve embraces, the physical sharing of intimacy. I suppose my first consideration was conveying emotion, just as it is now in my written works.
Did you create your B&B art from scratch, or find inspiration in photographs, video scans and such? Or both?
I always used photographs for reference, and sometimes from video scans for specific expressions on the characters' faces. I spent quite a bit of time going through magazines clipping photos for future drawings.
Was there a subject in the B&B universe you especially love to draw? and something you especially find difficult to draw?
I loved doing Catherine, as I mentioned above, and I also enjoyed fanciful pictures like the "Dragon and Unicorn" painting from Forever And Always 3. I did a number of pictures for sale at B&B conventions that featured Catherine and Vincent in historical costume. I liked to "take them out of context." Since I wasn't particularly fond of doing architecture and the like, I most often featured the figures by themselves, or with natural landscapes or objects.
Have you or do you presently produce work for any other fandoms besides B&B? Are you or have you been involved with any other fandoms in the same way?
My writing contracts keep me so busy that I haven't had time to do artwork for myself or any fandom. In fact, I haven't really been involved in fandom since B&B. I have occasionally been tempted, but the reality is that I just don't have the time. Two books a year is a full-time job!
Do you use your artistic talents professionally or wish to? Do you have any current projects you'd like to share with us?
I haven't seriously drawn or painted in close to ten years, and I often miss it. Several times I've started a project for myself only to find that I haven't time to finish it. I hope that eventually my schedule will allow me to return to art, specifically watercolor painting, which is my favorite medium.
Do you want to say anything else to the readers of this interview about yourself, B&B, the art, or the fandom?
I'm grateful for the good times I had as a part of fandom, and for the important role B&B played in my finding the career I'd been waiting for. If you're interest in learning more about me or my books, please visit www.susankrinard.com.Winterfest Online, January 2005.
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