Spotlight on Susan Varno

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Susan Varno. Today, Susan shares her creative journey and debut novel, A Rebel and Her Rogue.

When I was eleven years old, I saw Walt Disney’s PETER PAN at our neighborhood movie theater. On her adventure in Neverland, Wendy learned you have to get taller and older, but you never have to give up make-believe. And so I never have.

In college I started to major in Creative Writing but realized I didn’t know what I wanted to write. A degree in Political Science from American University in Washington D. C. led to three years of teaching 7th graders.

Back home in Chicago, I married the quintessential bad boy who I tamed without meaning to. We had two sons. Staying home to raise these little darlings gave me a good deal of free time, especially when they went off to school. Then I realized all my Wendy fantasies were romances. I wrote and published romantic short stories and personal experience humor.

Over the years I’ve had a variety of jobs. The most satisfying was running the local office of an Illinois State Representative. Much of my time was spent helping constituents who had problems with various aspects of state government. I heard many stories; poignant, desperate, sometimes funny, and none of which I’m allowed to repeat. During that time I tried writing contemporary romance novels but had no success.

Instead, I concentrated on writing pieces I had a better chance of publishing. For twenty-five years, I wrote columns and reviews for Video Views Magazine. After my husband and I retired to the Arkansas Ozarks, I published over 450 articles in magazines and newspapers about the people, culture, and history of the Ozarks.

My husband died three years ago. I miss my hero every day. I moved back to Illinois where I joined Windy City RWA. Their members inspired me to try a romance novel. The market had changed. There are many smaller publishers. Amazon and Facebook make self promoting easier though more competitive.

Historicals have always been my favorite genre. What intrigues me most is how women with courage and ingenuity establish power in a male dominated world. Last year Debbie Gilbert at Soul Mate Publishing accepted my Regency novel A REBEL AND HER ROGUE. I’ve just completed the second book in my series The Shady Side of the Law with POSING AS A PRINCESS.


His secret death wish, her reckless behavior. After Blake thwarts Cassie’s scheme to rob him, he wants to marry the diabolical damsel. Can these two hell raisers tame each other?

Condensed Excerpt

Cassie waited in the library to speak with Blake. Did he think his delay would throw her into a terrified tizzy? She would “tizzy” for no man.

The door flew open. Blake kicked it shut behind him. “I apologize for my behavior yesterday.”

“I understand.” She twisted her fingers together. “You needed to know what I was up to.” Cassie couldn’t bear to look at him. He was the most striking man she’d ever seen. Power defined his every move.

“I let the masquerade go on too long,” he said. “I enjoyed playing the highwayman.”

She stared at her tightly clasped fingers. “Last night, I told your mother I will return home as soon as possible.”

“You can’t leave. You came to see if we suit each other.”

He strode toward her. Yesterday, his nearness excited her. Today, he was crowding her.

Cassie looked into his intense blue eyes. “Sir, I intended to rob you of six hundred pounds.”

He grinned. “That was your original plan. When you believed I was the highwayman Dangerous Dan Durgan, you wanted us to run off to Australia together. That was just before you invited me to kiss you.”

This man enjoyed making sport of her. Unlike yesterday, she would not let his needle pricks unhinge her.

“You missed my meaning. I long for the freedom of a highwayman. Those were fanciful thoughts. Not to mention, at the time I believed you were an outlaw. A far more respectable occupation than full time rogue.” Too late to bite back her words, and she had promised herself to be civil.

He blew out his breath. “I am going about this all wrong. Let me try anew. I would consider marrying you.”

A frisson of panic streaked through her. “Why would you want to marry me?”

Slowly, he eyed her body, down and back up with pauses at her hips and bosom. She felt like a heifer at a Market Day auction.

Inside her head she yelled, Stop talking and start smiling. He said he might marry me. However, she was Cassiopeia Valient, incapable of holding her tongue. Why couldn’t she force herself to be meek, charming, and gracious? The last two, she could manage. Being “meek” tripped her up.

In this battle of wills and won’ts, she pressed home her slim advantage. “Are you in love with me?”

He looked startled. “Madam, I hardly know you.”

Blake falling on his knees and admitting he’d fallen in love at first sight was too much to expect.

Cassie thrust again. “If we marry, you will let me do whatever I want?”

His grin turned into a leering smile. “Of course not. What excitement we’ll have. Screams, doors slammed, a little wrestling. Followed by…”

She could guess the rest of his thoughts. He expects to spend his life stirring me to explode. His bizarre proposal arrives at the moment I’ve vowed to abandon my reckless ways.

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