What’s the difference between how a reader and a writer experience a story?
This is an important question for me as a writer, because if I can understand the reader experience and what they enjoy about my stories, I can keep delivering it!
I thought readers might also be curious about the how writers experience a story, too.
So, I’ve recruited one of my readers to compare notes with me on the Rhythms of Redemption Romances. We’ve come up with a series of questions below and will be answering separately before we compare notes. In the questions, you’ll notice that instead of talking about reading or writing, I’ll be calling it “experiencing,” since even though we came from different angles, we did both experience the stories 😊
Tawni Suchy, my guest today, is a bookstagrammer and a writer in her own right. You can find her on Instagram @AuthorTawniSuchy and @tawnisbookshelf and TikTok at @TawniSuchy and @tawnisbookshelf. Or check out her swoony, faith-filled novels Secrets, Lies, and Deadly Ties and When Forever Comes.
Emily Conrad (EC): Welcome to Inspy Romance, Tawni! Thanks for helping me with this idea!
Tawni Suchy (TS): Thank you for having me!
How would you describe the series to someone who hasn’t read it?
EC: It’s a series of romances set in small-town northern Wisconsin. Each book follows one member of a rock band as he falls in love, but that’s never as easy as it sounds. Finding happily ever after means facing the wounds of the past and digging deep into faith.
TS: A band on a mission of love, faith, and redemption, experiencing God’s grace and showing others how to do the same.
EC: I like her answer better. Let’s go with that 😊
What about the Rhythms of Redemption motivated you to continue with the series?
EC: I fell in love with exploring a story world that offered both a fun escape—hello, rock stars!—and a chance to dig into meaty questions about forgiveness, redemption, and God’s love for us.
TS: At first it was because I loved Adeline and Gannon so much that I wanted to see them some more! But the more I read, the more I enjoyed learning about the other band members and seeing their growth and the blossoming love.
Which character do you identify with the most?
EC: I started out really identifying with Adeline from To Bring You Back as far as her questions about grace and forgiveness. These days, I see a lot of myself in the recovering people-pleaser Lina from To Believe in You (although, sadly, I’m not an heiress…)
TS: Probably Adeline. She struggled so much with grace and forgiving herself which is something I struggle with in life’s day to day.
How long did the series take you?
EC: I started writing it in 2017 and finished in 2021, but I did write a couple of other short novels in there. So let’s say 4 years.
TS: Each book took me between 4 days and a week to read.
What order did you experience the books in?
EC: In order with one exception: I wrote the novella that comes between books one and two after writing book two. A conversation between Gannon and John (the heroes of the first two books) about the Christmas that occurred between their stories got me curious about what exactly happened over the holiday. The novella answers that.
TS: In order from To Bring You Back, An Awestruck Christmas Medley, To Belong Together, To Begin Again, and To Believe in You
What (if anything) about the series took you by surprise?
EC: When I wrote To Bring You Back, the first book in the series, I had no plans to write a redemption story for Matt. Now, his character’s journey, which spans the books, is one of my favorite parts of the series.
TS: One word: Matt
How many times have you read the books?
EC: I don’t know, exactly, but finalizing the story usually involves at least three times through to make sure I’ve smoothed out any inconsistencies, typos, and the like. That’s in addition to writing it and the earlier editing passes.
TS: Just once, but it was just this year and I plan on re-reading them probably next year!
What moment (if any) made you tear up?
EC: I don’t tear up easily, so only one scene got me: a character was writing a eulogy for her father.
TS: Several of Gannon’s lines, some of Erin’s scenes with her dad, and the very end of To Believe in You—bitter sweet tears because the ending was perfect but I didn’t want to let the characters go.
Have you put thought into what the characters’ lives might be like after the end of the series?
EC: Yup. The thing is, I don’t share about it because I imagine the problems they’d likely run into and no one wants to hear about struggles during the happily-ever-after. And it’s not that I want them to suffer! It’s just that life is never perfect, and whatever they face, God is faithful.
Which book in the series is your favorite?
EC: I’ve loved them all for their own reasons, but when I finished it and started hearing feedback, I was pretty sure To Believe in You was something special. I’m grateful the Lord led the series that direction.
TS: Can I say 2? Lol I love To Bring You Back for a completely different reason than To Believe in You but if I HAD to choose, I’d say To Bring You Back by a VERY fine margin.
Which character did you love to hate?
EC: I think I’ll have to go with Lina’s ex in To Believe in You. Want to know something funny? I’ve forgotten his name… Shane! (Had to look it up… #authorfail )
What sticks with you from the series?
EC: In the third book, To Begin Again, the characters sing “Amazing Grace,” so when I was coming up with a tag line to go with the book, I eventually landed on “May grace amaze you.” I think that’s an overarching theme of the series, so that sticks with me.
TS: The amount of faith and growth each of the characters experienced. And again, Matt.
Do you hope to reread any of the stories?
EC: I intend to make the whole series audiobooks. I’ve only done To Bring You Back so far, so I hope to reread all the others for that. I’m looking forward to it!
TS: Yes, all of them!
Do the cover models line up with how you imagine the characters?
EC: I love all the covers, but it’s so hard to find pictures of people who match what I envisioned! Still, I think the models for Gannon (the book 1 hero), Erin (the book 2 heroine), and Michaela (the book 3 heroine) are great matches for the characters!
TS: Pretty well, yes.
If you could experience one scene again for the first time, which one would you pick?
EC: There’s a kiss at Key of Hope between Matt and Lina that was a lot of fun to write. Since I can’t experience it again for the first time, I guess I’ll just have to write more kisses for future characters 😉
TS: The opening of To Bring You Back
Come up with three trivia questions for the other person!
Emily’s Trivia Questions:
What does Erin say John smells like?
TS: Cedar, pine, fire
Answer: She got it!
What color is Lina’s dress at the big wedding in book 4?
TS: I want to say purple but I’m not 100% sure 🙈
Answer: Emerald green, but purple would’ve been pretty too!
Tawni’s Trivia Questions:
What was sewn on the side of Gannon’s hat at the beginning of To Bring You Back?
EC: I think on the side of it was the year they graduated… The front was the high school’s mascot.
Answer: Correct! But Emily wasn’t certain she had the right answer until after she looked it up for this post.
What was tattooed on Matt’s fingers?
EC: The words love and hate. And I believe his thumb has a lit match on it, but I’m going to have to look that up to be sure.
Answer: Correct, but again, Emily had to look it up to be sure about the match.
If you could go back and forth with an author, who would you choose? Which series or book would you like to compare notes on?