Local Asheville author Susan Blexrud, loves romance, the supernatural, and Civil War history. She’s poured all that passion and a dedication to historical accuracy into her latest Crimson Romance novel The Gettysburg Vampire.
The story follows Abby Potter, a new theatre professor at Gettysburg College, who is determined to put on a holiday production centered around a Civil War ghost train and vampires. For her lead vampire, she reluctantly chooses fellow professor Malcolm McClellan, a brooding and electrically attractive man who happens to actually be a Civil War vampire. The two contend with an ever-growing attraction, saboteurs, and McClellan’s painful past. Intercut with Civil War era scenes, readers learn details about the characters’ lives (many of whom are true historical figures) as well as facts about the time period that contribute to a unique and rich representation of 1863 Gettysburg.
Susan is a self-identified research junkie who readily compares the Civil War to crack. For her copious historical preparation prior to writing her novel, Susan cites among her sources: authors Michael Shaara, Jeffrey Shaara, Geoffrey Perrot, as well as Ken Burns’ PBS series on the Civil War, Matthew Brady photographs, and historical maps. She chose Gettysburg as the setting for her novel because she “was mesmerized by the heady feeling of what had happened there on those three fateful days in July of 1863.” Though she’d originally intended to pen a traditional historical novel, her penchant for the supernatural compelled her to take a few paranormal creative liberties.
Susan now finds herself in the company of Charlaine Harris (author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels on which the hit HBO series True Blood is based), Stephanie Meyers (author of the wildly popular Twilight series), L.J. Smith (author of The Vampire Dairies on which the teen CW series is based), and even Seth Grahame-Smith (author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, historical vampire novel turned film). Like these authors, Susan enjoys the escapism of the supernatural, and like Harris, Smith, and Meyer, she is a romantic who loves nothing more than a happy ending.
Though Susan has adored Asheville, its diversity, food, mountains, and music since she was a teen, it wasn’t until retirement that she could actually join the ranks of her beloved funky mountain city. Susan says of her adopted home, “People in Asheville don’t care if you drive a pickup truck or a Mercedes. This is a town where the content of one’s character rules the day.”
When Susan isn’t cooking up supernatural romances, she’s cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Though she promises she won’t “murder a lobster,” she’s currently working to master coq au vin (a French braise of chicken with wine). She’s also an avid bird watcher and a constant quilter. As the vice chair on the board of directors for nonprofit Youth OUTright, Susan is passionate about providing support for LGBTQ youth in Western North Carolina and generously donates a portion of her book royalties to the organization.
Susan especially enjoys interacting with her readers and fellow romance novel fans. She hosts a monthly book club “All Romance All the Time” at Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café. She encourages her readers as well as lovers of books and romance to connect with her on Facebook and her blog.