Wednesday 7 December 2016

Book Spotlight & Giveaway - Belle Chasse (The Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 5) by Suzanne Johnson

Belle Chasse
(The Sentinels of New Orleans, Book 5)
Author: Suzanne Johnson
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 336 Pages
Language: English
Format: Hardcover

Book Description:
Suzanne Johnson's "strong and intriguing" (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series continues with Belle Chasse. The Sentinels of New Orleans series has earned starred reviews from Library Journal ("a resourceful heroine who relies on her magical ingenuity") and PW ("vivid...a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists").

With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ—stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders—can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It's time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

Buy Links:

Praise for the Book
Pirate’s Alley is a fantastic combination of the best things to find in an urban fantasy: wizards, elves, vampires and fae, with a sexy pirate thrown in for good measure. The characters are quirky with lots of clever humor throughout. Although this is the fourth entry in the series, it’s not difficult to follow the storyline. Johnson does a great job of illustrating the devastation of post-Katrina New Orleans and the strength of the people affected, which is genuinely inspiring.” —RT Book Reviews on Pirate’s Alley

“Mermen, pirates and wizards, oh my! For readers missing Sookie Stackhouse, this series may be right up your alley… This is a book with a creative plot, a likable heroine and dastardly quirky characters bound to make for an enjoyable weekend of reading.” —RT Book Reviews on Elysian Fields

Johnson has a real flair for world building and keeps the plot in this adventure/romance/fantasy humming along smoothly.” —Booklist on Elysian Fields

“Solid plotting and a well-described, consistent setting make this a strong and intriguing addition to the genre.”Publishers Weekly on River Road

“The first Sentinels of New Orleans fantasy is a vivid debut that’s far more than the sum of its parts. Sympathetic, entertaining DJ is the perfect narrator for a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review on Royal Street

“Former New Orleans resident Johnson’s fantasy debut introduces a resourceful heroine who relies on her magical ingenuity rather than flashy powers. In addition, the author captures Katrina’s devastation and the long recovery of a city’s resilient people.”—Library Journal, Starred Review on Royal Street

 “With its deft humor, creative plot twists, surefooted use of language and quirky characters—human and otherwise—this debut novel is likely to remind readers of Charlaine Harris’ fun True Blood series…Johnson, who lived here during Katrina and its aftermath, gets the post-storm details right, mixing them into a charming brew of magic, adventure, romance and tongue-in-cheek humor. Even skeptics may like this one.”—New Orleans Times-Picayune on Royal Street

Author Interview

1. Tell a little about yourself. What you do when you’re not writing? What are your aspirations for the future?
Except for a few years in the Midwest and on the West Coast, I’ve lived in the Southern U.S., mostly in New Orleans and Houston and Alabama. I’ve been editor of college magazines in all those places, and that’s my current “day job” as well. But in March, I’ll be leaving the world of magazines to devote full-time to my novels. I can’t wait! When I’m not working I do mixed-media art, although “art” might be stretching it.

2. When and why did you start writing?
I’ve written for as long as I can remember—just not fiction. I’ve been a journalist throughout my career. I began writing fiction in 2009 while still trying to recuperate mentally from Hurricane Katrina; I was living in New Orleans when the storm hit and for a few years afterward. I had recently discovered Simon R. Green’s Nightside series, which made my head explode (in a good way), and decided to write a post-Katrina New Orleans urban fantasy. It became the first book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series.

3. Have any particular novels or writers influenced your writing?
Well, the Nightside series, of course, and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Those, and a lifetime of Stephen King, are probably the biggest direct influences.

4. Give us some backstory behind BELLE CHASSE. Where and when did you write it?
BELLE CHASSE is the fifth and next-to-last book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series’ current story arc. The story has been building steadily since the first book in the series, which takes place just after Hurricane Katrina, which has caused the borders between modern New Orleans and the “Beyond,” the preternatural world, to fall. The wizards have traditionally been responsible for policing the borders, but everything is shot to hell after the hurricane. The heroine is a wizard with just enough elven DNA to give her some extra powers, and she was the junior sentinel of New Orleans at the time of the storm. In BELLE CHASSE, she is on the run from her own Congress of Elders and has made plenty of enemies as a preternatural world war brews.

5. What was your favourite part of writing BELLE CHASSE?
Well, I like to say the subtitle is “Pretes Behaving Badly.” There’s a strong undercurrent of corruption in the halls of political power and a do-nothing Interspecies Council, which means the book was heavily influenced by American politics….although it was written in late 2014, long before the presidential election began to heat up. So it was fun to write these awful wizard and elven and faery politicians! Much of this book is set in the Beyond, at the 19th-century-era beach home of the undead pirate Jean Lafitte, a Frenchman who was a real pirate in New Orleans in the early 1800s—famous historical figures in the Sentinels world live on through the magic of human memory. And Jean Lafitte is always a LOT of fun to write—he’s sexy and smart and utterly in it for himself.

6. What does your writing schedule look like?
Since I currently have a 50-hour-a-week (or more) day job, I write mostly between 8 p.m. and midnight, and on Sundays. It’s a real juggling act, and I don’t get much sleep. I also have a very, very messy house!

7. Which fictional character would you like to take to dinner and why?
Well, if it were one of my characters from this series, it would be Rene Delachaise, a Cajun merman. Rene is hilarious and I know if nothing else, I’d laugh a lot. I would have chosen the pirate Jean Lafitte except technically, he’s not fictional. From other novels…maybe Rhage from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series—Vishous is my favorite but I think he’d scare me to death. Rhage seems…safer. You know, for a ginormous vampire.

8. Besides your lead, do you have a favourite character in the story?
I really love the main cast of this book. DJ is the lead character, and I love her loyalty and heart (and snarky sense of humor). I’ve fallen in love with Jean Lafitte and Rene—the undead pirate and the mermen are business partners in a little under-the-table smuggling operation and they’re like an ongoing comedy routine. There’s also a morally ambiguous elf named Rand that I alternately adore and despise; ditto with DJ’s significant something-or-other, a shifter named Alex—what a stubborn, infuriating man.

9. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
That I can write fiction that people want to read; it still blows my mind after 18 books. I love that I can create worlds and characters in my head, spin them out on paper (or screen), and make them real enough for other people to feel as if they know them and come to care about them. It’s just an amazing thing that I never expected to happen when I began writing that first book to purge my post-hurricane PTSD.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?
It’s so easy to indie publish these days and I see so many young authors rush their books out and then get their hearts broken when they realize how hard it is to find readers. So my best advice is take your time. Learn your craft. Even if you want to go the indie route instead of traditional publishing, take the time and spend the money to get a developmental editor, a copy editor, a cover artist, and a proofreader. There’s a lot to the business end of being an author, and it can’t be ignored—there’s too much competition out there.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author
SUZANNE JOHNSON lives in Auburn, Alabama. A veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards for writing and editing nonfiction, she is also Susannah Sandlin. As Sandlin, Johnson has won two Holt Awards (for paranormal romance and romantic suspense) and been a two-time finalist for the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award.

Author Links:



  1. it's really a fabulous series and i'm so glad this isn't the last book!!

  2. Really pretty cover ! This book looks very interesting ! I would love to have the chance to read it :)

  3. Sounds interesting can't wait to read it.

  4. Thank you for the author interview and giveaway.