MuseTracks Guest – Suzan Harden – Hot Guys and Literary Influences

Today’s Special guest Suzan Harden is a real hoot. And she’s a straight shooter and offers loads of irony and snark. No wonder I like her so much.

Welcome to MuseTracks, Suzan.

When Jenn said I could blog on Musetracks, I asked her if I could have pictures of hot guys. She’s a pirate wench, so of course, she said yes. (Her actual quote was “Hell, yeah!”)

So, for the ladies, here’s Taylor Kitsch. (Hush, guys, I’ll get to you.)

Why am I on a Taylor Kitsch kick? Because he’s starring as one of my favorite literary characters in his latest move, John Carter.

I can hear you. “John, who? You mean the guy from ER?”

*facepalm* Yeah, I know. The title is where the folks at Disney really screwed up. It should have been John Carter of Mars. Or at least A Princess of Mars, the title of the book by Edgar Rice Burroughs on which the movie is based.

Yes, that Edgar Rice Burroughs. The guy who also wrote Tarzan of the Apes.

For the last several years, people have been asking me where I get my ideas, who are my influences are as a writer. It wasn’t until I started re-reading A Princess of Mars a couple of weeks ago that I realized how far Mr. Burroughs sunk his literary ideas of what a hero should be in my adolescent, hormone-riddled mind.

Tall, dark hair, intense eyes. Someone who truly believes in honor and duty. Someone who loves intently and without reserve. Someone who’s ego isn’t threatened by an equally powerful woman.

And the geeky, teenage me wanted to be Dejah Thoris. Exotic, smart, and as handy with a sword as any of the guys.

I subconsciously carried Mr. Burroughs’ theme of a stranger in a strange land into my work, though my characters don’t run around naked through most of the book, like John and Dejah. (Look at the 1917 original cover versus the Michael Whelan cover for the 1979 paperback reissue, my first encounter with the Barsoom series.)

Hmmm….maybe they should.

I’m not the only writer influenced by Mr. Burroughs. Sci-fi greats Robert A. Heinlein and Ray Bradbury cited him as influences. And yes, Michael Crichton named Dr. Carter from ER after Mr. Burroughs’ hero. Dynamite Entertainment produced a prequel series starring Dejah Thoris. (Hope this satisfies the guys. *grin*)

But no matter how many derivations and adaptations are created, in the end, the romance and adventure of Mr. Burrough’s original stories still ring true a century after he created them.

Suzan Harden grew up on a working farm in Ohio Amish country, though she’s not Amish. Mucking out pig stalls gives a girl lots of time to make up stories. She currently lives in southeastern Texas with a husband who believes writing is a practical career option, a kid who thinks she’s too enamored with zombies, and a beagle who wants his belly scratched. Her latest novel ZOMBIE WEDDING is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Zombie Wedding blurb:

Samantha Ridgeway thought being turned into the walking dead by a freaky lab experiment was the worst thing that could happen to her. She was wrong.

Not only did her creation cause an uproar in the paranormal community—the fairies want her dead permanently—but her vampire boyfriend is pushing for an eternal commitment, she’s a bridesmaid in her brother’s shotgun wedding, and now a necromancer has emerged, wanting revenge on her for something she did when she was still alive. The hungry corpses he raises from the dead are relentless killers. Can Sam protect her brother’s wedding guests from becoming appetizers for the flesh-crazed zombie army? And how can she keep herself from ending up as the main course?

12 Responses to MuseTracks Guest – Suzan Harden – Hot Guys and Literary Influences

  1. The type of heroes you mention here are the type that have swirled in my head since I was a little girl. They are the stuff fantasies are filled with!! Thanks for sharing.
    PS- Love the picture of Taylor…couple that with those qualities and you’ve got the quintessential hero!!!!!!


  2. jbrayweber says:

    Forwarding this on from Lorette Wheeler. WP was being unkind, and she asked that I post her comment.

    Interesting post, Suzan:)…I loved the comparison between covers and the glimpse inside your writing. I’m sure having Burroughs as an influence in your early years really did kick your imagination into overdrive!:)


  3. Tess says:

    Okay, I admit to not knowing who Burroughs was until I read this post. But, I will say, where ever and whoever your influences were…girl, you can write! I’m a huge Suzan Harden fan!

    And that first picture of that little boy is a yum fest!


  4. jbrayweber says:

    Wonder what’s up with WordPress today. Must be the hiccups.

    Forwarding along another comment, this one by William Simon.

    Burrough’s books (Tarzan, John Carter, and Pellicudar) were my literary bridge from the Hardy Boys to Chandler, Fleming, Pendleton, etc. Believe it or not, when I got an iPad a couple of years back, one of the first authors I started searching to buy was ERB. I grinned like a little kid when I found his books in Kindle editions, and promptly downloaded as many as I could.

    If you wonder about his influence on the world, remember this: there is a bedroom community in California called ‘Tarzana’. Named after Guess Who? Think about that for a moment. A city named after a fictional character. Think maybe ERB was Hot Stuff in publishing for a few years?!!?


  5. Suzan Harden says:

    Yeah, Stacy, I had to stick that first picture in because it’s one of the few of Taylor where he’s not wearing “serious actor/model” face. He has the most adorable smile, and humor is a necessary quality in a man.


  6. Suzan Harden says:

    Loretta, ERB wasn’t the only one. But you gotta remember I grew up in a small town. A VERY small town. Most of what was available in the library was stuff that was popular eighty to one hundred fifty years ago. That meant Dumas, Twain, Baum, Dickens, etc. as well as ERB.


  7. Suzan Harden says:

    Ack! Tess! Most of ERB’s books are now public domain and available free on Amazon, B&N, et al.

    Or you can say screw the books and go admire Taylor on the big screen tonight with the hubby.


  8. Suzan Harden says:

    It’s not just that ERB WAS popular in his day, Will. He STILL is.

    And I really think current writers need to analyze him to understand his popularity. ERB is a perfect example of getting into the action of the story immediately. In the first five pages, John’s discovered gold in the Arizona territory, his partner is killed, Apaches are chasing him, and he finds a mysterious cave.

    OTOH, I’m reading a current bestseller, and I’m really trying to figure out why it’s a bestseller. The character the book is named after isn’t introduced until nearly page 50.


  9. Great interview. My husband is a big ERB fan.


  10. Suzan Harden says:

    @Ellaquinnauthor Then by all means, make tonight a date night, grab your hubby and go see JOHN CARTER.


  11. jbrayweber says:

    Thanks again for visiting MuseTracks, Suzan. I admit, I had never heard of John Carter before, and only heard the name ERB in passing. *hides face in shame* I had thought, geez…Disney could have done a better job with the title. Lol! But now…*still hiding face*

    Wonderful post. I bet I’ll become a ERB fan now, thanks to you!

    Oh, and muchos gracias for the eye candy!


  12. Suzan Harden says:

    Thanks for having me, Jenn! You know it’s only proper etiquette to bring your hostess a gift. *grin*


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