Guest blogger – Suzanne Hartmann

Today I have the awesome privilege to welcome Suzanne Hartmann as a guest on my blog. Welcome Suzanne.


Suzanne Hartmann is a homeschool mom of three and lives in the St. Louis area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition & Linguistics from Western Illinois University. To relax, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study. She began writing fiction when her children were young, and four of her short stories were published in a Milliken Publishing reading workbook. PERIL: Fast Track Thriller Bk. #1 is her debut novel.

On the editorial side, Suzanne is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and operates the Write This Way Critique Service. Through her blog, Write This Way, she has become known as an author who can explain writing rules and techniques in easy-to-understand terms. Her popular Top 10 series of articles formed the basis for her e-book on the craft of writing, Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level

Whenever an author starts a novel, there will eventually come a point when he or she needs to do some research. Most of the time we search for information on-line or check books out from the library. Maybe an interview or two is in order. The most fun type of research, however, is when it can be made into a field trip.
I had multiple opportunities to take “field trips” to gain research material for my novel, PERIL when I began volunteering with Midwest Raceway Ministries. For four years, I worked as a chaplain during the NASCAR Nationwide and Truck races at Gateway Speedway, just outside St. Louis. Not only did I have a chance to attend races, but I was given a Hot Pit Pass and experienced the action from the infield. My favorite part of the “research” was watching qualifying from pit road.

After the first race I worked at, immediately went home and made some changes in the manuscript of PERIL. One of the changes had to do with pit wagons, the mobile observation/tool station that crew chiefs sit on in the pit stall during the race. I had a completely inaccurate picture in my head. When I realized how big they are, I completely took out a small section of a scene I’d written wouldn’t work at all because of the size of the pit carts.
Beyond getting a feel for what it was like to be at a race, a couple of unusual things I observed while volunteering at the track made their way into PERIL, where they add flavor to the scenes at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Below, the picture corresponds with the snippet shown from the manuscript:
In the blue and yellow car behind it, a tall crew member had one leg in the car and one leg out as he helped push his team’s car forward.
Another scene I saw but wasn’t able to snap a picture of it is captured in the following snippet:

As they walked down pit road, Joanne pointed towards two crew members in bright yellow firesuits tossing a football back and forth while the rest of their crew lined up next to their car. Neil chuckled. “Guess everyone deals with the stress before a race differently.”

While the research I gained from reading books about NASCAR gave me the majority of the information needed to create the settings at the various NASCAR tracks in PERIL, it was the experience of being at the track that added the details which make the scenes truly come alive with realism. As my character Stuart, a NASCAR champion, says in the book, “…there’s nothing like watching a race live.”

Here’s a little about PERIL and how the NASCAR aspect fits into this Christian suspense novel:

A top-secret agent.

A high-profile assignment.

Danger at a NASCAR track.

A top secret agent with enhanced strength, who must use her extraordinary abilities during several high-profile assignments, from the White House to NASCAR tracks, while escorting the first Muslim king to convert to Christianity. When unwanted publicity and the attention of a NASCAR champion threatens to expose her secrets, she becomes a terrorist target with danger surrounding her on all sides.
“Plenty of action and unexpected twists.”

Foreword by Jimmy Makar, GM of Joe Gibbs Racing

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today, Ginger. Before I close, I would like to invite your readers to enter the give-away I’m hosting to celebrate the release of PERIL, my debut novel. At the end of this blog tour (12/16), I will give away a KINDLE to one lucky entrant. For details on how to enter, follow this link: WIN A KINDLE
Thank you so much for coming and giving us an inside look at NASCAR.

Where can we find your book on-line?

At my website: Fast Track Thrillers

 Where can we find you on-line?

My Website – FastTrackThrillers

My Blog – Write This Way

Facebook – Suzanne Hartmann – Author         

Twitter – @SuzInIL


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