The Rebel Christian

Book Reviews

Author Spotlight: The Relationship Riddle

By Susan Paulson Clark

By Susan Paulson Clark

So I'm doing another Author Spotlight! This time I got to read and review a very clean cut romance that I very much enjoyed. Susan Clark happily answered some brief interview questions about herself and her wonderful novel. Read below to find out more about this awesome author. 

Tell us about your novel, The Relationship Riddle.

The Relationship Riddle is more of a love story than a traditional romance; it’s funny in parts, and has more than a few surprises. It alternates each chapter from Vince's and Belle’s point of view. Both characters have always been unsuccessful with romantic love and both have huge reservations, but eventually circumstances pull them together.

What inspired you to write this book?

My books are written out of empathy for those who find relationships difficult … and to let them know things often turn out great in the end. Also, I think friendships are important and my characters develop friendships to help them through life.

How long did it take you to write The Relationship Riddle? Did you plan it out or just go with the flow?

A year and a half. I’m a slow, perfectionist writer. Also I read every chapter to my writers’ group and had the manuscript edited twice. I originally planned the plot with a chart. However as the writing went on, two minor characters (Natalie and Neely) emerged to have more of a major role and I revised much of the plan.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

Like these characters, I used to really struggle with relationships. Now I’m happily married but I haven’t forgotten. Also Belle is a business owner and I was at one point.

Has writing always been your passion? If not, when did you realize this was your dream?

Now that you mention it, yes! I wrote stories in elementary school, edited my high school newspaper, majored in English, and then wrote features for newspapers and later health and technology magazine articles. Over the years I developed into a fiction author.

Would you rather see your book become a movie or a television series? Why

My dream is that a producer like the late Nora Ephron would want a script of the story. :-)

Do you enjoy being an Indie Author? Why or why not?

I know several traditionally published authors and they don’t make a ton of money unless their book’s a big hit. Of course I wouldn’t mind being traditionally published but, as an indie, I do enjoy the control of making changes and doing my own marketing.

Describe what your work space looks like right now.

My husband recently started sharing my office with me, but I’m glad because he’s finally working at home and I seldom sat at a desk anyway. So you can find me at the dining or kitchen table or the library. I have a writing friend and we work together at either Starbucks or Panera.

Where do you see yourself in the literary realm in the next ten years?

The Relationship Riddle and my first book, The Relationship Shoppe, go together but are standalone books. The Relationship Shoppe is written from another character – Marian’s – perspective. I’m working on a third “relationship” novel with some of the old and other entirely new characters.

I’m a visual artist and also devote time to that work. Writing and painting are not very interactive, though. I’m an extrovert, so I need to interact with humans or I feel really down. I do that through my volunteer jobs.

But … a writer has to write! And I may parlay my non-fiction writing into a book at some point.


Now you know all about the book and the creative mind that put it together, keep reading to find out what I loved about The Relationship Riddle! I hope you all pick up a copy, its a definite must read.

My Review of The Relationship Riddle By Susan Clark

I kind of prefer YA when it comes to romance but I really think Clark did a swell job on this one. It gets extra points with me because it was a clean romance. Not every adult who likes romance enjoys reading about a couple making their headboard shake o.O Clark pretty much demonstrates that you can fall in love without ripping each other’s clothes off. It’s fun, its family friendly, and it’s actually enjoyable. Yes, it’s possible to write an adult romance without writing erotica, don’t believe me? Then grab a copy and see for yourself.

I also liked that the story was told from duel perspectives. Sometimes it gets tough to include more than one narrator but Clark’s writing is clean and to the point. Everything is laid bare for the reader which is a good and bad thing. I mean, you can pretty much tell what’s going to happen just from reading the description. There weren’t many cliffhangers or oh-my-god-just-kiss-him! moments. You kind of know what’s going to happen next but I still enjoyed reading it. I think there were some clichés in the book but Clark made that work to her advantage in keeping it entertaining.

Vince and Belle were good characters. Their chemistry really worked well in the story and they were easy to see as a couple. Their ups and downs were typical considering their backgrounds but Clark really hammered us with her characterization. I think her writing made their connection believable and made me want to keep reading. Clark has a way with engaging her readers which I think is important. She knows what people look for in a good story and she included that here. We have two very realistic people faced with everyday problems yet its just good enough to win me over and get me turning page after page. Romance is tricky in that it either flops or flies. I think The Relationship Riddle definitely flies.

Another thing I wanted to point out with Clark’s writing was that it wasn’t just clean in terms of the material, it was also very well edited. Clark mentioned being a perfectionist, it definitely shows in her writing. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to stumble through the pages or guess at what she meant in her descriptions. She’s clearly an author who pays close attention to her craft and cares for her readers of all ages.

Her style is mature but easy enough to follow with its solid structure and framing of the story. We have two characters that could have ended up as enemies but she worked them around while keeping the readers entertained and full of hope for their future together the entire time.

I could only hope to find more books like this one, or maybe Clark has a few more romantic novels up her sleeve?

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves romance and stories with strong characters they can relate to. This book will make you want to fall in love, it is heartfelt and warm and full of all the good and bad things in life. I think anyone can enjoy this if they’re willing to give it a chance.