Exclusive Interview "Susan Holmes McKagan"
Susan Holmes McKagan is a well-known, experienced and credentialed writer. Her columns regularly appear on the coveted front-page Cover feature stories for The Huffington Post and Pop Wrapped. She also happens to be an international supermodel (having graced covers of VOGUE, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, marie- claire, W, Playboy and Maxim to name a few). Susan has walked the catwalks in Paris, Milan and New York for such prestigious designers as Chanel, Versace, Prada, Calvin Klein, Valentino, Marc Jacobs, YSL, and Armani and many more… She is married for nearly two decades to Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame legend Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses and Grammy award winning band Velvet Revolver. Susan has written on a myriad of subjects and has a plethora of published top tier interviews with the world’s leading artists, athletes, humanitarians, scientists, celebrities, designers, authors, actors and musicians. Susan developed and designs her own high-end brand of resort wear called Susan Holmes Swimwear. Her designs have been featured on covers of Sports Illustrated to People magazine. Living on the west coast between her homes in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Diego …or on a worldwide rock tour on a GNR airplane. Susan dedicates most of her time to her two daughters, her incorrigible but cute pug, and her sweet husband of hers.
For those unfamiliar with Susan Holmes McKagan please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'd like to think I'm a blessed, thankful, hardworking modern-day business woman… a mother and writer who truly appreciates wearing many hats! One day I might be walking the runways in Europe, New York, or Los Angeles for prestigious and inspiring designers, or interviewing an A-list celebrity (from Snoop to Cindy Crawford) for my Huffington Post cover story features, while honoring these tremendously accomplished
and charitable people.
First and foremost of course, is my family. My two daughters, Grace and Mae, and longtime hubby Duff of Guns N’ Roses. They are my everything and keep me trying to be my best self.
Without giving away too much, tell us about your book ‘The Velvet Rose’ and the
inspiration behind it.
It's a fast-paced novel set in the early '90's, that depicts an earnest and authentic “coming of age” story. It is injected with a colossal amount of adventure, love, and humor! The story is navigated by a lead female protagonist named Scarlett. I believe people will especially fall in love with the characters --and almost feel as if they know them after reading my book. The Velvet Rose explores the journey of figuring out one's
own path and championing that aspect to finding your dreams. The novel is officially being released on April 16th and is available for pre-sale online at Amazon before hitting all the brick and mortars as well as all the major booksellers from Barnes & Noble, Target, Walmart, The Strand bookstore, Indie Bound to Powell’s Books stores and many more.
Let's just put it this way, if you enjoy books that take you on a voyage filled with lots of colorful travel, a rock and roll romance, coupled with high fashion adventures and outrageous hilarity, then you, or someone you know, will LOVE this book!! At the end of the day, it is relatable to anyone that has ever had the courage to chase their dreams and pursue an unconventional path in this glorious world.
It's so common for readers to believe that novelists use material from their own livesin their books. ‘The Velvet Rose’ has a strong female lead character who happens to be ahigh fashion model. Can you talk about how much material from your personal life experiences you used to write your book?
Well, they say write what you know about and that sometimes you can actually tell a lot more about a person's story through fiction, a la a Roman a clef, than an autobiography. In The Velvet Rose, I have pulled from my personal experiences and blended characters and stories to make for a compelling read. In a novel the arc of a story typically takes place in a 12 month span, so I manifested this by compiling various stories and personal life experiences to comply with this window. I wanted to accomplish the most fastpaced, concise novel containing the strongest beginning, middle and end.
What is the most surprising thing you've learned about yourself while writing your book?
That you can accomplish anything that you truly set your mind to! It was a labor of love that literally took me nine years to tackle, but tenacity and hard work do pay off.
Who are some of the writers who have influenced you?
Ernest Hemingway, particularly his stellar epic book A Movable Feast. Michelle Obama, as well as Maya Angelou.
Who is a creative person, not a writer, who has influenced you and your work?
So many! My dear friend Stephen Sprouse whom had sadly passed, and whom the front cover of my book's selfie photograph is taken from our last time together in New York City at his apartment. He was such a humble, creative genius. From his incredible fashion designs for Debbie Harry, Axl Rose, his iconic graffiti print for Louis Vuitton. It’s no wonder he was Andy Warhol's muse, he inspired me and so many tremendously. Stephen definitely left his mark.
I am also extremely inspired by beautiful, strong females like Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to Lady Gaga.
On a more personal note: tell us a little about your “real” non-writing life – family, hobbies, etc.
I’m the mother of two glorious, intelligent, super talented daughters Grace and Mae, one incredible and loving, rocking husband, Duff (yes, that Duff of Velvet Revolver and Guns N' Roses), one incorrigible but cute pug Twirls ... and when I do have a little bit of free time I especially enjoy cooking, reading, hiking, traveling and time well spent with friends.
Will you be participating in any future book signings or book events? Please tell our readers where and when they will be.
Yes, I'm very much looking forward to these upcoming events. I will be signing books on April 1st at The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association in Portland, Oregon. And my first book event is in Seattle, Washington at Elliott Bay Book Company in conversation with my NY Times Bestselling author husband Duff McKagan. It's on Saturday, April 13th at 7:00 p.m. I have a book signing event in Los Angeles at Book Soup on Tuesday, April 30th at 7:00 p.m., and then on Tuesday, April 16th at 7:00 p.m., The Strand Bookstore in New York City, and on Thursday, May 2nd at 7:30 p.m. at Warwick's Book Store in SanDiego.
Where can readers purchase your book?
It's available at all fine book retailors including: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target, WalMart, Book Soup, The Strand Bookstore, Warwick's, Indie Bound, Books A Million, and will be available as an audio book on Audible, as well as an e-book that you will be able to download also starting April 16th.
If you had to persuade someone to buy ‘The Velvet Rose’, in a tweet (140 characters)
what would you say?
Young, female lead protagonist, set in early '90's, swollen with page turning drama, intrigue, scandal, redemption and heart! It's a "coming of age" front row seat of fun, feel good story, injected with humor, endurance, and of course love.
You are such a creative woman, where will you be putting your energy next?
Well, hopefully I'll have a second book. Hopefully it won't take me another nine years to complete. And I have been in a few meetings already with prospective interest in The Velvet Rose possibly becoming a feature film or a television series. You’ll just have to stay tuned!
Be sure and follow Susan on Instagram: susanholmesmckagan and Twitter @SuHolmesMcKagan for all
the latest updates and info!
In the early nineties, Scarlet, a painter and high fashion model, finds herself working in some of the world’s most famous fashion capitals. As her adventure continues, she meets Johnny of The Westies, an up-and-coming band on the cusp of superstardom. What ensues is an unhinged ride of a novel following the audacious lead female protagonist as she navigates her life through fame, addiction, infidelity, and all the ups and downs of dating a legendary musician from one of the biggest rock bands in history. A riveting and heartfelt journey of figuring out one’s own path and championing that aspect to finding their dreams. Rich in spirit and relatable for all those who have ever had the courage to chase their dreams and pursue an unconventional path in this glorious world. A page-turner, frequently injected with laugh-out-loud humor, front row seat of fun debut that is being heralded as the earnest generation of authenticity of a nineties voyage, Susan Holmes McKagan shines in The Velvet Rose.