When She’s Not Writing
When she’s not writing, Susan squeezes in some of her other favorite things, such as teaching children, preparing lessons, trying new recipes–raw desserts are her latest passion, and being in her garden. She will take a hike at the drop of a hat. As a child she climbed trees, hid in the tall grasses of a field, and played night-games in a cemetery. Now she writes about cemeteries–there is one in Cold Pursuit and a scene in The Kavanagh House. Oh no, does this mean it’s becoming “a thing”?
5 Things she doesn’t usually tell.
1. Susan does not like milk, malls, or macaroni. 2. As a child, her mother called her “Pixie” because she walked on her toes. (serious eye-roll) 3. She loves puzzles. 4. She played the clarinet for 8 years. Okay, she acted like she did, but they were never her best moments. 5. Once, Susan and a girlfriend broke into an old lady’s house. (They left a plate of cookies on the table–without a note–then relocked the door when they left.)
An old man named Sherlock lives in my basement. Once quite fat, he is skin and bones these days. His whiskers are gray and he moves slower. When I let him up in the mornings, he grumbles to go outside. If the weather is cold, he just grumbles. Never affectionate, Sherlock has begun “hanging out.” He sits on a bar stool while I fix dinner, waits unseen in dark halls until I emerge from a closed room, and follows my husband around as soon as he gets home from work. He’s very good at ignoring me from across a room, disappearing when it’s time to go back downstairs, and making loud noises the moment someone makes a phone call. After nearly seventeen years, I’ve grown accustomed to having him around.
Romance in the Mud
The red rock wall rose twelve feet (or twenty–it’s hard to be accurate) to the entrance of the slot canyon. The first section was simple because of the hand and foot grooves left by an endless parade of visitors. The grooves led to a shallow alcove from which the rest of the climb was not so simple. My husband went up to the mid-way spot and helped me join him, then he pushed while I scrambled up and over the rim with the grace of a dog getting out of a swimming pool. Then I pulled while he climbed. We balanced on the rim of a pool before the red arches like ribs in the belly of a great fish. There were three hollows, filled with muck to get past. My husband negotiated the first by straddling it and bracing himself, then insisting that I step on his boot to get through. The next two he did the same, sometimes having to step into the mud to get into position with his boot against the steep side for me to step on and his hand held out to offer a balancing grip. The rest of the slot was wonderful, as was the next one. But that moment epitomized romance. Sacrifice and care. Overcoming obstacles together with the other’s welfare of prime importance. Yep, he’s a keeper.
Susan’s writing history
As far back as she can remember, Susan wrote. In first grade she wrote her first poems. In third grade, she wrote a paper about a country in verse. In Junior High, her teacher encouraged her to publish a story and chose her to read a paper at a school assembly. Susan used to tell her sisters serialized stories at night before they fell asleep. In High School she loved creative writing classes and in College she excelled in literature and writing. But it wasn’t until her children were grown that she wrote a book.
This will be fabulous, suspenseful and romantic. Or something else.
The Kavanagh House
The idea for this book came from a stone house in the town where I grew up. My brother and his wife had been care-takers there while he was in school and I’d written a murder mystery for our families for New Year’s Eve one year. The house is supposed to be haunted. I thought I’d write it from the view of a girl who moves in now and finds the journal from the past. But while outlining, the story grew. Then the house grew–more like doubled. And the past took on an identity of it’s own in the midst of a Gilded Age–yep, steam punk. What had been an ordinary stone, Victorian mansion, now had puzzle locks, mechanized contraptions, and death traps. It’s my WIP, and it’s just FUN!
Cold Pursuit / Hot Pursuit
The idea for Cold Pursuit came from the changes in the marketplace with more and more books selling as eBooks. I decided to take the technology to the next level and write an interactive eBook complete with links to places, clues, recipes, etc. Then I thought, how about one step more? So I wrote four different endings allowing the reader to choose the story path. My editor had encouraged me to add romance to my stories, and so I did that too. Hot Pursuit is the sequel–same main characters, same format of links and multiple endings–but a whole different setting and conflicts. And even more romance.
The idea for Redemption (publisher chose the title) came while teaching the Book of Jonah as part of a literature curriculum. What the Bible doesn’t detail is the journey from the seacoast to Nineveh–a city well inland in the heart of the Assyrian Empire. Using Rabbinic traditions and tons of research into the time period, culture, trade routes and politics, I wrote the story of Jonah from his childhood to his final lesson after preaching to Nineveh. (By-the-way, the title I had come up with was not better: The Terrible City, the Reluctant Prophet, and a Second Chance.)