Friday, September 24, 2010
I write mysteries and suspense books because I can’t not write them. I’ve tried to write in other genres but these aspects always invade the story and take over the plot. I guess that’s because I love to read mysteries, thrillers, and suspense books. And in my opinion, every good book has to have romance in it so combining the two is natural for me.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I can’t say I have one day that is the happiest, but have several days that are very memorable. The day I got married, the day my daughters were born, the day my oldest daughter got married and the day my adorable grandson was born top my list.
How has being published changed your life?
Wow, so much has changed I hardly know where to start. Being published has made me more disciplined as a writer as I have far less free time than I used to have. I can no longer write just for myself and the enjoyment of writing, but always have to be cognizant of deadlines. This is not a bad thing—I praise God for the contracts— but it’s just different. Also, I participate in a lot more promotional activities that take time I used to devote to writing. And I have to mention receiving emails from readers who not only enjoy your work, but who share how the spiritual message in the book touches their lives and help them with something they are struggling with. There is nothing more rewarding than that.
What are you reading right now?
I usually read several books at one time so I am reading Steven James, The Bishop. If you like thrillers and have never read his books, you really must try them. No one writes a thriller as good a Steven James. I am also reading Lynette Eason’s Protective Custody. Lynette writes fast moving romantic suspense books and I love to read them. And lastly, I am reading Donald Maass’s The Fire in Fiction, a great book on the craft of writing.
What is your current work in progress?
I just finished the first round of edits on Behind the Badge, my June-2011 romantic suspense release from Steeple Hill and am working on the first draft of the third book in the series featuring the Morgan brothers, tentatively titled, Relentless Pursuit.
What would be your dream vacation?
Since I live cross-country from both of my children, my dream vacation would involve having my entire family together. We could be anywhere as long as it didn’t involve roughing it outdoors.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’ve given this one a lot of thought and there are so many people I respect and would like to spend time with, but my number one person would be Charles Stanley. I’ve listened to his sermon’s on Sunday mornings before church for years, listen to his messages on the Internet all the time and when I feel down or broken, I reach for one of his books to lift my spirits. He uses such strong biblical teaching yet makes it so practical to life that I would love to be able to talk to him about his experiences.
That would be an interesting conversation. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to spend time with my family watching TV or a movie, playing a game of just hanging out. When the weather is not brutally hot as it is now in Florida, I love to garden.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
My greatest challenge is crafting that all important first chapter and not rewriting it a zillion times. I can spend more time on that chapter than the rest of the book. And note I’m not talking past tense here as I haven’t really overcome it. But, if I am to meet my word count goals, I will have to stop being a perfectionist. We’ll see how it goes.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
There really are no shortcuts to publication, but there are easier ways of getting published. The first thing is to attend writer’s conferences to learn the craft of writing and network with other writers, agents, and editors. If you can’t afford to attend conferences, purchase the audio files for workshops that most conferences sell after the conference is over. Read books on writing. Join critique groups. And most importantly be teachable and ready to learn from those who are willing to help you.
Tell us about the featured book.
Nipped in the Bud is a lighthearted cozy mystery published by Barbour Publishing in their Hometown Mysteries series. Nipped in the Bud takes place in Oregon in a fictional town named Serendipity and features Paige Turner, a landscape designer and host of a local radio show with more wacky callers than legitimate gardeners. Paige, more at home with plants than people, has a quirky habit of thinking of people by the plants they resemble and treating them accordingly. Paige has secured her first landscaping contract, sprucing up the city park for the upcoming Pickle Fest. But the day of a confrontation with the city manager, she finds him dead in a mound of mulch. With no alibi for the time of death and, according to the police chief, with plenty of motive to carry out the murder, Paige must dig her way out of the mess by finding the real killer. Attorney Adam Hayes aids in her search as he works hard to keep her out jail—and his heart.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“This is Harly Davison, your host of KALM’s exciting new show, Wacky World of Motorcycles, hoping you’ll join us every Wednesday morning at ten and reminding you that Hogs, not dogs, are man’s best friend. Now we return to the locally acclaimed show, Through the Garden Gate, with host Paige Turner.”
"Weed Whacker! You can’t possibly want to kill your husband!” I yelled into the boom microphone and looked for advice from my producer and best friend, Lisa Winkle.
Tucked safely in her little booth adjoining mine, Lisa shrugged and twirled her finger in our signal that meant I should say something before dead air killed the show.
I shook my head.
Her finger picked up speed as if she possessed the power to spin me around and force words from my mouth. But what could I say? What could an unmarried gardening expert know about killing a husband?
“Paige, are you there?” Weed Whacker’s tone bordered on desperation, elevating my concern.
I gave up on Lisa offering any assistance and punched the mute button then searched through the middle drawer of the ancient metal desk. If I could locate the station’s talk show schedule, I could refer Weed Whacker to the self-help program.
“Paige,” Lisa said through my headset. “What are you doing? We can’t have dead air like this.”
“You’re not helping,” I said. Words from my mother with her many years of advice, my pastor’s weekly sermons, and God, already fought for space in my head. I had no room for anything Lisa was saying. I punched the button again and adjusted the mike. “Perhaps you would like to call into our self-help show. If you hold on, my producer will give you the broadcast time.”
“Please, Paige. I can’t wait. I need your advice.”
“Don’t do anything drastic,” I blurted before she changed her mind, disconnected, and did something crazy. Eyes on the drawer, my fingers fumbled around for the laminated schedule. If I gave the wrong advice, how would I recover from being implicated in a murder? “There has to be an amiable solution to your problem.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.susansleeman.com/ Personal website
http://www.thesuspensezone.com/ Book review website
http://www.facebook.com/susan.sleeman Facebook friends page
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Sleeman-Books/124844037537711 Facebook fan page
http://www.hometownmysteries.com/ Hometown Mysteries Website
http://www.loveinspiredauthors.com/ Love Inspired Author Website
Well, Susan, you're all over the Internet. Thanks for dropping by.
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