Monday, February 11, 2013

HOMESCHOOLING CAN BE MURDER - Susan Lyttek - One Free Book

Welcome, Susan. Thank you for sharing your debut novel with us. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t think very much, but when my siblings read it, they said Jeanine talked like me.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Signing up to take homeschooling taekwondo classes with my sons. It didn’t cost much to add me in and I felt guilty watching them exercise while I sat on the sidelines. Seeing two other moms in the class motivated me and I thought the forms looked elegant.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In second grade. My teacher, Mrs. Calahamer, read my story to the class and they applauded.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Wow. It would be a much shorter list to say what I don’t read. I enjoy the classics, speculative fiction, mysteries, children’s books, Biblical fiction, and more. I like fiction that either affirms my faith and/or challenges my mind. My favorite, not contemporary, authors are C.S. Lewis and Dostoevsky. My current favorite authors are Stephen Lawhead and Bryan Davis.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Do I keep my sanity?  My family often questions that. However, I keep functioning by snuggling into God’s lap every morning when I do my devotions, exercising regularly, and reading avidly. In addition, I require music to operate on a daily basis. I can write in the silence of early morning, but beyond that time I can’t think creatively without music.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes, I name my characters after people I know. That’s particularly true of minor characters. My main characters tend to get names I like or ones that pop in my head when I’m dreaming.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Earning a black belt in taekwondo. Physical activity is not something that comes naturally to me, so I really had to work for it.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
My favorite housepets are cats; my favorite animals to watch are horses. However, I don’t act like either. Behavior-wise, I think I’m rather like the mice I had for pets as a child. I keep moving and go through every obstacle until I’m exhausted. At that point, I lean in close to the others in my “cage.”

What is your favorite food?
That varies. I go in spurts with different things. Over the summer, I adored roasted cauliflower. Right now, it’s a raw cranberry nut salad. But my constants are fresh bread, baked potatoes, and homemade soup.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
When I started writing books, I wrote the way I wrote plays—mostly dialogue and action. I had to remind myself to add in the texture that makes it a story. I used a lot of test readers to help me determine where to put it in based on questions they asked.

Tell us about the featured book.
Jeanine is an Army wife and homeschooling mom of Justin and Josie, who has grown comfortable and happy with her husband’s assignment in Georgia. When she finds out that they will move, she digs in her heels and procrastinates. So her husband, Captain James Talbott, picks out their new home in Gentle Springs. It happens to be next to a Civil War cemetery. The “neighbors” intimidate Jeanine even while James is there. But when he goes away for training and their lovable bulldog Jelly finds a new corpse next to the tomb of the town hero, she needs to overcome her fears. To that end, Justin and Josie use their God-given abilities to help their mom find out why the treasure hunter was murdered.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Homeschooling Can Be Murder

I blame it on soccer. (If I didn’t blame it on soccer, I’d have to blame it on me, and I’m not ready to go there yet.) So, you must understand that if it weren’t for soccer, James wouldn’t have picked out the house on his own. If it weren’t for soccer, he wouldn’t have needed my proxy at closing, and I could have avoided moving into our current home. If it weren’t for soccer, I wouldn’t have found a fresh corpse in the middle of an ancient graveyard. And if it weren’t for soccer, I would not currently be crawling around in the mud with my kids looking for clues to a murder.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you the whole story.

First, you need to understand that I’m an Army wife. James has made the service a career, and I’m proud of him and what he does. But that means every two to four years, we move. To give our kids some stability and to pass on our beliefs, we decided to homeschool.

We are all J’s. When James and I met, he thought it was cute that both our names started with the letter J; so after we married, he decided that should be a trademark for our family. And it is, down to the dog. My name is Jeanine, my ten-year-old son is Justin, and his eight-year-old sister is Josie. Our dog? He’s a slobbering but loyal bulldog we named Jelly.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn and my website is .

Thank you, Susan, for spending this time with us today.

Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Homeschooling Can Be Murder

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Davalyn Spencer said...

What a fun book title. I remember homeschooling and thinking the murder victims could be my children! But we made it. One of the best things we did for our kids. Blessings!

Susan Lyttek said...

I think when I and a bunch of homeschooling moms were talking, the phrase 'Homeschooling can be murder' came up from the mouth of a patience-tried and exhausted mother. It got me thinking, what if a murder actually provided homeschooling lessons? A little percolating later and this story was born!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins

Duncanville Tx

Susan Lyttek said...

I hope whoever gets the free copy has as much fun reading it as I did writing it!

Susan Lyttek said...

Just an FYI: ten-year-old Justin, as an amateur taxidermist, becomes the family's forensics expert. Eight-year-old Josie has a semi-photographic memory and uses her gift to imitate her heroine--Nancy Drew.

Norma S said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. It sounds really interesting, i can't wait to find out if Jeanine,Justin and Josie, finds out who murder the treasure hunter? Great interview Susan and Lena. God bless you both.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

Tracy Bishop said...

I am so excited for you and look forward to the book and the sequel!

Susan Lyttek said...

Soccer, and a championship soccer ball, play a big part in the story. It what unusual ways do you think a soccer ball could be used?

Susan Lyttek said...

Thank you, Lena, for interviewing me on your blog! It's been fun.

Mary Preston said...

I home schooled my daughter for several years when she was too ill to attend school. At times it was 'murder'.

Mary P


Cheri Swalwell said...

Thanks for this opportunity. Looks like a great book.

In Him,

Cheri :)

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

LadySaotome said...

I love the tone and voice in that opening page. Sounds very fun. Especially as I was a homeschooled air force brat. ;)

Jean said...

This sounds like an intriguing book! Would love it!

Jean Kropid
West Palm Beach, FL

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Sarah said...

Enter me!!!

Pam K. said...

I'm a former army wife who homeschooled briefly (one semester) so that gives me a connection to this book. I'm interested in reading it and would love to win a copy. It's also fun to discover new authors.


Marianne Barkman said...

i love that you added Jelly as one of the characters. i would love to win. Thanks for that chance, and for the great interview!

Marianne from northern Alberta


Hannah said...

I loved the interview!
Hannah P

Sandy Salsbury said...

We're on Move #17 (in 28 yrs of marriage)and not even in the military, but I'd love to read your book. Homeschooled for awhile, too.

Sandy from Viriginia

Veronica Sternberg said...

I love mysteries! I'm in MN.

holdenj said...

Looks like a fun cross between cozy and inspirational. Thanks for the intro and chance to win.
Julie in MN