Monday, August 14, 2017

THE COPPER BOX - Suzanne J Bratcher - One Free Book

Welcome, Suzanne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
That’s a little hard to answer because as I’m writing I don’t think I’m putting myself in. As I write, I put myself into the character’s head and try to think like I would if I were that person facing that dilemma. But when I look back a finished piece, I see bits of myself in all the characters, whether it’s a thought I’ve had, an experience I’ve been through, or someone I knew in years past. It’s especially interesting to see bits of myself in a villain!

I don’t think I’ve ever put a bit of me in a villain. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I took sabbatical year from teaching to write a book about grading papers. While I was doing that I apprenticed as a piano tuner. I really loved the repair part of that work and would have liked to switch careers. But I realized one year wasn’t enough to learn the business, and I learned enough about teaching and learning from my apprenticeship that I returned to teaching with an entirely new attitude.

When did you first discover you were a writer?
The third grade. I had written little stories before that, but that year I read a child’s biography of Louisa May Alcott, and I recognized my inner self in her. That’s when I knew I was a writer.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read a lot of nonfiction. When I was writing The Copper Box I read several books about antique furniture and its repair. I’m reading a nonfiction book by Marva Dawn right now called Being Well When We’re Ill: Wholeness and Hope in Spite of Infirmity. It’s a reflective book on dealing with chronic illness with God’s help. It’s giving me a lot to think about with my multiple sclerosis. As far as fiction goes, I love mysteries and romantic suspense. I’m branching out now and reading romances (Christian) for the first time in my life. I want to learn how to put more romance in my own stories.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
That’s been a tough one for me. Because of my multiple sclerosis I’ve been forced to drop out of the run, run, run world. Now I struggle with guilt because I have to say “no” to more things than I can say “yes” to. That’s one of the issues Marva Dawn’s book is helping me with. Her chapter is called “Unproductivity-the Mysterious Workings of God.” I’m learning that when I let go and let God, the things God wants me to do get done on God’s timetable. It’s hard because I’ve always been an overachiever and running at the head of the pack. It’s a wonderful lesson though. When I feel overwhelmed by how far behind everyone else is I lie down, close my eyes, and do a very slow meditation on Psalm 46:10a “Be still and know that I am God.”

Those words have carried me through many things. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have three resources: one is a Writer’s Digest book called Character Name Sourcebook. Names are listed by nationality with the meaning for each name. I look for tag names that fit the personality of the character. The second is online lists of popular baby names by year. I figure out what year the character was born and look to see what names parents favored that year. The third source is the Bible. In The Copper Box, Marty is short for “Martha” because she was the oldest child and very work oriented. Paul is named for the Apostle Paul because my character must learn to take the Apostle’s advice to forget the past and run the race Jesus is calling him to.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Starting the Northern Arizona Writing Project (NAWP). It was a public school writing-across-the-curriculum effort based on a partnership between two departments at Northern Arizona University (English-me and Education-Beth Strobe) and the public schools in our area (Vaughn Delp from Prescott Unified School District). Every summer we gathered teachers from all grades and disciplines and wrote together. Then from our experiences of our own writing, we looked at how to teach writing. It changed all of us. First, it made us writers so we were more careful with our students as writers. Second, it made us realize what a complex process writing is so we had to think very seriously about grading our students’ efforts. I really found my writing voice working with NAWP. It lasted for ten or twelve years and affected countless teachers and students (including my own). I think it made us all more compassionate teachers.

That’s wonderful. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I would be a turkey vulture. They fly the highest of all the birds by riding wind currents. Airplane pilots have spotted them as high as 20,000 feet. Obviously they’re not hunting up there, they’re just enjoying the wind. Their faces aren’t beautiful close up, but when I see one soaring above me, I think they’re beautiful and I wish I could be up there too.

What is your favorite food?
Blueberry cheesecake: the real New York style with fresh blueberries

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest problem has been (and continues to be) the neurological fatigue that’s part of multiple sclerosis. I used to be a very scheduled person (a teacher has to be), but now I have to go with the ebb and flow of my energy. It’s particularly challenging because each day is a bit different. I used to get up and write two hours early in the morning and then two more hours later in the day. Mornings are very slow for me, so now I find myself writing in the afternoon or even at night and two hours is my absolute max. I can’t say I’ve overcome it, but I’m learning to trust God. I truly believe God wants me to write my stories, so I pray before I sit down to write and go as long as I can and then stop. As a result I’m a very slow writer, but I’ve decided that’s okay. Jesus welcomed the “halt and the lame.”

Tell us about the featured book.
I call The Copper Box mystery shot with suspense and sprinkled with romance. It’s set in Jerome, Arizona: the largest ghost town in America. Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw goes to Jerome to face the horror that haunts her dreams: did she kill her little sister twenty-two years ago. Historian Paul Russell is in Jerome to face his own horror: was the car crash that killed his wife his fault? Their lives become intertwined when an old lady dies on a long staircase in a dusty Victorian house. As they search the house for a small copper box Marty believes will unlock her memory and the mystery of her grandmother’s death, dangerous accidents begin to happen. Someone else wants the copper box, someone willing to commit murder to get it. As Marty and Paul face the shadows in the house and in their lives they must learn to put the past behind and run the race God is calling them to.

Sounds like a wonderful read. It’s on the top of my to-be-read pile. I’ll read it as soon as I finish the book I’m reading now. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Readers can find me on my website at, on Facebook at, on Amazon at, on Twitter @AuthorBratcher

Thank you, Suzanne, for allowing me to feature this book on my blog. I love your book's cover.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Copper Box - Paperback
The Copper Box - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (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.

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Melanie Backus said...

Nothing like a good mystery . Thank you, Lena.

Melanie Backus, TX

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Melanie-I've loved mysteries since Nancy Drew days :)

VanG said...

Suzanne is a new author to me, and I would love to win a copy of her book. It sounds intriguing! 😊

VanG said...

Oops...failed to add this
VanG in North Carolina

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good page turning mystery I would enjoy for end of summer reading!
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in New York

Vivian Furbay said...

The Copper Box sounds like a good ready with interesting characters. Hope I can win a copy/

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me!
Abigail in VA

Kay Garrett said...

THE COPPER BOX sounds like an amazing book. Suzanne Bratcher is a new author to me but I'd love to get to know her through reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
2clowns at arkansas dot net
from Mountain View, AR

Paula Shreckhise said...

Wow! Sounds so good! Count me in ! Paula from Missouri.
Sorry for your health challenges but glad you are learning to overcome. Thanks

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Van,
It was fun to write! I set myself a puzzle and then had to solve. Blessings, Suzanne

Bonnie Engstrom said...

Hi, Suzanne! I would love to win The Copper Box, especially since I also live in AZ and our son graduated from NAU. However, I've never been to Jerome.

Bonnie from Scottsdale

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Anonymous, I did my best to make it a page turner. Writing cliff hangers at the end of a scene is a skill!

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Abigail, You're entered!

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Bonnie, I hope you win too! Even if you don't, take a Saturday and drive up to Jerome. I bet you'll fall in love with it like I did.

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Kay, I'm a new author! I've been writing for a long time and published lots of nonfiction, but The Copper Box is my first mystery to be published.

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Paula, Thanks for the encouragement! The older I get and the more people I meet, I realize everyone faces challenges. Life is an adventure, but it's not an easy one.

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Vivian, The characters were interesting to work with. It's a cliche, but they became real people to me. I'm looking forward to writing more about them.

EJ said...

Just like Suzanne, my roots will always be in AZ - I'm a 3rd generation Arizonan now living in the Midwest. I look forward to reading this book, after reading the review I can picture Jerome, AZ in my mind. Elaine from Wisconsin

lilac grandma said...

Please enter me! loved learning about why you write! Ontario Canada

Lourdes said...

Oh yeah nothing better than our NY Cheesecake, looking forward to read this book. Thank you for the giveaway.

Lourdes Long Island, NY

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Elaine, I was a transplanted Arizonan, but my daughter is the real thing. She was born and grew up in Flagstaff and now lives in Phoenix. Even though I now live in Arkansas, I often spend Christmas in Arizona. I love the desert in winter!

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Lilac Grandma, I love your nickname! You're entered for sure.

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Lourdes, When I was growing up and aunt and uncle lived on Long Island. I really enjoyed going to visit. I don't know where I first had NY cheesecake, but wherever it was, I fell in love.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I enjoy mysteries and this sounds very intriguing. Thanks for sharing.
Connie from KY

kam110476 said...

Hi Suzanne & Lena! The Copper Box sounds very intriguing, and set in a ghost town no less! I can't wait to read this one!
Kristen in OK

Lori said...

what a great interview. This book sounds like one of those "I cant put it down"
would love to try this author
quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Connie from KY, I was born in Louisville while my dad was at Southern Seminary. We moved to Texas when I was 5, but I came back to the University of Louisville to do a Master's degree in education. My brother and his family live in Lexington. Three cheers for KY!

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Kristen, If you're interested in what Jerome looks like there's a good video on Youtube called Ghost Town! Jerome. Enjoy.

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Lori, I'm guessing from your email address that you're a quilter. I am too. I do everything by machine. I love the piecing. I used to machine quilt but now I've discovered a woman with a long arm machine who does wonderful work. I'm just about finished with a quilt called Japanese scrappy road.

Cindy W. said...

I love mystery, suspense, and romance so this book sounds perfect for me. I also love the cover of the book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Cindy W. in Indiana

Library Lady said...

What a unique title for your book. I can't wait to see what the inside of it is like.
Janet E.

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Cindy, I share your love of mystery, romance, and suspense. It's been a fun journey learning how to write the kind of stories I like to read. I like the cover too! Diane Turpin (Mantle Rock Publishing) designed it.

Suzanne J. Bratcher said...

Hi Library Lady, I'm really glad you like the title. I went through several before settling on this one. It's amazing how hard it is to come up with an intriguing title.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Melissa M. said...

This looks like a neat book!

Melissa from TN