Much to her husband’s dismay, Susan loves to look at everyday situations and turn them into murder and mayhem scenarios for future novels. If you’ve met Susan, she has probably figured out a plausible way to kill you and get away with it. Don’t worry, she’d never follow through on it.
Susan currently lives in Oregon, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a realtor and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. In her spare time, you can find her enjoying her grandson, reading, gardening or working on TheSuspenseZone.com.
Susan is giving away a copy of her book, Dark Tide. To enter the drawing comment on the blog and be sure to leave your contact information.
Welcome to Suspense Sisters, Susan!
S.S: How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for 8 years or so.
S.S: Do you write full time? If the answer is no, what else do you do? If you are a full time author, what other jobs did you have in the past?
I am a fulltime author and I LOVE it. My first job started when I was young. My parents owned a grocery store and laundromat when I was growing up. They’d give all the grunt jobs—like cleaning grocery store coolers and washing machines to my brother, sister, and me. Not fun jobs I can tell you, but it taught all of us the value of hard work. I gradually moved up to cashier and worked all through college in another grocery store in the town where I went to school. Since then I’ve worked in management positions for major corporations and taught computers to elementary students.
S.S: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?
I never thought of myself as a real author until I signed my first book contract. And even then, I didn’t really believe it and was sure the editor was going to tell me she’d made a horrible mistake and changed her mind. She didn’t, but sadly the series was cancelled the month before my book was set to release. Wow, was I disappointed. But God had a plan for that book and when the line was revived in single titles, Nipped in the Bud finally came out. Did I feel like an author then? Yes, but only because, I had another book with a different publisher release the month before Nipped in the Bud and it made the ECPA Best Seller list. When I saw my name on a list with authors like Karen Kingsbury, Max Lucado, and Francine Rivers, I started to believe it. lol
S.S.: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author?
Without a doubt it’s my husband, Mark. Though my daughters are super supportive and my other family members have been very supportive and helpful with the sales of my books, my husband is the one in the trenches—cooking dinner and doing just about anything else I need done when on a deadline. In fact, he’s in the kitchen cooking right now so I can finish interviews. Also, he’s always believed I could write a book and succeed in this business. Never once in the many years when I completed manuscript after manuscript without garnering a book contract with a publisher, did he think I should quit. What a guy!
S.S: Why suspense? Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?
I write both suspense and mysteries, and my reason is quite simple. It’s what I love to read. A good suspense book keeps my attention and I can’t put it down. Though I enjoy reading well-written books in other genres, too, they don’t keep me riveted in the same way and I often lose interest and go back to the book at later date.
S.S: How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith is such an integral part of my life, I can’t separate it from what I do. I’m a Christian who writes novels so my books are all written from that perspective. My characters’ internal struggles always relate to a spiritual struggle they are experiencing. They work through their internal struggles in part by learning or employing a spiritual truth. Often the truth they learn is something I have struggled with or still struggle with in my own life. This is about to change, though, as I am writing a three book general market FBI series called Agents Under Fire. I will still be true to the principles that guide my life, but the books won’t carry a spiritual message. I’m very excited about this opportunity as it gives me a chance to broaden my readership and provide riveting suspense novels to people who don’t want to read pages filled with sex and profanity and yet don’t want the spiritual message.
S.S: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?
I love to do web design, though I’m a self-trained novice, and to create bookmarks and brochures so I think I’d go back to school for a graphic arts degree. I’ve always loved doing things like this. I remember when I would turn in my chemistry reports in high school, I’d get less than stellar grades because science is not my thing, but the teacher would give me high marks for the layout and design of my reports.
S.S: Tell us about your current release.
Dark Tide is the final book in the Justice Agency series. This five book series features five adopted siblings who work together in a family run private investigation business. Each book in the series features on of the siblings. Derrick Justice takes center stage in Dark Tide. His former girlfriend’s brother is murdered but the police won’t believe Gina. Catching a quick glimpse of the evidence her brother had gathered that ultimately got him killed, brings the same killers after her and her baby niece. And Gina’s only hope to stay alive is Derrick. Despite the painful memories with Gina, Derrick won’t fail her and her baby. Yet now, the woman he never stopped loving and the baby he’s come to adore are in a killer’s crosshairs. But can Derrick trap the cold-blooded murderer before he strikes again?
S.S: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
I’ve always wanted to do a story that included the Coast Guard so I researched the organization and learned of the amazing elite Pacific Area Tactical Law Enforcement Team. They deploy around the world on Navy vessels to curtail drug smuggling and pirating. Of course, Derrick works with his family as a private investigator so he couldn’t be in the Coast Guard so I decided to have the heroine’s brother serve in that capacity. And as they say, the rest was history and the story was born.
S.S: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
My verse for Dark Tide is - 2 Corinthians 12: 9- My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. This verse is very special to me as I have a chronic illness and have issues with physical pain and there are days when it’s almost too difficult to bear. But then I remember this verse and I remember that this suffering is really just the fire of a trial. Sometimes trials are part of lives so we can grow into who God wants us to be. We can either just go through it or grow through it. Derrick and Gina face this in the book. They have to choose to grow in their faith if they want to be together. I hope the reader is encouraged by this growth and see how helpful it is to embrace our struggles rather than fight them all the time. It’s only after we struggle that we can see how strong we are and more importantly how strong God is.
S.S: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
I connect with Gina the most. She’s been through such difficult times and yet she stays strong and keeps her faith. I admire that about her. And she grew up as a pastor’s daughter. Since my husband worked as a music minister for many, many years, I can understand how she feels just by watching my own children, the way our congregations treated them and the struggles being a PK created.
S.S: What are you working on now?
I am currently working on two different series which is a total of nine books. The first series is the Agents Under Fire a general market romantic suspense series. It features three female FBI agents who work on an elite cyber task force. Web of Deceit, the first book, will release in November of this year. I’m working on edits for this book and am writing the second book called Web of Shadows. The other series, a new six book series for Love Inspired Suspense—First Responders – Sworn to Protect and Serves—is about a strategic response team. The team is made up of two hostage negotiators, a bomb expert, a sniper, an EMT, and a team leader. They all live together in an old firehouse that has been remodeled into condos, but they also have a large common area where they gather together. I’m just finishing the first book in this series, which is tentatively titled Silent Night Showdown and will release in November of this year as well.
S.S: A tough question: Where do you want to be career-wise in five years? Ten years?
Assuming being a New York Times best selling author is off the table, I want to continue to have a solid writing career, writing suspense books. I know that sounds kind of simple, but career-wise my goal is to write the best books I can and make a decent living doing it. That means growing and learning as a writer. Finding out how many books I can write per year while remaining sane and having time for my family and hobbies. Trust me, this is a delicate balance when you’re writing five books per year and I want to get better at doing it all.
S.S: Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.
I recently realized I haven’t ridden a motorcycle. I must do that at some point. And I would love to have the perfect flower garden. Not that such a thing exists, but I enjoy working toward that goal.
S.S: What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
I’d have to say the hardest thing I’ve ever done is trust God and refuse to worry when my husband unexpectedly lost his job awhile back. I was unable to work do to health issues so we had no income. I mean ZERO income with one daughter still living at home. When most people get laid off they’re eligible to receive unemployment. But churches are exempt from paying into the unemployment fund, making him ineligible for any payments. We had a roof over our heads, but we didn’t know for how long. Still, we both decided that we would trust God to provide. And he did. First, with generous gifts from our fellow church members. Second, he provided a new job within six weeks, which, if you know how slow churches are to call workers, you know that was a miracle in itself. We had to move cross-country, but the senior pastor of the new church was so amazing, the church uplifting and healing, and, if that wasn’t enough, the job turned out to be the best one my husband ever held. All I can say is Praise God. He is faithful.
S.S.: Where can readers find you on the internet?
To learn more about me you can stop by any of these locations on the web.
Review Site www.TheSuspenseZone.com
S.S.: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?
Just a big thank you for hosting me on your great blog and thank you to the many readers out there who purchase not only my books, but all the wonderful books in the suspense genre.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Susan!