Susan Frances, Author of The King Maker, Talks Writing & Offers #Giveaway

My guest today is Susan Frances. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island, she always enjoyed writing, and contributed to her high school literary magazine, The Lion’s Pen. Influenced by writers of epic novels including Colleen McCullough and James Clavell, she gravitated to creative writing. After graduating from New York University with a BA in Liberal Arts, she tried her hand at conventional jobs but always returned to creative writing. Since 1998, she’s been a freelance writer and have contributed thousands of articles to various e-zines. Her latest romance novel, TheKing Maker, is published by Champagne Books.

Anne – Welcome to the Muriel Reeves Mysteries, Susan. Let’s begin with something personal. Do you have a fear, phobia, or habit you’d rather no one knew about?

Susan - I suppose I have the same fears and phobias as everyone else--contracting a deadly disease, losing my family, becoming homeless and alone, being the victim of a crime, which come to think of it, was the impetus for my novel The King Maker. As for habits that I keep from people, I’m really an open book. One habit that I’d like to kick is keeping one leg in a situation and the other one out of it. I’m always ready to jump ship whether it’s a job, a friendship, or any other type of commitment. I suppose it’s because I’ve been burned so many times by friends, employers, and so on that I don’t trust like I once did. The benefit about writing fiction is I can have the characters break out of this habit, which is therapeutic for me.

Anne - When did you first realize you were destined to be a mystery/suspense writer?

Susan - I first realized I was destined to be a mystery/suspense writer when I wrote a make-believe story in the 4th grade about a haunted house that my friends and I found while we explored a wooded area in our neighborhood, which was prohibited to us. We snuck inside and heard strange noises coming from the basement. We discovered that a brood of jewelry thieves used the place as a hideout. I suppose the story was inspired by Disney’s film adaptation of Mary Stewart’s “The Moon-Spinners” and the TV series “The Nancy Drew Mysteries,” which were my earliest memories of aspiring sleuths. The only difference between my mystery and these is in mine the investigation kindles a romance between the hero Cullen Danes and the heroine Nina Holt

Anne - Tell us about your book.

Susan - Set in modern times, The King Maker is the story of British Aviation investigator Cullen Danes who is compelled to find his friend, Steve McKenna’s killer. The clues lead him to a credit card fraud ring that has been using his friend as a courier to smuggle stolen card credits from America to England using airports owned by an elite consortium. His prying questions at the International Aviation Conference cause members of the ring to grow concerned about what McKenna may have revealed to Cullen about their operation before he died. When Cullen’s life is in danger, it’s Nina Holt, a hostess at the conference who comes to his rescue. Together, they assist Scotland Yard’s Lieutenant Bruhn in uncovering the crime ring’s modus operandi, in addition to discovering a love they want to explore further. Nina must chose to take a leap of faith and go with Cullen or stay behind with her family. The King Maker, however, must decide if Nina and Cullen need to be eliminated or would their deaths draw Bruhn closer to the ring’s illicit operations.

Anne - Of the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

Susan - The character that holds a special place in my heart is Callista Locke Kossich. The novel actually has two romances – the one between the hero and the heroine and another between the villain Thor Kossich and Congressman Locke’s daughter Callista. Thor and Callista’s bond evolve from their mutual wounds as Callista becomes the tragic figure which the book is titled after. She must rise above losing the love of her life and is compelled to keep Thor’s crime ring thriving. 

Anne - What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing? 

Susan - I was surprised to realize I have the capacity to recall information I collected while in college.  That material which was held in reserves in my memory bank gave the story depth and kept the action flowing.  Also, while writing the scenes it made me become in-tune to the characters sensory systems so I was describing what they saw, heard, smelled, felt, and thought about, which allows the reader to be a part of the story.

Anne - Tell us the defining moment when you felt as if you’d finally made it as an author.

Susan - I still think of myself as a work-in-progress as an author, but I can admit I felt like I made it when I found my book on the shelf of my local library. It gave me a sense of permanence and the motivation to continue writing novels.

Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?

Susan - Whatever niche you’re writing for find websites and yahoo groups that cater to that niche. They’ll make an excellent source to find publishing houses and book fairs that will promote your book. I would also advise new writers, myself included, to create a brand which people can affiliate to you such as using an avatar to help readers identify you online or a catchy slogan that is specific to you. I think romance author Barbara Cartland was known as the Pink Lady, which became her trademark, her signature and her legacy. It’s an image that people can relate to her, which assists in promotions.

Anne - If you could have tea or coffee with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Susan - I wish I could have tea with Princess Diana. I’d love to know what she saw in Prince Charles, and what really happened in the car accident that took her life. She’s the only one I’d trust to tell the truth.

Anne – Final question. Where can readers find you online?

Susan - At my Wordpress blog, on Blogger and on Tumblr

Anne – Thanks for dropping by, Susan. I’m excited to tell readers you’re offering a giveaway ecopy of The King Maker to one lucky commenter. All that’s required is to include an email addy. To avoid hackers please write it as <yourname AT gmail DOT com>. The winner will be announced here on July 31. Good luck!

To ensure you receive every Muriel Reeves Mysteries blog post, author interview, update, book giveaway and more, why not become a follower? It’s as easy as a click of the mouse. Until next time, happy reading!

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msspencerauthor said...

Good morning Susan! King Maker sounds fascinating--I love English mysteries. And when I was young, Mary Stewart. At my college interview I tried to talk big about studying history & biography, but the interviewer mentioned Mary Stewart--turned out she was a fan too & we talked for an hour! (Yes I was accepted). M. S. Spencer

Marilyn said...

I like what you said about remembering things you learned so many years ago. I have that gift, too....and use it in my writings.

hotcha12 said...

wonderful interview Susan, I'll have to add you to my list!

Susan Frances said...

Hi Meredith, yes Mary Stewart is one of my literary influences. I love her story "The Moon Spinners."

Hi Marilyn, isn't it amazing how information that rested in the back of your mind suddenly pop out at you while you're writing? I noticed this happens whenever I writer about criminals. Suddenly everything I've ever read in newspapers about criminals comes back at me during the writing process.

Hi Linda, I've checked out your mammoth list of favorite authors and romance sites. We have alot in co.mmon :)

Have a wonderful summer everyone

Marilyn Levinson said...

What an interesting topic for your mysteries. And what a coincidence--I, too, grew up in Brooklyn, until we moved to Long Island when I was in the ninth grade. Each move I've made brings me me further and further out on the Island.

Jake said...

Anne Thanks for link to comment. Would like to win, read & review after reading interview on your Blog. Always looking for new authors for TBR list.

Anne K. Albert said...

Congratulations, Hotcha12. You're the winner of Susan's giveaway draw. She'll be contacting you via email very soon to forward your prize.

Thanks to everyone for dropping by and welcoming Susan to the Muriel Reeves Mysteries.

Until next time, happy reading!