My guest today is Susan Frances. Born in
and raised in eastern Brooklyn, New York 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 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. New York University
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
to America 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. England
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?
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!
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