Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with mystery author Susan Santangelo

Today we get to learn a bit about mystery author Susan Santangelo and her newest novel.

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Susan! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m an early member of the Baby Boomer generation, and I’ve been a feature writer, drama critic, and editor for daily and weekly newspapers in the New York metropolitan area, including a stint at Cosmopolitan magazine. I’ve also been involved in public relations and marketing for years, and I produced special events for Carnegie Hall’s centennial.

I’m a member of Sisters in Crime and the Cape Cod Writers Center, and I also review mysteries for Suspense Magazine, which is a lot of fun. I divide my time between Cape Cod, MA and the Connecticut shoreline, and share my life with my husband Joe and two English cocker spaniels, Tucker and Boomer.

A portion of the sales from the Baby Boomer Mysteries is donated to the Breast Cancer Survival Center, a non-profit organization based in Connecticut which I co-founded in 1999 after being diagnosed with cancer myself. The Baby Boomer Mysteries include Retirement Can Be Murder(first in the series) and Moving Can Be Murder, which was released in May 2011. I’m currently at work on the third book in the series, Marriage Can Be Murder.

Please tell us about your current release, Murder Can Be Murder.
Empty nester Carol Andrews would prefer leaving her beautiful antique home in Fairport, Connecticut, “feet first” to selling it and moving on. But her Beloved Husband Jim convinces her that a nearby “active adult” community is a better fit for them at this time of life. The house sells, and Carol returns alone the night before the closing for a “pity party” farewell tour. And discovers the dead body of the buyer in her living room. Wow. Talk about seller’s remorse!

What inspired you to write this book?
The whole Baby Boomer mystery series was inspired by situations those of us who have reached a certain level of “maturity” are required to face. Including my husband and me. Retirement and its emotional aftermath inspired the first book. The impact of downsizing and selling the family home inspired the second book. Fortunately, so far, we haven’t discovered any dead bodies, though!

What exciting story are you working on next?
The third book in the series (there are seven planned) is Marriage Can Be Murder, which will feature a destination wedding on Nantucket. I’m not saying whose, though!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written, even when I was in grammar school. By the time I got to high school, I was writing for the school newspaper on a regular basis. And in college, I got to write a satirical column commenting on campus life, called Sine Qua Non. The column was written anonymously. I had a ball with it. And I have to admit, that when I went back to my college for a recent reunion and looked at some of those old columns, my writing style hadn’t changed that much over the years. So I’m either a case of arrested development, or someone who found her voice very early. Readers get to pick which one is correct!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’m not a very disciplined writer. I suppose I shouldn’t confess that, but it’s true. I try to write every morning, but if the scene or the dialogue isn’t flowing, I give myself permission to leave the computer for a while, go out “into the world,” and get inspired. I’m a terrible eavesdropper, and I get some of my best story ideas and dialogue from standing in line at the supermarket checkout.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need to know that my dogs are nearby. They think everything I do is great. Sometimes I need that unconditional approval. Maybe all of us do.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer. That is, if I couldn’t be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall or star in a Broadway musical.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If anyone reading this is thinking of writing an article, an essay, a memoir, a novel, my advice is to just go for it. Do it for yourself. And if someone else likes it, that’s a bonus. I write for myself first. If other people like what I’ve written, what a gift that is! I am so blessed.

Thanks for stopping by today, Susan. Your mysteries sound like a lot of fun.

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