Thursday, August 23, 2012

New interview with mystery author Susan Santangelo

Mystery author Susan Santangelo is back to tell us about her newest novel, Marriage Can Be Murder: Every Wife Has a Story. You can read about last year's novel, first, if you like.

Welcome back, Susan. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
An early member of the Baby Boomer generation, Susan Santangelo has 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. A seasoned public relations and marketing professional, she has designed and managed not-for-profit events and programs for over 25 years, and was principal of her own public relations firm, Events Unlimited, in Princeton NJ for ten years. She also served as Director of Special Events and Volunteers for Carnegie Hall during the Hall's 1990-1991 Centennial season.   

Susan divides her time between Cape Cod MA and the Connecticut shoreline. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Cape Cod Writers Center, and also reviews mysteries for Suspense magazine. She shares her life with her 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 Susan founded in 1999 after being diagnosed with cancer herself.

Please tell us about your current release, Marriage Can Be Murder.
Nantucket Stars in Baby Boomer Whodunnit

West Dennis, MA, July 15, 2012 – It’s no mystery why popular Cape Cod author Susan Santangelo, who pens the best-selling Baby Boomer mysteries, chose Nantucket as the setting for the third book in her series, Marriage Can Be Murder. “I’ve always loved Nantucket,” she says, “and I have many friends who either live here full-time or summer here. When I was plotting out this book, I wanted to feature a destination wedding. Nantucket was the only place I considered. If I were a bride, it would be my number one choice!”
            The humorous Baby Boomer mysteries capture common issues facing the 78.2 million Baby Boomers, now in their 50s and 60s, how relationships change and communication breaks down with each other and with their grown children. The series follows typical boomers Carol and Jim Andrews as they navigate their way along life’s rocky path toward their twilight years.
            The first two Baby Boomer mysteries -- Retirement Can Be Murder and Moving Can Be Murder – have received five-star reviews and been suggested for a television series by national critics.
            Book Three of the series, Marriage Can Be Murder, brings the Andrews family to Nantucket. Carol is thrilled when daughter Jenny announces her engagement. She’s dreamed of planning her daughter’s wedding since the day Jenny was born. But with only two months to pull together a destination wedding on Nantucket, Jenny insists on hiring Cinderella Weddings to organize the event. Father-of-the-bride Jim objects to the cost, and Carol objects to having her opinion ignored. When Carol finds the wedding planner dead at the bottom of a spiral staircase at a Nantucket inn, and the husband of Carol’s BFF Nancy is accused of her death, Carol has more to worry about than getting to the church on time!

What inspired you to write this book?
The Baby Boomer mystery series is my way of depicting the issues facing the 78.2 million Baby Boomers in the United States. The first was retirement, the second was down-sizing and moving. Then I decided to tackle the wedding of an adult child – something most of us go through at one time or another. Just for fun, I made it a destination wedding. And, of course, I had to throw in one dead body!

What’s the next writing project?
The next book in the series will be about a high school reunion. I’m toying with the title of Memories Can Be Murder, but I’d like to come up with something a little more schmaltzy than that. I like to start with a title, and a blurb. Both go through many changes as the story develops, however.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
I always start with the dead body. When you read any of my books, a reader is introduced to the victim within the first ten paragraphs. In Book 1, the victim was identified immediately. But in the second and third books, I had a body and no idea who it was. I kept writing and writing and finally figured out who it had to be. That’s a challenge for me, but I enjoy writing that way. It’s fun.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
I don’t do a lot of research. After all, I’m living the life of a Boomer, as are all my friends. The topics we talk about are the topics that usually end up in the books. But when the first draft is complete, I always have to go back and fill in gaps. I like the mystery to be completely logical. (Unlike me!)

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I’ve discovered that it’s very important for me to write in front of a window with lots of light and a view of the water, rather than at a regular desk. Fortunately, living on Cape Cod and also spending time on the Connecticut shoreline, I don’t have any trouble finding space that fits that criteria. And I also like to write with one of my dogs, usually Boomer, near me. Since he’s the cover model for the books, I value his opinion.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I love Donna Andrews, Rosemary Harris, Roberta Isleib, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Carolyn Hart, Joan Hess, Lois Winston – I could go on and on. There are so many talented writers today, and I wish I had more time to read.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Just a big thank you to you for hosting me on your blog, and to all the readers who’ve supported my books. Oh, and Boomer, who’s nudging me, says “Woof” from him, too. 

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews, Susan. Let us know when your next novel is out!

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