Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Interview with mystery author Susan M. Boyer

Author Susan M. Boyer is here today chatting with me about her new Southern mystery, Lowcountry Book Club: A Liz Talbot Mystery #5.

Susan M. Boyer is the USA Today-bestselling author of Lowcountry Boil, Lowcountry Bombshell, and Lowcountry Boneyard. She has received various awards for her series, including the Agatha Award for Best First Novel; the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense; and SIBA Alliance Okra Picks for Spring 2015 and Summer 2016. Lowcountry Boneyard is a Finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mainstream Mystery/Suspense. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns. She lives in Greenville, SC with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.

Welcome, Susan. Please tell us about your current release.
Who would have pushed Shelby Poinsett out of her second-story library window if it wasn't her husband? Private investigator Liz Talbot and her husband Nate Andrews are hired by a prestigious Charleston law firm to prove the innocence of Shelby's husband. There’s a lot of suspects, including the members of a 100-year-old, invite-only book club whose members are a tight-knit community of Charleston's genteel ladies. Liz is convinced that one of these women knows what happened to Shelby that night.

What inspired you to write this book?
Shortly after the release of Lowcountry Boneyard, I was invited to visit a book club quite unlike any I’d ever been to before. Some aspects of the book club I use in Lowcountry Book Club were inspired by this very unique organization. Other aspects are complete figments of my imagination, of course.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m in the planning and outlining stages for the next Liz Talbot mystery, which will release next year.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In my mind there was a distinction between being a writer and being an author. I considered myself a writer when I started writing with the goal of publication. I considered myself an author when I held a copy of my first novel in my hands.

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?
Yes, but it depends on whether I’m writing or launching a book. On a writing day, I take my second cup of coffee with me to the computer. I check email and respond to any Facebook or Twitter messages. Then I try to avoid all distractions and write until lunchtime. During lunch, I’m still partially in my alternate reality, thinking about the story. Then it’s back to work until my stomach starts growling for dinner. In the evening I check in with social media again and try to relax. I usually read in the evening. I try to work in exercise when I can. Lately I’ve been trying to go in the mornings before I start work. It’s hard, because I have no self-discipline whatsoever.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure this qualifies as a quirk. There may be a diagnosis code for it. But, under deadline pressure, I write best in a Hampton Inn (no other hotel will work) with absolutely no view of anything remotely interesting and a desk facing a neutral toned wall. I get up in the morning, go down for breakfast (and ask that they make up the room during that time) then go to work. I take a break periodically and pace the hall of whatever floor I’m on to get my steps in and work out plot problems. Sometimes I talk to myself during these strolls. Housekeeping staff, if they’re around, give me concerned looks. For lunch I eat something odd from the hotel shop. I snack on Lindor truffles and nuts. Dinner is whatever someone will deliver, often some variety of Asian food or Pizza. I basically isolate myself in my alternate reality until I’ve birthed a book.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be Nancy Drew. Or an actress. Or Miss America. For a while I wanted to be a lawyer. But I always wrote. It was just something I did.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Y’all please come over to my website (http://www.susanmboyerbooks.com) and sign up for my newsletter. (Home page, scroll down to bottom right. Be sure to respond to the verification email.)

I only send them when a new book is coming out (or if some wildly improbable, wonderful thing happened) so I won’t be cluttering up your inbox, and I never share email addresses. Occasionally, I have giveaways just for newsletter subscribers.


Thanks for being here today, Susan! Happy writing.

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