Help me welcome my friend Susan Bernhardt, (a fellow MuseItUp author) to Tuesday Author Chats. Her third cozy is out!
Thank you, Marsha for having me on Author Chats and for helping to celebrate my new mystery, Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3).
How many books/short stories do you have out right now? Did you work with the same publisher on all?
Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3) is my third full length novel. All three mysteries in the series were published by MuseItUp Publishing. I also have a short story October 31st published by Long Story Short, that I would like to expand into a full length novel.
Would you consider Indie Publishing?
Yes. I am currently writing A Manhattan Murder Mystery that I plan to self-publish hopefully next year.
What’s your latest release? Tell us a bit about it. Is it a part of a series?
Murder by Fireworks was published on November 24. It is the third in the Kay Driscoll mysteries.
An obnoxious member of Kay’s book club is found dead on the beach. When Kay investigates, she discovers that the death, covered-up to look like suicide, was in fact murder.
Because of Books 1 and 2 in the series The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree having been chosen as book reads for the Cozy Mystery Book Society, they have been reduced for the first time to $3.95. This is a great opportunity for readers to find out what Kay Driscoll the protagonist has been up to before reading the third mystery.
Are all of your books stand-alones?
All of the Kay Driscoll mysteries are stand-alones, but as in all series, it is best to begin with Book 1 as the characters do evolve.
What can you say you’ve learned about the process between selling your first book and the most recent release? Has anything gotten easier?
Marketing never gets easier. Lol! What I’ve learned is that everything comes down to working hard. Writing, selling yourself, marketing is all persistence and perseverance.
How do you manage the time you have to spend on social media?
It seems like I am always on social media. I spend a lot of time on Facebook marketing. I belong to a number of cozy mystery groups. I enjoy Pinterest and have quite a few boards on there. When I begin writing in January on a regular basis, I’ll have to stay with a schedule of an hour of social media in the early morning and an hour in the evening.
What is next for you?
My WIP is A Manhattan Murder Mystery. I’m having a great time researching and writing this mystery. The main story is about Irina, a retired ballet dancer living in Manhattan who runs a ballet studio for young children. A normally healthy neighbor becomes ill over time, dies, and Irina sets out to prove it wasn’t from natural causes. There’s a bit about Lithuania in the Cold War, subplots include a lover from the Irina’s college years at NYU who suddenly reenters her life and a stranger obsessed with Irina who moves into her neighborhood on the Upper West Side.
This sounds delightful, Susan. I can hardly wait.
Now for the fun stuff.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
My husband just said that I’m always writing…lol. I love to travel!!! My husband retired the end of October, so I hope we get to travel more. I walk 3 miles every morning weather permitting, otherwise in the winter, I walk on our treadmill. I enjoy going out with my friends and family. I have an adorable grandson I like to spend time with. I read, cook, bicycle, volunteer, work with stained-glass.
You are one busy lady!
If you could only eat three foods what would they be and why?
Pizza is my absolute favorite food. I could eat it everyday. Thai food. I love curries and most Thai dishes. Chocolate. I could never live without chocolate.
What would you like to do other than writing if talent/skill didn’t matter?
I would love to be able to play the piano well. I’ve taken lessons a couple times and quit for various reasons. I play guitar chords on our piano with my left hand and “finger pick” on my right. Lol!
Well, I’m impressed!
Where is your favorite vacation spot and why?
London, England. That is one of the places my husband and I are discussing right now. I love London. We’ve been there several times. There’s so much to see and do. It has an incredibly, comfortable feel and is easy to get around. My husband wants to go somewhere new.
If you go to London, maybe Helena Fairfax can come down and y’all can meet in person. It’s so fun to do that with an online friend.
Please share the blurb, an excerpt for your most recent release, book cover, bio & your picture, and links to tell us where we can find you.
Wedding bells are in the air, and so is murder.
Kay Driscoll’s son’s wedding reception for two hundred guests is in her backyard. As if that wasn’t enough, a precocious and troubled twelve-year-old is foisted on her two days before the wedding. When the happy day arrives, one of the guests disrupts the event and is asked to leave: a womanizing member of Kay’s book club.A few days later, after a Fourth of July fireworks show, he is found dead on the beach. Kay and her ever-present friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, investigate the death, which at first is declared a suicide. They believe this is a cover-up and go about to prove their theory, an arduous task because the potential suspects are many, and few (if any) will regret the victim’s death.
“What else could I have said, Kay?” Phil followed me into the kitchen. “He sounded desperate.”
I ran my hands through my short pixie style hair. “You could have said no. You could have said that your oldest son was getting married in two days and that the reception is here, for two hundred people. You could have said that!”
Phil grimaced. “Loren’s in the hospital. He’s my cousin. He has no one else to take care of his daughter while he’s recuperating from surgery.”
I started clearing the breakfast dishes from the table. “Since when are you so chummy? We’ve only seen him once at your aunt and uncle’s since we’ve been here, over a year now. And what about them, his parents? His sister? They’re available. They’re coming to the wedding.”
Phil took a plate off of the table and handed it to me. “They don’t get along. Loren said they think Janey’s odd. Freaky.”
I threw my hands up into the air in surrender. Then folded my arms. “And she’s coming here? When is she coming?”
Phil looked at his watch. “In thirty minutes.”
Susan’s town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of her novels. Like Kay Driscoll in her cozy mysteries, The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree, Susan is a retired nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. She lives with her husband, William, and has two sons, Peter and David.An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. and the Wisconsin Writers Association. Her published works include: The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1), Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2), “October 31st”, “Midsummer”, and “John and Madeline.”When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained-glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.
Murder by Fireworks, Murder Under the Tree and The Ginseng Conspiracy can be purchased on: Amazon, iTunes/iBooks, MuseItUp Publishing, Barnes and Noble.