I’m thrilled to welcome Susie Black, whose latest book in her Holly Swimsuit cozy mystery series recently launched. Susie, congratulations on Death by Pins and Needles! So exciting! We are eager to hear all about it, but first, let’s learn more about you.
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series? SUSIE: As a young child I was given the Mary Jane series and The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew series from my mother-these were her books when she was a child, so they were of course, quite special to me. When I was older, hands down, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series were my favorites. I also loved the biography of Amelia Earhart.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
SUSIE: I enjoy reading books in the mystery genre in general, but gravitate towards the same type of books I write -- humorous cozy mysteries.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write?
SUSIE: Actually, it was at a rather young age. I can remember writing short stories in the third grade. In junior high, high school, and college, I was a reporter and wrote for the school newspapers. I was ultimately made the Editor-in-Chief of all three.
Oh, wow! Bravo!
And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
SUSIE: While writing the daily journal entries that chronicled the interesting people I encountered and the crazy things I got myself into and out of during my career as a ladies’ apparel sales exec was when I knew I wanted to turn my experiences into books.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
SUSIE: My first column as the Editor-in-Chief of my high school newspaper.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you.
SUSIE: The creative force within me is how I see the world. That is why I write in the first person. So, it is my voice that the readers hear in their heads when they read my books.
The way you see the world, then, is with a wry and wonderful humor.
What inspires you to write, to create?
SUSIE: I am a people person. People are utterly fascinating and are my inspiration to write and create. I can sit for an hour in the mall food court or an airport departure lounge and people watch and come up with hundreds of stories about the folks I observe.
6) What’s your writing space like?
SUSIE: I have commandeered our family room as my writing space. I have a large-screen computer on a computer desk adjacent to a copier, a TV, and a stereo. If the writing is going well, I listen to either jazz or rock N’ roll oldies. But if I am struggling, I find music a distraction and turn it off. We live in the southern California desert on a golf course. I can look out the window onto the fairway and watch the hapless duffers whack away or observe the ducks and geese in the water hazard lounging around for comic relief. It is a very peaceful atmosphere and always gets my creative juices flowing.
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write?
SUSIE: I don’t have a set daily schedule or a set number of hours a day to write. I try hard to write at least something every day, but candidly, life often gets in the way of the best-laid plans…That said, I can tell you that I rarely write in the morning. I am a night owl and often do my most productive writing late into the wee hours.
Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
SUSIE: Before I sit down to write, I make sure there is a full pot of fresh coffee brewed and keep a jar of mixed nuts next to the computer. When I am plotting, I step away from the computer and walk. Some people do their best thinking in the shower or the car. I do my best thinking while walking.
8) Time to talk about your latest release (rubbing hands together)! But first, how did you come up with the idea for the Holly Swimsuit Mystery series?
SUSIE: I came up with the idea for the series based on my career. My protagonist’s name is Holly and she is a successful ladies’ swimwear sales exec in the Los Angeles area and an amateur sleuth. Holly is the me I always wanted to be. My journal is the source of all my writing all my characters are based on real people I have crossed paths in my apparel career.
Are there any interesting tidbits you’d care to share with us?
SUSIE: I inherited my maternal grandmother’s love of perfume, jewelry, taking chances, speaking my mind, a wicked sense of humor, and regrettably, her fear of death that we both nervously compensated with by laughing whenever we heard someone died. I incorporated this weird trait into my Holly Swimsuit Mystery series by giving Holly Schlivnik, the protagonist, the same affliction and response to death.
9) Now let’s hear about Death by Pins and Needles!
SUSIE: Set in the heart of the competitive Los Angeles Apparel Industry, Death by Pins and Needles is the story of one ruthless woman who didn’t care who she had to step on to get to the top. Lissa Charney is the showroom manager of a ladies’ swimwear line in the California Apparel Mart. Since Lissa didn’t think any of the rules applied to her, she had no problem breaking them all. From job stealing to dumping a boyfriend when he needed her the most, selfish and self-centered Lissa’s list of enemies rivaled those of Al Capone. So, when Lissa is murdered, no one on the swimwear aisle was particularly surprised…the only surprise was what had taken so long.
10) I comprehend that you’ve just recently published a book. I know what that takes. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have anything waiting in the wings?
SUSIE: I do. After Death by Pins and Needles is released, I have three more new books that will be published this year, ninety days apart. I also have one half-completed manuscript that candidly should have been finished long ago, but kept getting pushed to the back of the “to do” pile. I have vowed to finish writing this one and submit it to my editor by the end of this year.
11) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
SUSIE: Yes, actually, two things: First, I want to thank you for hosting me on your blog and giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and my books to your followers. Second, on behalf of all authors, I’d like to ask your readers to please consider writing and posting a review for the books they read. Reviews are the life blood of all authors. Word of mouth is the most effective way to have the light of approval shined on our works. If readers aren’t quite sure how to write a review, I have a terrific guide to point everyone in the right direction. E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll gladly send out a copy.
As a fellow author, I thank you for your request on our behalf. Susie, thank you for spending time with us. It's a pleasure to host you and I love your latest book. Congratulations again!
And now, more of Death by Pins and Needles.
Who wanted Lissa Charney dead? The list was as long as your arm….but which one actually killed her?
The last thing Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected to find when she opened the closet door was nasty competitor Lissa Charney’s battered corpse nailed to the wall. When Holly’s colleague is wrongly arrested for Lissa’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth sticks her nose everywhere it doesn’t belong to sniff out the real killer. Nothing turns out the way she thinks it will as Holly matches wits with a heartless killer hellbent for revenge.
Death by Pins and Needles -- Excerpt!
I’d combed the place from one end to another and found no sign of Lissa. Where the Sam Hill was she? Not in the showroom. Not in her office. Not in the kitchen. Not in the copier room. In the ladies’ room? Abducted by aliens? Hiding in a closet? I was out of options and time; so, for giggles and squeaks, I pulled open the doors to the enormous sample closet that stretched across the back wall and peered inside. Good news. I found Lissa Charney.
A dozen swimsuits picture -framed Lissa’s battered, bloody corpse like a museum exhibit. Ringed with matching black and purplish-blue shiners, her wide-open, sightless eyes stared into space as though surprised by her situation. No kidding. That made two of us. I was no doctor, but you didn’t need a medical degree for this diagnosis. No need to take her pulse. One thing was for sure, Lissa Charney had made her last sales presentation.
Naturally, I burst out laughing.
About the Author
Named Best US Author of the Year by N. N. Lights Book Heaven, award-winning cozy mystery author Susie Black was born in the Big Apple but now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Fashion & Foul Play Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.
She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.
Looking for more? Contact Susie at:
I loved the Five Little Peppers. My maiden name was Schnepper and I liked to pretend the story was about my sisters and me. I even wrote additional Peppers stories of my own. Who knows where those ended up...thanks for a sweet reminder. Best of luck with the new book!
Kim, that’s so cute! So you started writing stories when you were little! It’s not surprising. 😊 Thank you for stopping by.
Enjoyed getting to know you better, Susie! This book is on my reading list. Wishing you all the best!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary!🌹
Hi Holly. Terrific interview, ladies. Holly, I absolutely love the concept of your new book and the title--of it and of Death by Sample Size. I can't wait to read this latest. On the basis of your first, i know it will be terrific! Looking forward to the next one. And your comment about leaving reviews? Too true. I hang my head in shame. I don't always think about leaving a review after reading. And as an author myself, I know how important it is. I promise to try to do better :)
Hi, Barb! Writing reviews - I can empathize. I think sometimes as authors we sometimes feel we must write a brilliantly worded review when really just a few positive words will be more than appreciated.
This sounds as much fun as your last book. Best of luck with sales!
It really is fun! Thanks so much for stopping by, Ilona!🌹
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