Today we welcome a special guest to the blog: Susan Boyer
Susan’s bio: Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist.
Denise: Hello Susan! We look forward to getting to know you better and finding out about your new book, Low Country Boil. What can you tell us about it?
Susan: Thank you so much for having me here today, Denise! My debut novel, which was released yesterday, is Lowcountry Boil, the first book in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series. Liz Talbot is a private investigator and a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer. She’s fit to be tied when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, so she opens her own. Then her best friend, who’s been dead fourteen years, pops in and things really get complicated. Stella Maris, the small town where Liz grew up, has its share of eccentric characters—some of them are members of Liz’s own family. She has her hands full when more folks start turning up dead. Liz has to employ more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.
Denise: Eccentric characters in a southern town? Sounds like my kind of book! Every so often I like to throw in a scene in my books that was inspired by a real experience. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Susan: Oh, my, no. I’ve never personally met a ghost, though I do believe in them. And if I know any psychopaths, they hide it well. Though, that usually is the case, isn’t it? I did live in the South Carolina lowcountry for a while, in Mt. Pleasant, which is just a bike ride from Sullivan’s Island. My literary landscape is born of a love of that area. And, I’m a small-town girl, so I do bring my love of small towns to my writing. Come to think of it, I also have some eccentric relatives. And I love Kate Spade handbags, but the only one I own was a gift. I don’t typically carry a gun.
Denise: What was your favorite chapter(or part)to write and why?
Susan: The ending. I just love it when all hell is breaking loose! Also, Liz gets to do some really fun things in those last few scenes. She gets to do all the things I’d like to do.
Denise: Some titles just come to me and others are so hard. How did you come up with the title?
Susan: Lowcountry Boil is a regional dish made up of shrimp, corn, potatoes, sausage, and whatever else the chef wants to throw in the pot, boiled in beer andspices. So, it’s a lot of different things simmering together. It’s one of my favorite meals, and it just seemed to fit my book really well.
Denise: Well, now I’m hungry… 😉 I’m always curious about other writer’s habits. Where do you write? What time of day are you most creative?
Susan: It depends. If I’m at home, I’m usually in a chair with a lap desk in my writing cave, which is actually in the basement, so it does feel rather cave-like. If it’s raining—I love to listen to the rain—I’ll go upstairs and work near a window. If I’m traveling with my husband on a business trip, which I do a lot, I work at the desk in a hotel room. I’m most creative in the early afternoon, I think. I’m not much of a morning person, though I do start work around nine. It just takes me a while to feel really productive.
Denise: I love to sit by the fireplace with a cup of tea on rainy days when I write. Are there any occupational hazards to being an author for you?
Susan: For me, probably the biggest one is I sit too much. I try to remember to get up and move around once an hour, but I usually get tied up playing with my imaginary friends and forget. I’ve read a lot lately about how unhealthy all that sitting is. I need to rig my chair to shock me after I’ve sat for forty-five minutes. Do they make anything like that? If not, someone should invent it. A timer won’t do the job because it’s too easy to ignore.
Denise: I hear you about sitting too much too, but my kids and my dogs are always wanting something, so I feel like I’m always jumping up and down. Did your childhood influence your writing? How?
Susan: I don’t think it influenced it really, but I can remember always making up stories. When I was really young, this was a problem, because I had an over-active imagination, and a hard time distinguishing between truth and fiction. My alternate realities were very real to me. I had imaginary friends. I was one of those children whose teachers wrote, “Energies need to be channeled,” and so forth in the comments section of my report card. I think I was just born to make things up and write them down.
Denise: Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
Susan: I don’t allow myself to believe in writer’s block. I’m afraid of it, so it isn’t real, like the monster under the bed. On days when finish my second cup of coffee and my imaginary friends don’t seem to want to play, I coax them a little. I just start writing something. Then one of them will start yacking at me, telling me how I have it wrong, and then they cooperate.
Denise: What’s your drink of choice?
Susan: Well now, that depends on the hour of the day and the occasion. I have to have strong coffee first thing, or I don’t come fully awake. If I’m out and about, sometimes I’ll treat myself to a soy mocha from Starbucks. If we’re celebrating at brunch, I’m a mimosa girl. Around happy hour I love a glass of pinot noir, and I can usually turn any occasion into an excuse for champagne. Gosh, that sort of sounds like I’m a lush, but really, I’m not.
Morning or night Night—definitely night.
Glass half full or glass half empty My cup runneth over. I’m a glass-half-full girl.
Football or baseball Football. I love the tailgating, even if it’s in the den.
Wine, beer or neither Usually wine, but sometimes I like a really cold Blue Moon with a slice of orange.
Mountains or beach I’m a beach girl. I would live there if it was feasible for us, though I do love the mountains. We actually live less than an hour from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fortunately, in South Carolina we have both.
Thank you, Susan, for visiting us today! I don’t know about you, but now I’m hungry for some Low Country Boil. You can check out Susan’s Website
And you can purchase Low Country Boil at: