Thursday, 22 December 2011

Interview with Susan Schreyer

Hopefully you're all in good spirits, despite the hustle and bustle of the season. In keeping with being jolly, let's get to know magnificent writer Susan Schreyer.

Welcome to We Do Write, Susan. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in the great state of Washington and love the fact that wherever I look (when it's not cloudy) I can see mountains. I'm married -- twenty-one years now! -- have two almost-grown children, a rabbit with an attitude and a horse with an enormous number of fans from all corners of the planet. I love to laugh and wish I didn't have to watch my weight. Oh -- and my favorite color is green.

I think you've covered all the bases with that answer! How long have you been writing?

I started seriously writing mystery novels about 6 years ago, although like pretty much every other writer I've had the inclination all my life.

Tell us about the Thea Campbell mystery series. What are the stories about?

Death By A Dark Horse is the first of the Thea Campbell Mysteries. They take place in the real life town of Snohomish, Washington -- the antiques capital of the northwest -- and are "cozy-esque." I use that term because all the stories take place, at least in part, in a small town setting and involve people who know each other. However, the stories have been described not only as mysteries, but as suspense and romantic thrillers. Are they totally serious? Heck, no! Thea, the protagonist, as well as her friends and family, often show us the humor in life.

How did the idea of the stories come to you?

The major plot line for Death By A Dark Horse kept me up nights. Seriously. I wanted to write a mystery and all the advice I read said, "write what you know." My life is decidedly unmysterious, and I have no experience with solving murders. However, I do know horse people -- having been born that way -- so my thinking ran along the lines of what kind of situation would be so compelling to a horse owner that they simply had to become involved? Once I began writing the first story the characters took over. They weren't done with me. Story ideas won't leave me alone any more.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

Yes! To everyone of those! I have several trusted critique partners who are accomplished writers in their own right, but I have a rather thorough self-editing process I go through before I hand my work over to them.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

All writing takes effort -- time, patience, willingness to learn craft and learn from others who have gone before. You learn quite a lot about yourself from the processed of discovering your own best method for working, and that self-discovery is not easy. The most difficult thing for me to learn to do was to be openly honest about emotions. Not only does it take an effort to admit to some of them, but you have to experience them as you write as well. If you don't, if you make a "best guess," or skirt an issue, your readers will know. So you have to feel the love, the fear, the anger -- all of it -- if your readers' emotions are going to be touched, too.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Silence. Or at least something that resembles silence. Music distracts me, as does conversation, and shiny objects :)

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I would be super organized. That would make my life so much easier. On the other hand, flying would be great fun.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cave, umbrella, and irresistible.

Exploring the cave held an irresistible appeal for me from the moment I saw the bats, although the actual act of venturing inside caused me to wish I'd equipped myself with an umbrella and worn hip boots.

Very nice sentence! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

First, my family -- my husband and kids, my parents and sister and the whole lot of you. Then there are my writing friends, MK Windham, Lisa Stowe, Mary Buckham, Anne Christensen, Lisa Harris, the whole Sister in Crime Puget Sound Chapter, The Guppies Chapter of SinC, and last but never never least all the wonderful readers who have enjoyed my books and taken the time to tell me, their friends or both. Love you all!

And finally, where can people find you and your books online?

Death By A Dark Horse, Levels Of Deception and An Error In Judgment can be found in trade paperback on, and in digital format pretty much everywhere you can hope to find an ebook. Here's some popular sites;

Here's the link to Amazon for print and ebook:

And the link to Smashwords for ebook:

Barnes & Noble Nook:

Apple, Kobo and Sony have them as well.

Susan, thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with us. It was a pleasure getting to know more about you and your books.


H. S. Stavropoulos said...

Great article. I really got a sense of what drives Susan's writing. I love the part about the characters not being done with her.

Susan Schreyer said...

Hi, HSS! Thanks for stopping by. So glad you enjoyed the interview. Characters really do become their own people. They often take the story just where they want, and will let you know when you've goofed up. There are surprises all the time for the author -- one of the things I love about writing!

Unknown said...

Susan - Just stopping by from the SinC Guppies Group. Was very excited to find your blog and start "following" your work. I look forward to delving into your novels. :)

Susan Schreyer said...

Thanks, M.E.! Enjoy Thea and her friends -- they're always doing something exciting, even if it gets them into trouble!
Don't you love The Guppies Chapter of Sisters in Crime?! Amazing support and depth of knowledge, not to mention such great people.

Gina said...

Great interview ladies. Love how the rabbit has attitude...LOL. Not a huge reader of cozy mysteries...thus far...but certainly know of a few readers that would be interested in this. Passing along the title. Sounds like the story grew naturally from not only a desire to write but her background....great places to draw inspiration from. Ooh...another shiny object observer...I hear you. Interesting writing test results...those were tricky to use all at once. Thanks for sharing! Best of luck to you on your future endeavors and thanks Dorothy for introducing us to someone new!