Friday, 26 November 2010

A Chat with Author Susan Schreyer

How could I be so lucky!  *all smiles* I recently joined a writers' group O-Pen Writers when a friend sent me an invite....and through that, I met a new on-line writer friend, Author Susan Schreyer, whose debut novel 'Death by a Dark Horse' has recently been launched.

Guess what!  Susan has kindly given me the opportunity for an interview! Yay!!!

I'm so excited to share with you what we've talked it is:

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

Susan Schreyer (SS): You know, that's hard to say. I've always admired writers -- kind of held them in awe and wished I could weave a captivating story, too. I've played around with writing all my life and didn't get serious about it until I found myself with time on my hands and a need for a creative outlet.

Do you remember the first writing piece you’ve written?

SS: Yes! I remember the title, but not the story! It was called, "The Mystery Of The Golden Horseshoe." I think I must have been about 7 when I wrote it.

Is there a particular place, aside from your work space at home, that you favour when you write?

SS:  No. I do my best work at home where I know I won't be interrupted. It's important for me to be able to lose myself in my story-world and turn off the radar that keeps me aware of my surroundings. When I come out of my story-world I often find I'm disoriented as to the time of day, or even what season it is!

Do you want it quiet when you write or do you prefer some kind of music in the background to help you concentrate?

SS:  It really has to be quiet, at least in the room where I work. Listening to music will put me too much in the here and now, and keep me from "hearing" my characters.

Let’s talk about your debut novel, Death by a Dark Horse – how long ago was it when you began to write this novel?

SS:  I started writing Death By A Dark Horse about five years ago. It started out as an experiment. I wasn't sure I could do it, but decided I wouldn't know unless I tried. The first draft only took me about four months to complete -- which astounded me. Of course the rewrites and editing went on for quite some time. It was a learning experience of major proportions!

Can you tell us about Death by a Dark Horse? What is it about?

SS:  Death By A Dark Horse is about a young woman, Thea Campbell, who is yanked out of her peaceful, ordered existence by the theft of her horse, and then pushed beyond the boundaries of her experience. Here's the back-cover blurb:

Thea Campbell goes out for revenge when the one person who is the most likely and least likely candidate for thief steals her horse. But Olympic hopeful Valerie Parsons is past caring about being arrested. She’s dead. At first Thea’s horse is assumed to have killed the woman, but when the coroner determines it was a human hand and not a horse’s hoof that ended Valerie’s life Thea becomes a person of interest. Now intimidating people with little regard for due process are showing up on her doorstep looking to even the score. Toss in her wrecked love life, a sexy geology professor who stirs up more than dust, and an alleged psychic horse, and it soon becomes apparent that Thea’s predictable life is now out of control. As she takes charge of clearing herself of the murder she discovers the victim had a knack for making enemies—one of whom is Thea’s ditsy sister. She pursues her investigation with more at stake than ever, and in a seedy biker bar comes face-to-tattoo with information that will lead the police to the real killer. She dutifully reports to the detective in charge. But Thea is wrong. As close to dead wrong as she ever wishes to get.

Did you have to research to write the story?

SS:  I did some, but not a lot for this book. Since I've trained and taught dressage for many years and live in the area where the story takes place I didn't need to research those parts.

How did you create your characters? Are they real people?

SS:  The characters are very real to me, but didn't previously exist! Seriously, this is a really good question, and it has a complex answer. Certainly, each character is born from my own imagination, and therefore part of me. I've used my memory of people I've known -- mannerisms, physical characteristics, and so on -- to draw them into fully realized individuals. Once in a while a character will leap, fully formed, into my mind. It's a startling experience! Other times I have to almost beg a character to reveal himself or herself to me.

Can you tell us a little bit about your characters?

SS:  Thea is twenty-nine, single and, in addition to being an accomplished amateur dressage rider, runs her own accounting business. She's smart and self-assured -- at least on the outside -- and pretty "button down." Her younger sister, Juliet is the wild-child. She rides a motorcycle, acts impulsively, and is pretty sexy. Their Aunt Vi and Uncle Henry live nearby. They're British and Henry represented Great Britain in two Olympic games before retiring to raise horses and teach. Thea and Juliet both depend on Vi for motherly advice. And then there's Paul, the handsome geology professor, who adds confusion to Thea's world when she's already got more going on than she can handle. I could go on, but I'll let you discover Valerie, Greg, Eric and the rest on your own!

Do you have a favourite character in Death by a Dark Horse?

SS:  I haven't mentioned Blackie -- The Black Queen's Bishop -- Thea's 7 year old Hanoverian gelding. He and Thea have a special connection, and if you're a horse-person, or any kind of an animal-person, it's the connection you've harbored close in your heart ever since you fell in love with the four legged creatures as a child. I promise you, you will understand how she feels about him.

Are you working on any other projects right now? If so, can you tell us about them?

SS:  I'm currently getting the second book in the series ready for publication. The title is Levels Of Deception and will likely be available in February. This book takes Thea from western Washington to the wilds of Montana to solve a murder and crack a theft ring. Many of the same characters are in this book that were in Death By A Dark Horse. Plus there are new, and fascinating, additions. There is also third, yet untitled, book that I'm working to polish, and a fourth in the planning stages.

Do you have any tips to share with aspiring writers out there who would like to follow in your footsteps?

SS:  The first tip is WRITE! Then find yourself a support group of other writers who can help you through the rough patches. Take classes when you can, seek advice when you need it. Listen to constructive criticism, but not to the criticism that crushes your spirit. Writing is hard work. Don't give up!

Thank you very much, Susan, do you have anything else to add?

SS: I'd love to have your reader come visit me at my website - Susan Schreyer, or my blogs - Writing Horses and Things I learned From My Horse . Thank you so very much for having me on your blog! Best of luck in your own writing!


There you go, I hope you've enjoyed reading the interview as much as I did.  If you love mysteries, you'll love Susan's novel, Death by a Dark Horse.  Please remember to visit her blogs!

Thank you so much again, Susan,  for this opportunity.


Theresa Milstein said...

Nice interview.

Old Kitty said...

Great interview - thank you Len! I love the premise of Ms Schreyer's novel - it's got mystery, horses, siblings and sexy Eric! I love that Susan has combined her love of horses into her thriller!

Good luck to Susan Schreyer with her fab novel. I wish her all the best, take care

Susan Schreyer said...

Thank you so much! I was delighted Len suggested the interview. Enjoy the story! I'm so pleased it's available on Amazon UK.

The Golden Eagle said...

Great interview! :)

It was fun learning more about Susan and her writing.

The Red Angel said...

Awesome interview, Len. :) Thanks so much for sharing. The new writers' group you joined sounds really cool...I've always wanted to join one but haven't been able to find any...nor have I had the time!

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Thank you very much for the comment on my blog and for following!


lakeviewer said...

Great interview!

KarenG said...

This book sounds like one I'd really enjoy. Best to Susan, enjoyed the interview.

Miss Kitty said...

Great interview!

Len said...

Thank you guys for taking the time to read the interview!

@Susan - it's my pleasure! :)

Welcome to my new blogger friends - it's very nice to meet all of you! :)

Len said...

@Red Angel - haven't got the time either where I am as I'm a busy writers' group meet physically as they are based in USA, I'm an on-line member of the group. :) We're trying to figure out how I can join the discussion via chat :)But I'm gaining friends and learning a lot from reading discussion points :)

Lydia Kang said...

Great interview, and wonderful hearing about Susan's writing journey. The book sounds wonderful!

betchai said...

Len, I am so happy for you, that you are meeting a lot of people within your interest to share the joys of writing. I am sure it will be a fun and great journey for you.

Kaye George said...

Great interview! Thanks for the insights.

Talli Roland said...

Great interview, Susan and Len. I'm always happy for a glimpse inside other writers' minds and to learn more about their creative processes. Susan's novel sounds fantastic.

Ellie said...

Awesome interview. Thank you Susan and Len!

Lynda Young said...

Great interview. I always enjoy reading about other writers and how they approach their creativity.