Hello, Susan, My blog readers and I are looking forward to learning more about you today. I saw a picture of your pretty new home. Tell us a little about it and your recent move.
A: We recently relocated from Florida to Oregon to be near our children and grandson. We found a lovely house with an amazing backyard garden less than a mile from one of our daughters and bought it on the spot. We often walk over to see them or they drop in. After living three thousand miles away from them for five years, it’s like a dream come true to get together for meals and fun when ever we feel like it.
Q: I read that your husband is a church music director. My husband is a retired preacher. We have served 12 different churches in 3 states. How many churches have you and your husband served, and how many states have you lived in?
A: My hubby has been the music director in four congregations in four different states, but we’ve lived in nine states. He started his church music career later in life and we moved for other job transfers, mine actually, prior to that.
Q: Sounds like we have both moved a lot. My oldest son once told one of his friends, “My mom taught me how to move. I may not be the best at some things, but I sure know how to move.” Do you have a favorite state in which you have lived?
A: LOL, Juanita. My children are excellent movers as well. We have loved every state we have lived in. People are different all across our great country and it has been such a blessing to get to see these differences and make friends all over the country. I do believe, however, if we had to pick a favorite state, we would choose Oregon. Not only is the Portland area vibrant and alive, but the scenery is so amazing. You can see all of God’s glory in the mountains, lush valleys, dessert, and the ocean all in a drivable area. And, I am an avid gardener and there is no better place for plants than in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Oh and most importantly, it’s where my children and grandson live.
Q: I noticed from one of your interviews that you used to like to read Nancy Drew mysteries. How important were books in your life while you were growing up?
A: I grew up in a tiny town in northern Wisconsin where there wasn’t much to do. I was never athletic so I found my adventures and excitement in books. I particularly liked reading Nancy Drew because I could imagine myself in her shoes and loved to solve the mysteries along with her. To this day, I love reading mystery and suspense stories and I particularly like reading these books if you add a compelling romance.
Q: When did you realize writing Christian fiction was your calling?
A: I never imagined myself as a writer growing up. Sure, like most people I thought it would be great to write a book some day, but I was too busy working, raising children, and everything else that goes along with being a wife and mother. About thirteen years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that has really changed my life. I was—am still I guess—a type-A personality. Go, go, go. One of my favorite sayings for many years was if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right and would’ve been worth more if it had been done yesterday. So when a chronic illness that causes me to sit more than move struck, I was at a loss. I knew I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. I then remembered my dream of writing and at the same time, I discovered some of the pioneer author’s in Christian suspense like Terri Blackstock and Linda Hall. Aha, I said, in my naïveté. I will write a book in the suspense genre.
Q: Tell us a little about your writing journey. How long did it take you to become a published author and how many books have you written?
A: After deciding I would write a book, I joined the American Christian Romance Writers—now American Christian Fiction Writers—to learn how to write and started learning the craft. After I finished my first book, I entered a contest and finaled then signed with an agent. It took five or so years after beginning the journey of seriously writing for publication for my first novel to release with Love Inspired Suspense. I was so excited when in November of that year, High-Stakes Inheritance made the ECPA’s best-seller list. The next month, I had a second novel—Nipped in the Bud, a cozy mystery with Barbour books—release, too. Though this was my second book to release, Nipped in the Bud was the first contract I received, which was presented to me at the ACFW conference in front of 500 other writers. In those early years, I wrote five books, and I now have eleven books in print, three more written and scheduled to release this year and next with two more under contract and six under consideration by publishers. God has truly blessed my writing career, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Q: I read No Way Out and enjoyed getting to know the characters. I also liked the size of the book because I could fit it in my purse when I was going out. Have you always written Love-Inspired mysteries and how many series have you done?
A: In addition to Love Inspired Suspense, I write cozy mysteries and have a trade length series that will publish next year. The first two cozy mysteries are under the Spyglass Lane imprint and my other three cozy mysteries are a part of the multi-author Creative Woman mystery series. The trade book is a new venture for me and I’ll tell you more about it below.
Q: I like the way your characters keep Christ important in their lives. Tell us a little about your current work and what we can expect from you in the future.
A: My current release is a Love Inspired Suspense book, titled Thread of Suspicion. This is the fourth book in my five book Justice Agency series. This series is about a family of adopted siblings who have former law enforcement backgrounds and who work together in a private investigations agency. Each book in the series features one of the siblings. Thread of Suspicion is Dani’s story and the final sibling Derrick’s story, Dark Tide, releases in March of 2014. My third cozy mystery in the Creative Woman’s mystery series, A Matter of Wife and Death, releases later this year, too.
And as I mentioned above, I have another new series coming out soon. This one is called Agent’s Under Fire with the first book Web of Deceit releasing in November of 2014 and two additional books in 2015. This series features three female FBI agents who work on an elite Cyber Action Team. This series will be published by BelleBooks, which is not a Christian imprint. Though, I mention God in the books and my characters are believers, the books do not carry a Christian message. The books are classified as clean reads and I’m excited about this opportunity to bring fiction without profanity and sex to readers looking for such books.
Q: Do you write only mysteries, or do you have another genre in which you like to write?
A: I only write mystery and suspense books. I find that though I can appreciate other genres, as a reader, I quickly lose interest in them and so I write what I like to read.
Q: Tell us about an embarrassing moment, or something readers would be surprised to know about you.
A: I am a computer geek at heart. Where many people hate computers and find them frustrating, I embrace them and love to learn about new technology. I even taught computers at a private elementary school for a few years. I taught myself the coding needed to design websites and do that for fun. So far, I’ve created my own website, www.susansleeman.com, plus the SpyglassLaneMysteries.com site and TheSuspenseZone.com site.
Q: That's a wonderful and helpful thing to learn. I wish I knew more about computers, but I usually get along with what I know, and when I don't know what to do, I call my handy computer friend and he sets he straight. Susan, thanks so much for visiting with us today. I hope our readers have enjoyed this visit as much as I have.
OK, bloggers. Now it's your turn again to leave a comment. The winner will receive a copy of Thread of Suspicion, signed and mailed by Susan. Be sure to leave your email address unless you have commented before, and please tell me in which state you live. When I announce the winner, I like to tell where she is from, if I can.