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Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017 and nominated for the RONE Award 2017

Friday, 14 October 2016

An interview with Susan Coryell

I am excited to have fellow Wild Rose Press on the Flight Deck today to tell us a bit about herself and her latest release.  Welcome Susan  - Tell us a little more about yourself – 3 things not many people know about you:

S.C.:  I am pretty much a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” gal, but here are three
obscure facts about me: I was a championship tree-climber as a child—once reaching the top of a 100-foot poplar and hanging by my knees from a branch. My girlfriend called my mother out of the house to see me. I will not report her response in this G-rated blog!  My first name is Mary, which I dropped when I went to school. My brothers are twins and my husband is a twin; I was grateful to have three children one at a time.

Lol, I used to love climbing trees as a child too! I've always been known by my middle name - but I have no connection with the twin thing! :) What do you do for fun when not writing?

S.C.:  Hubs made a big sign and nailed it to our boat dock. It reads: “Writer’s Block.” The word Block has a slash-mark through it and underneath it says DOCK. What it means, of course, is that whenever I am “blocked” with my writing I meander down to the water for inspiration. Water pretty much defines my fun. Boating, jet-skiing, kayaking and water skiing are my active water sports. Sitting on the dock watching everybody else play (frequently while sipping an adult beverage) would be the more passive fun. I also golf, practice yoga, and read—sometimes three books at once.

Wow, you have a lot going on! What comes first: the plot or the characters?

S.C.:   Actually, I always start with a theme—an underlying meaning or message I want my readers to take away from my book. For EAGLEBAIT, my YA anti-bully book, a major theme is building self-esteem as a way to ward off school bullies. For my Overhome Trilogy, cozy mystery/Southern Gothics, an over-arching theme concerns the culture and society of the South where long-held-hard-felt ideas battle with modernity. Another theme for the series: History defines us—not just our past, but also our present and our future. We ignore history at our own peril and the ghost of history can return to haunt us without warning.

Tell us about your latest release and what you think readers will enjoy about it.

NOBODY KNOWS completes the Overhome Trilogy.  In A RED, RED ROSE, protag Ashby Overton is a wide-eyed twenty-something searching for her family roots and, consequently, herself in her journey to her historic ancestral Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia. Ashby is aided in her quests by Rosabelle, a family spirit residing in the mansion.  BENEATH THE STONES continues the saga as Ashby, now twenty-five and owner of the Estate, battles Civil War ghosts as she attempts to save her home from bankruptcy.  NOBODY KNOWS picks up five years later as Ashby is visited by a descendant of a former slave at Overhome during the Civil War. Tall, dark and handsome, Professor Ellis O. Grady believes he and Ashby are related; indeed, his middle name is Overton. Together they work through myriad slave spirits riled up by his arrival and other disturbing local events.

Blurb for NOBODY KNOWS: Why do ancient spirits hover at the crossroads between two worlds: the living and the dead? 

With a successful writing career and blissful marriage, Ashby Overton is fulfilled and content at historic Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia'until a stranger walks into her life. The arrival of Professor Ellis O. Grady coincides with a violent and bizarre turbulence emanating from the dark world of Overhome's ancient spirits.

As paranormal events build into chaos, Ashby must use her sixth sense to sort out the real from the imagined in both the visible and the invisible worlds as, stirred into fury, the souls of Civil War slaves engage in a dangerous battle destined to reveal long-held secrets of the past.

What is the connection between the enigmatic professor, a slave-built chapel and a restored overseer's cottage on Overhome Estate? Ashby struggles to find the answers before the spirits destroy her family's heritage, and the lives of those she loves.

NOBODY KNOWS for Kindle: https://amzn.com/B01L5TXLJ6
NOBODY KNOWS print: https://amzn.com/1509210504 
Excerpt for NOBODY KNOWS:
     Walking over the weedy ground, I felt the desolate abandonment of those
long-dead. A few tilting gravestones, so blurred with time that their epitaphs were illegible, listed toward the ground as if sheltering from a punishing wind. Scattered among the patchwork grasses were small, thin stone markers set in the dirt, little more than raw rocks, though several bore the faint outline of initials which had been chiseled into them so long ago. Ellis and I surveyed the bleak cemetery, each harboring our own thoughts. 

I don’t know how long we stood there breathing in the silence. Then, I heard the voice.—so clear, so distinct, that I startled and almost fell back. Did my companion hear it, too? I darted a look at him. He stood with eyes closed, evidently completely lost in his own reverie. I held my breath and listened with all my senses on alert. The voice wavered this time, as though trailing away, but its repeated message was identical to the one I had first heard at the Overseer’s Cottage when the candlestick went missing. I had thought, then, that I heard “red apple,” which made no sense. Now I understood. 

“Jared Chapel,” the voice warned. Yes, its tone was severe. Demanding. “Jared Chapel.”

     I touched Ellis’s arm. “It’s here, Ellis. I know it is.” And when he blinked uncomprehendingly, I added, “You wondered if Jared Chapel offers anything in your search for your ancestry. It’s here—there’s something here. I feel it and I...I know it.”

     He blinked several times, a serious expression on his face. “You know because...”

     “Sometimes the past speaks to me. I can’t explain it, but I have to trust the voice that tells me things.”

     He rubbed his chin. “You know...this is odd. Really odd.”

     I raised my eyebrows in a silent question and he continued. “Because I thought I heard something. I definitely felt...a presence I can’t explain. Someone trying to get my attention. Someone very, very seriously trying to make me understand.” 
He shook his head. “Understand what? I confess, I’m baffled.”

     “It’s a sign,” I said. “Something I’ve learned over my years at Overhome. We ignore the signs at our own peril.”

S.C.:  I feel my “fans,” those who have read the first two books will be gratified to have all (okay—most) of their questions answered.  As a stand-alone novel, NOBODY KNOWS makes some clear statements about the nature of slavery and its horrifying effects still felt today. All in all, my novels are a combination of mystery, history, a bit of romance and ghosts. Something for everyone! Each novel stands alone as well as hooking in to the saga. All are published by The Wild Rose Press.

Sounds amazing. What have you learned about writing since you were published that surprised you the most?

S.C.:  Two things—both related. I am amazed at the amount of time and effort we writers put into promotion and marketing.  While necessary, I feel all the hours spent on social media take away valuable creative time. On the positive side, that very same time commitment has garnered dozens and dozens of writer colleague friends—folks I feel as if I know as well as my neighbors—many lovely, lively, loyal compatriots offering everything from advice to consolation—real help when needed for reading, reviewing and revising. BONUS!

I agree, both about the time lost for writing, but also with the writer colleaguees and friends. What’s your writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?


S.C.:  My writing process has remained the same over my twenty+ years as a published author. First I have to spend time—usually months—in one case years— THINKING through my story. This involves TELLING my story to anyone who will listen. My children soon learned to detect the story-telling glint in my eyes and they would run and hide, knowing they were in for a long session.  When the kids all flew off on their own, my sainted husband took their place as chief-listener.  What I find is that every time I tell my story it gets better—often aided by questions or added ideas from the “audience.” Only when I have my details firmly in place do I sit down at the computer to compose. Then, I write the whole manuscript without attempting to edit—though I frequently will re-read previous chapters to make sure of continuity. Revision and edits come after all this. Whew! No wonder it takes me so long to write a book!

Do you have a support system? Do you have a writing community? What 
valuable lessons have you learned from them?

I have a very helpful writing group composed of every possible genre-specialist in the lexicon of authors: poets, memoirists, biographers, sci-fi, romance, mystery and crime writers. Eclectic (and wonky) as we are, we offer each other constructive criticism that is invaluable. I am also lucky in that I have a writing family. Daughter—with a degree in writing and experience in everything from magazine editing to university branding is an excellent critic for my mysteries. Daughter-in-law, a career librarian, knows what readers like; she tells me the truth about my own creations. Brother, a college dean and published writer of hundreds of scholarly articles and quite a few books, reads my drafts and lets me know how an intellectual male regards my overwhelmingly “chick-lit.” And good old Hubs listens patiently to every draft chapter as though it’s in contention for a Pulitzer Prize.

With plenty of writing years under my belt and thirty years of teaching writing, I have a few suggestions for beginners. First, read everything you can get your
hands on. Read widely and well. Read the genre for which you want to write. Secondly, join a writers’ group. Even if you read aloud to them nothing you have written until you are completely comfortable doing so, keep sharp ears out for what makes good writing. Finally, write for yourself first, but branch out when you are ready and write for an audience. Think: Who will want to read what I have to offer? Why? How do I best meet their needs?

And finally - where can readers connect with you?

S.C.:  I have a good website: www.susancoryellauthor.com
Buy link: https://amzn.com/B01L5TXLJ6  (Please note, this is for Kindle only, as NOBODY KNOWS print releases Oct 14th)
I love to connect with my readers and hope to hear from all who read any of my books.

Remember, everybody, HALLOWEEN is upon us at the end of October. Celebrate by reading a great ghost series, the Overhome Trilogy.

Thanks, Hywela for inviting me to guest on your excellent blog!

It's been a pleasure to have you here, today, Susan, and congratulations on the release of 'Nobody Knows' and wishing you even greater success.







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22 comments:

  1. I appreciate Hywela's offer of a guest post on her beautifully designed blog.Looking forward to some interaction with readers!

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  2. Nobody Knows is a great book for Halloween! I really enjoyed the spooky atmosphere. But it's a great book to read any time of the year.

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    1. Jacquie: You are such a wonderful supporter! Thanks for joining us and best wishes for your own new release!

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  3. Welcome Susan, it's my pleasure to have you here today, and to be able to feature your wonderful books!

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  4. Hi Jaqueline, thanks for stopping by, yes Nobody Knows looks like a lovely, creepy read. I need to put this on my TBR list!

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  5. Susan I enjoyed reading about your process on Hywela's lovely blog. Your current release excerpt sounds interesting. Cute sign for the dock too. 😎

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    1. Charlotte: We writers do have our processes, don't we! And, yes, my dock sign generates many comments around our lake. Thanks for joining us!

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  6. Hi Charlotte

    Glad you enjoyed the interview and the excerpt - and thanks for the kind remark about the blog! Have a great weekend.

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  7. Your advice to read, read, read, is echoed by many successful authors. However, I am continually surprised by new writers who tell me they don't have time to read. And I find your process fascinating and encouraging (I'm a slow writer, as well).

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    1. Cannot imagine how any writer can NOT be a prolific reader...plus reading is so much fun! I do admire those writers who are fast but know, like you and me, there a lot of plodders (not plotters!) out there. Thanks for your comments!

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  8. Hi Kathy,

    Thank for visiting. I agree - a writer also needs to read!

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  9. Great to know you better Susan.
    Good luck and God's blessings
    PamT

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    1. Hi Pam, thanks so much for stopping by, God's Blessings back!

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  10. Thanks, Pam. Blessings to you, too, in all you do.

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  11. So many authors forget how important it is to have a spiritual goal as well as a literal or physical goal for their characters, but I think it's very intesting that you purposely begin with the heart of your novel, Susan. I think you called it a theme, but you went on to explain it was what you wanted the reader to come away with, so I believe we're talking about the same thing. Sure the character must have motivation, as in the literal goal, but what you're talking about is the heart of the story, what it is the H/H learns, what makes them grow as an individual as they pursue their goal. To me that makes a good story great. It sounds like you've nailed it.

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    1. You are so right, Elizabeth, it is important to have a spiritual goal for the readers, and Susan has explained it so well.

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    2. Yes, Elizabeth, theme deals with the very heart and soul of the characters and the conflict--definitely spiritual as well as literal. To me, this is what makes literature literary.

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  12. Enjoyed the interview, and I LOVE this book! I agree, Susan. Promoting does take away from writing time. But I enjoy it and have met some wonderful people! Best wishes...

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    1. Alicia: I have met the most wonderful professionals - writers and editors and publishers through the promo. Definitely worth the time! Love your input!

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  13. Hi Alicia, thanks for dropping in. I agree, promotion is a time suck and both a pleasure and a chore, but as you say, it ultimately means we meet some lovely people

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  14. Haha! I used to go by my middle name, which my parents turned into a nick-name. Now, I use my first--Mary! Loved the interview, ladies. Wishing you all the best, Susan! :)

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  15. Thanks to another "Mary" for tuning in! Appreciate your comment.

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