I live in Maryland, mid-way between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. All of my books take place in the Annapolis, Baltimore and D.C. area.
Good morning, Suzi, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors. Can you tell us a little about what you've written?
I have written The Devil’s Due Collection which consists of three books – Death Most Wicked, The Devil’s Lieutenant, and Scorn Kills.
I also have written a non-fiction book to help people gain Twitter Followers - The Super Easy Newbies Twitter Guide
Cracking the Secret to Getting & Keeping Followers.
I am working on 3 books at present. One book is another part of The Devil’s Due Collection – The Making of a Soul Collector. The second book is a standalone ghost story – the title is still moving but tentatively it is called The Promise Keeper. And the third is a crime fiction novel – called Betrayal in the First Degree.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I think I made up my own genre – Supernatural Horror Crime Fiction. I love horror but I feel like my horror has a supernatural thread through it. And all my books have law enforcement as major characters.
My kind of horror does not involve guts spilling all over the floor every ten minutes. Instead, I much prefer psychological terror. I won’t say there is not blood-letting in my books but I do it in a unique way. I like to use every day characters who find themselves in terrifying situations based on their own human failures.
I make it my goal to get my readers to deeply care what happens to my characters and my stories in The Devil’s Due Collection intertwine so you get to see them in different stages of their lives. And, as much as I love them, my characters do and say things that are shocking. I encourage them to be as truthful as possible.
Who is your favorite author?
Early Stephen King. I’m finding that I don’t like him as much now. His books aren’t as interesting as when he wrote Pet Cemetery or It.
Best book you ever read.
I am still in love with Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. It was the first book I read that made me realize I could write one as well. In fact, my writing style is similar to the early King novels. Reading King and Dean Koontz influenced me to a great extent.
I love filet mignon but now that I live in Maryland, I have become addicted to steamed crabs in Old Bay seasoning with melted butter. They are only available from the late spring to early fall months so every year, we stuff ourselves as much as we can and then dream of crabs until the next season.
Tea or coffee?
Neither, I am a Pepsi girl. I blame my mother. She put Pepsi in my baby bottles. Now I practically mainline it. But I don’t smoke, drink or gamble so I consider it a very minor thing.
Pizza or ice cream?
Neither really but I do like ice cream on hot summer days from this old store in Annapolis. It’s nice to get a waffle cone and sit on the dock, watching the Naval cadets milling about.
Wine or beer?
Neither. Give me Pepsi every time.
Where would you like to visit?
I’d love to go back to Key West again. It’s very different there from every beach town I’ve been to. Eclectic, quirky, fun. And the food? To-die-for.
Yes, I love Key West! Where else?
I also love Sedona, AZ. If you have never been, you should go. Beautiful red mountains. Not hot at all. And you are close enough to visit Tombstone and the Grand Canyon.
How old were you when you started writing?
I’m thinking somewhere between seven and nine. I wrote on little scraps of paper that I hid under my bed. Oddly enough, I wrote Sci-Fi stories and things about outer space and aliens. I can still envision the little green men who populated my stories. Whenever my mother found my stories, she’d toss them out in the trash. But the next day, I’d be back at it. As time went on, I found better hiding places but she always found them. To this day, I wish I had some of those stories.
Favorite musical artist. Do you listen to music when you write? What?
No favorite artist. I love music but it’s not really my thing. I listen to the ID channel while I write so I guess you could say, I listen to people getting murdered as I murder people. Every now and then, some story will come on that fascinates me so I’ll stop what I’m doing and actually watch. To me, those true crimes are far more horrifying than any horror story I could write.
What makes you laugh?
Odd things mostly. Things that come out of nowhere when you are least expecting them. I love to watch Mom (TV program) and the Big Bang Theory. Ironic things get me rolling on the floor.
This is an Author AND Art Blog, so I am obliged to ask: Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I like Monet paintings. They make me feel soothed.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I observe. The ID channel, the news, fights on Facebook, whatever. I like to take bits and pieces of things and twist them inside out. But what inspires me to write supernatural horror comes from my childhood. My mother loved horror movies but she had all these kids so money was tight. But we could afford the drive-in a few times every summer. I saw my first horror movie when I was two. Those movies never scared me, just fascinated the crap out of me. I never watched cartoons or romance, just horror. There was one movie that I still think about to this day. I don’t remember the entire story but it was about a village that lived near a large number of massive hills, not exactly mountains but almost. Something bad was happening and as it turned out, giants were buried in those mounds of rock and dirt. To this day, every time I see a hill or small mountain, I think there is a giant buried there, waiting for his time to return to life.
Describe your perfect evening.
Of course, my significant other, Tim would be included. It would start earlier in the day. We would take a long, leisurely ride through the country in his 1970 Cranberry Red Camaro. Tim takes a lot of pride in that car. It is pristine clean and looks brand new. As sundown approached, we’d begin to think about dinner and where we’d like to go. If it was summer, we would choose seafood cusine and head for a restaurant on the water where we would dine on steamed crabs with hot butter, onion rings, and corn on the cob. Oh, I mentioned crabs before, didn’t I? I told you I was addicted. Anyway, after dinner, we’d go home where we would cuddle in bed and watch a movie.
My second favorite would be on a play-off weekend. Tim and I play pool on three teams. In my scenario, we’d both get a chance to shoot pool. One of us would play the deciding game and kick major butt, propelling our team to the next round. After that, of course, we’d drive down for hot steamed crabs drenched in Old Bay. Guess where we’re going this weekend?
What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I seldom get it but the one time I did, I simply interviewed my characters and got their point of view about their fellow characters and they story they are involved in. That was one of the most interesting things I ever did. It wasn’t like those character sheets people talk about. It was like chatting with someone you just met. And some of those chats were scary because remember, I write horror.
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
I was a technical writer for a long time. It was very satisfying. It also gave me the structure and feel for detail that helps me today. But that doesn’t really answer your question, does it? I think I would like to have been a criminal profiler or a crime scene analyst. It would allow me to help people and at the same time be interesting.
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I had a very dark and lonely childhood. But there was one shining star, an angel on earth, really. I had a step-grandmother who treated me like I was a blood relative. When everyone else was telling me I wasn’t really family, she stepped in and made sure I was a part of whatever activity was going on. She always spoke kindly to me and gave me plenty of hugs. Because of her, I never hardened the way I might have. Because of her, I had hope. When I lost her, I put all my memories of her in my heart so that I would always have that shining star with me. She was truly a good soul.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
My father. My mother kept me from him so I never met him but I always wondered what kind of father he would have been to me.
What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? Always tell your book’s truth. Don’t sell out and change things because somebody doesn’t like your truth. Not everyone has your best interest at heart and they will try to undermine you in a passive, aggressive way but if you remain true to yourself, you will learn to gravitate toward the good people in our world and not dwell with the nay-sayers.
I would like to take a few minutes to talk about my business Wickedly Awesome Designs. At Wicked, I offer over 200 pre-designed covers. Whether you have a brand new book or you want a fresh look for a book already published, Wickedly Awesome Designs might just have what you are looking for. We all know that it is important to grab the first great impression, my covers grab the eyes of readers and emote emotions. My covers are unique, one-of-a-kind beauties that are affordable while still being artistically enticing. You can also purchase social media photo cards to market your book at www.WickedlyAwesomeDesigns.com. I love creating these covers and photo card. Plus, I get the satisfaction of making someone else happy at the same time. I want you to be as excited about your new cover as I was when I created it.
I know I just love the cover you made for my new book, Suzi. I love your work. We at Vision and Verse wish you continued success in all your writing endeavors. Hugs.