Please welcome Susan Boyer, author of Lowcountry Boil, winner of the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, an RWA Golden Heart® finalist, and a sister Mysterista!
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
My perfect day starts with a simple breakfast of fruit and a bagel, eaten on the pool deck of a small cottage in St. John overlooking Cinnamon Bay. After breakfast, we read and occasionally get up to dip in the pool. When we feel like lunch, we hop in the jeep and drive to either Island Blues or The Beach Bar. After lunch we go snorkeling at Waterlemon Key. Then it’s shower and nap time, followed by Sugar grilling something for dinner while we watch the sunset.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
It’s really hard to properly accessorize pajamas, and I wear those to work most days. But when I go out, I usually wear my silver hoop earrings. I tend to wear a lot of blues and greens. If I have a signature phrase, it’s probably, “just one more song,” on Karaoke night.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Vincent Van Gogh—I could stare at his paintings for days. Something in them feeds my creative spirit.
Marilyn Monroe—she was so much smarter than most people give her credit for.
Dr. Seuss—it’s amazing the wisdom he put into children’s books. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Do you listen to music when you write?
Never—it would pull me out of my alternate reality. I listen to a soundtrack of ocean waves, on repeat.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
A Godiva open oyster—they’re full of nuts, but the nuts are so much a part of the chocolate you only notice the flavor.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
A combination of things—my love of the South Carolina lowcountry, my love of small towns in general, and a Don Henley song—Last Resort.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
One that comes to mind is that sometimes people are not at all what they appear. Some people are very adept at disguising their true selves.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Liz Talbot gets to do everything I’d like to do but don’t have the nerve. That’s her raison d’être. One thing she recently did that would really be fun is chase down some bad guys on a jet ski.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Melanie Smooter (the Reese Witherspoon character in Sweet Home Alabama) and Kinsey Millhone, with just a little Brenda Leigh Johnson.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Charlaine Harris, Sue Grafton, Dean Koontz, Carl Hiaasen, Joshilyn Jackson, and Lee Child.
What’s next for you?
Liz Talbot’s next adventure. We’re hoping it will be out in the spring.
Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist.
BONUS: Giveaway! We’ll have a drawing from those who leave comments for one copy of Lowcountry Boil in either e-Book or trade paperback format–winner’s choice. Please leave your email address along with your comment to enter. (Trade paperbacks will only be shipped to North America.)