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On the fourth day of Christmas,
In Mercy, Mississippi….
Four suspects lying,
Three sleuths a sleuthing
Two clues a hiding
And a very, very dead body.
It’s the Christmas season in Mercy, Mississippi. But things are far from jolly.
For Vlad Templeton the sleepy little town where he spent his childhood provides the perfect place to conduct his state funded sleep study. But when the local bank manager, who was participating in the study, is found dead on his doorstep, is it a set up…or is Vlad somehow involved?
But, when someone makes an attempt on Lily Gayle’s and Dixie’s life, the two realize they better move fast….or they might end up sleeping forever.
I love a good cozy mystery. That’s why I chose to write them. Agatha Christie got a grip on me a long time ago and has never let loose.
When I decided to write my own cozy mysteries, I wanted to set them in a small southern town. Write what you know, right? And I’m from a small southern town. So…
But I also wanted to have something that set my books apart from the other small southern town cozy mysteries. So, I set out on a journey to create a language flow that puts the reader right into the south. I did this by incorporating words and phrasing that are distinctly southern without going the ‘kiss my grits” route. And, just between us, I’ve never heard anyone in the south say that unless they were being deliberately sarcastic and mocking of stereotypes.
So. Cut off the lights instead of turn off the lights. Slept the clock around instead of slept around the clock. Head on back home instead of go home. You get the idea.
I thought it was brilliant!
My editor, not so much. She’s a marvelous editor, but she’s also a New Yorker. So when she edited the first book in the Lily Gayle Lambert series, it looked really scary when I got it back. But then I realized that she was marking up all that unique southern phrasing. So….we had a long talk about what I wanted to accomplish with this unusual writing style. So we’ve now worked out the kinks and I get to use my unique southern phrasing (only when characters are actually speaking or thinking) and when she’s editing, she will make a comment here and there on some particularly odd phrase to the effect that this is probably intended on my part but please look at it again.
And in both Death of a Wolfman; and Cherry Cake and a Cadaver, reviewers have commented on that very thing. The southern phrasing that I sought so hard to make into a living part of my books. It was one of the most wonderful feelings in the world to know that someone had seen what I tried to create and it resonated enough with them to include it in their comments.
That’s the best part of writing books. When readers tell you that something about the book made them smile. Or laugh. Or placed them in the setting of the books. Or that they loved it and can’t wait for the next one.
About the Author
Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.
She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.
Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her ‘baby books’ and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upsidedown and ‘reading’ by repeating the story verbatim from memory.
Susan writes mysteries set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.
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