Saturday, July 9, 2016

Interview w/ Judy Nickles, author of Susanna's Secret

Where did the idea for your novel come from?
   My newest release, a short read called Susanna’s Secret, began as a story written for a fan fiction site on which I was active for several years. It lent itself perfectly to ‘mainstreaming’.

How did you start writing?
   I’ve written since I could hold a #2 pencil in my fat fist. Unfortunately, my earliest literary masterpieces, “Fishnet” and “Butterfly Net” (think the old television program “Dragnet”) never quite made it to the New York Times Best Seller List (although I can’t imagine why not)!  But after retiring, I ended up with four contracts for full length novels from The Wild Rose Press (a fifth contract is newly signed) and had several short stories published in print and ezine periodicals. Then indie publishing beckoned me for a cozy mystery series, a romantic suspense series, two books of short stories, and a stand-alone novel.

What does your writing process look like?
   I just write--but rarely anywhere except on the computer. I may write several thousand words or only a few hundred at a time. No real deadlines except those impose by editors--and for indie publishing none at all. Hey--I’m retired!

Where is your book set?
   Susanna’s Secret is a western novel--but it could easily be set in contemporary times with a little tweaking. Like my other stories, it’s about the human condition which spans generations.

Are your characters based on real people?
   Not in Susanna’s Secret. However, other novels have characters which combine characteristics of the many interesting people I’ve been privileged to know.

Did you always want to write?
   I guess I always needed to write. As a rather solitary child brought up mostly among adults, writing (like the piano) became my escape from the real world.

Which character is your favorite and why?
   I’m partial to Susanna because I admire strong women--especially women who have risen from being squelched and undermined as individuals. Like Susanna, I found myself on my own after my husband’s death, but I was younger with two children to raise. So I can identify with the struggles of a woman to take charge of her own life.

What authors do you enjoy reading? Why?
   I love mysteries--Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Margaret Truman, Agatha Christie, and John Grisham among others. They spin intriguing tales and keep my mind busy trying to figure out “whodunit”.

What are you reading right now?
   The Moonstone by Colin Wilcox. It’s an old book with the predictable stilted language and “going around the world to get to the next corner” sort of narrative, but it’s the book assigned for Sleuthers, the mystery book club to which I belong at the local library.

Dog or Cats?
   Neither one, thank you! I love my empty nest, although I often have two of my granddaughters with me. At ages 9 and 6, they are housebroken and don’t demand constant attention. As I write, they are “in office” in the living room, occupying themselves with only brief forays into the study. And I don’t have to board them out when I choose to go traveling!

What’s next for you?
   Well, I have another short read, The Showboat Reunion to submit following Susanna’s Secret. There are two completed novels in the dock waiting for vetting by a second beta reader and a sequel to another published novel which needs to be completed. In addition, probably half a dozen novels in various stages of completion (or incompletion) lurk on computer, not to mention “the great American novel” which I’ve only been working on for 40 years and which may never see the light of day--or the black of print. The positive side is, I can’t die--I don’t have time!

Susanna's Secret, Get it NOW

In a moment of loss and crushing despair, she struck a deceptive bargain with her husband to protect his name as he built his Texas empire. Years later, when he was gone in a hail of bullets, it came back to haunt her in ways she never imagined. Now she must strip away the hatred which has festered over a lifetime before it destroys her. But will the truth, reborn like the Phoenix, sever the carefully forged bonds between herself and her children?  Susanna feels fenced in and ripe for slaughter like the longhorns beyond her window. Damn you, Nathan Kingsley! Damn you for what you did! Damn you for dying and leaving me with the mess you made!

Pre-sale Review
Susannah's Secret is a fast paced tale of human failings and triumphs. It typifies how courage and compassion in the face of adversity works to the advantage of all. The characters are so believable through their human failings but rise above their selfish interests. Readers who have wanted, birthed, raised, or lost a child can especially connect with Susannah and her choices which is what good reads do by pulling us into the story with our emotions.   ~Georgia

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