Welcome to author Susie Black, author of the humorous Holly Swinsuit cozy mystery series.
Describe your favorite writing spot or space.
There is nothing that gets my creative juices flowing more than listening to cool jazz while sitting on a comfy Adirondack chair on the forward deck of my houseboat.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Like everything else, practice makes perfect. The first manuscript I wrote took three years to complete. Now typically it takes between six and nine months.
Do you write under a pseudonym?
Yes. Susie Black is my pseudonym.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
I am a people person, so the characters always come first. The characters drive the story, the story doesn’t drive them.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Most of my characters are based on real people. I usually do a play on the real names to get the character names. For example, Mr. Newman became Mr. Oldham. Mr. Turpin became Mr. Tyne.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Getting their emotional reactions accurate. Fortunately, I have two important men in my life I can rely on for guidance.
Can you hear your characters talking?
Absolutely yes. Sometimes they shout at me if I don’t pay close enough attention to what they want me to do.
How much time do you spend on research before starting a book?
Since all my plots are about the ladies’ apparel industry where I spent my entire career, I have done the lion’s share of research well before I start a book. While writing? The only research I do while writing is if a subject comes up in the course of plot development that I either don’t know enough about or has recently had a change. Otherwise, little to none.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am a devoted walker, world traveler, voracious reader, and avid stamp collector.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Write what you know. If you write it be sure you know it. Be true to yourself and your characters, keep writing no matter what and never stop asking “what if”.
Why did you choose to write in the humorous cozy mystery genre?
I get to knock off fictitious characters who in real life I’d have loved to have eliminated. Quite cathartic. I recommend this as a therapy method all psychologists should employ.
Born in the Big Apple, Susie Black calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.
She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.