Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello. My name is Susanne Leist. Do I have to give my age? Okay, I’m 59 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have an M.B.A. in Finance. I worked as a financial analyst in the commodities markets and then as a budget analyst. Later in life, I turned to writing. I have two daughters, both married. I live on Long Island with my husband, Maltese dog, and dwarf bunny (who belongs to my younger daughter. Poor Thumper.)
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’ve recently completed book two of The Dead Game series. The first book resolved the murder mystery, but at the same time, opened a Pandora box of new problems. Its surprise ending leads us to book two.
The second book takes the heroine, Linda, and her friends on a chase through Florida from a private club in Disney World to the swamps of Southern Florida. In its wake, a trail of dead bodies leaves their bloody signature.
Book two should be released this summer. That is if I can stop editing before I send it to the editor.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved to read books. I grew up reading all types of thrillers and mysteries, from Agatha Christie to Sherlock Holmes. Except for Agatha Christie’s novels, I’ve been able to figure out the endings. Then one day, I decided to write a book of my own, to play with clues like the famous authors, and create a surprise ending. I wanted to be like Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury, in Murder She Wrote.
After I wrote The Dead Game, my fantasy came true. I wasn’t so concerned with profits as I was with having people read my words. After I sold the first book, I was on Cloud Nine thinking about someone somewhere reading my story.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t know if I consider myself a writer. I’m a dabbler. I dabbled in Finance, then Marketing, and now writing prose and poetry. Once I published my book, I felt more like a writer than before.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I wanted to write a book that combined paranormal with mystery. This type of literature is hard to find. I decided to write a paranormal, murder mystery of my own. My book, The Dead Game, has dead bodies and suspects like a traditional murder mystery. However, it also has humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives. And don’t forget the haunted house—we must have one of these.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The Dead play an essential part in the book. Since they enjoy playing evil games to the detriment of the residents of Oasis, I called it The Dead Game.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write what I feel inside. I keep writing until my fingers hurt and my eyes get blurry. Then I edit and edit. Editing is challenging, and I don’t know when to stop.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book isn’t based on reality in any way, shape, or form. The story and characters evolved from my overactive imagination.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I travel through the strange ideas in my mind. I use the computer to check up on places and events.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I designed it with Outskirts Press. I asked for a door with a hand holding it open, and blood dripping out. They didn’t have it in stock. So we agreed upon the door with fire around it.The door plays a significant role in my book.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I can now say I’m a full-time writer. I pen my poetry on my blogs and AuthorsDen.com. After I publish my second book, I’ll work on the third one in the series.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I learned a lot from the reviews on my book. I wouldn’t have written in multiple points of view, which can confuse readers. My second book is written basically in one point of view with a few other points of view thrown in as needed along the way.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I now know to have everything in place before my book is released. The Dead Game first sat on Amazon and Barnes & Noble without a by-line or an author bio. Outskirts Press didn’t prepare me. I had to hurry to compose descriptions and open blogs. I quickly learned about Facebook, Twitter, and Google as social sites to share my book. The first month was hectic. I know better this time around.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Linda is sensitive and loves to read. She is a good and loyal friend. KatharineMcPhee, Natalie Portman or Emily Blunt would be great leading women.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Have all your social media, blogs, descriptions, and everything else in place before you release your book. Announce the arrival of your book in advance to raise readers’ expectations before the big event.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
The most important thing I want for you is to enjoy my story and let it take you away from the mundane to a world of adventure and where the impossible becomes possible.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished Lisa Unger’s book, Crazy Love You. It’s a psychological thriller like Gone Girl. I expected more from Gone Girl after all the hype. Crazy Love You also delivers a story that is slow and predictable.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
My first grown-up book was the Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. My brother was an avid reader, and I read what he did.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The TV show, Mom, makes me laugh. If anything happens to an animal in a movie, on TV, or on social media, I’m a crying mess.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would love to meet Angela Lansbury. Need I say more?
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Shopping and swimming in that order.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy Supernatural, The Originals, Deception, Riverdale, Mom, and Timeless.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Pizza. Purple. Soft music.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I can’t imagine that. How much shopping and swimming can I do?
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Travelling as much of the world as I can.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She tried her best. I just made this up.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
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