As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to have Susan Santangelo as my guest. She is here today to share her thoughts on mystery writing and tell us about Sleuthing Women, a boxed set of 10 mysteries that includes one of her books, Retirement Can Be Murder.
I love mysteries. Susan, what made you decide to write mysteries?
I’ve loved reading mysteries ever since I was a little girl. And I’ve been lucky enough to eke out a “meager” living as a writer for newspapers and magazines ever since the 1970s. When my husband of umpteen years announced that he was retiring from his 9-5 office job (he’s a writer, too), I suddenly realized that I needed to figure out something for us to do together, so we didn’t drive each other crazy. I’d been toying with writing a mystery about Baby Boomers. So many potential readers! I proposed that we write one together. But it didn’t work out that way.
Tell me a little bit more about Retirement Can Be Murder.
I’d always heard the phrase, “Write what you know.” What I knew was that my husband and I were part of a tsunami of Baby Boomers facing retirement, with all its financial and emotional adjustments. I came up with the book’s title first, and it made me laugh. Then I thought of a sub-head, “Every wife has a story,” so readers would know instantly that the story is being told from the wife’s point of view. Here’s the back cover blurb: “Baby Boomer Carol Andrews dreads her upcoming husband Jim’s retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it, except interfering in the day-to-day activities of the household and driving her crazy. Until her plans to stall Jim’s retirement result in her husband being suspected of murdering his retirement coach.”
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences?
Well, let’s just say that we’ve never found a dead body. As far as the rest of the story goes, I write what I’m living every day.
What else have you written?
The first book turned out to be the beginning of the Baby Boomer mystery series when readers wanted to know what happens to Carol and Jim after he retired. Book 2 is Moving Can Be Murder about the couple’s decision to sell the family home and downsize. Book 3, Marriage Can Be Murder, involves the destination wedding of one of the couple’s children. Class Reunions Can Be Murder takes place at Carol’s 40th high school reunion, and in Funerals Can Be Murder, a hunky handyman who works for Carol and Jim dies under mysterious circumstances. In Second Honeymoons Can Be Murder, the couple travel to Florida for a very unusual anniversary celebration.
What are you working on right now?
Carol celebrated just a little too much while she was in Florida and gained some excess pounds, so I decided she needed to start counting her calories. I’m writing Dieting Can Be Murder now, and learning a lot about healthy food choices. And, I love this title, since I realized that the first three letters of the word “dieting” are “die.” What a natural title for a mystery!
How do you conquer writer’s block? (Please let me know your secret.)
I’m a terrible eavesdropper. And I love to shop. When I’m having trouble with some dialogue or a particular scene in my w.i.p., I order myself to take a break for some retail therapy. I always choose the longest line at the supermarket, too. It’s amazing what people talk about on their phones in a public place these days. I get lots of ideas. But, alas, our accountant says we can’t call my credit card purchases “research” and deduct them.
I am guessing you read a lot of mysteries. Do you enjoy reading (or even writing) other genres as well? What are you currently reading?
I’m lucky enough to get to review mysteries for Suspense magazine. Right now, I’m reading And Then There Were Nuns by Kylie Logan. It makes me laugh out loud, especially since I went to Catholic school.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I’d like to go back to Italy. I love the people. And I love the food!
What advice do you have for other Baby Boomers?
It’s never too late in life to try something new. If you can dream it, do it! If not now, when?
10 First-in-Series Mysteries
Sleuthing Women is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:
- Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder…
- Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.
- Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.
- In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.
- The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends’ funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn’t realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her.
- Retirement Can Be Murder, A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.
- Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME’s On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.
- A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.
- Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve.
- Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.
- Kindle: http://amzn.to/260z0T6
- Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sleuthing-women-lois-winston/1123663544?ean=2940153179940
- Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/sleuthing-women-10-first-in-series-mysteries
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sleuthing-women-10-first-in/id1103428642?mt=11
As part of this blog tour, enter for a chance to win one of five e-copies of the Sleuthing Women boxed set in a Rafflecopter giveaway.
About Susan Santangelo
Susan Santangelo pens the bestselling Baby Boomer mysteries, a series of humorous cozies which follow the adventures of a typical boomer couple as they navigate their way along life’s rocky highway toward their twilight years. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cape Cod Writers Center, and also reviews mysteries for Suspense magazine. She shares her life with her husband Joe and two very spoiled English cocker spaniels, Boomer and Lilly. Boomer also serves as the model for the books’ covers.
15 thoughts on “Interview & Giveaway: SUSAN SANTANGELO, Mystery Author”
Great interview-I hope I win the boxed set….
Susan, with a recently retired husband myself, I can say they are a mixed blessing. But fortunately, he has his music, so he leaves me alone enough to get my writing done. Loved your blog!
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Having my recently retired husband around all day was a challenge for me too 😄 i sooo get it.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Lucky you! Separate interests are so important. My husband and I are both writers, so….
Nice interview. Nice box set.
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It’s a wonderful box set, and I’m so lucky to be part of it.
Thanks for this, Susan. SO many of us can relate to this! My husband is a techie, so all I have to do is create a problem and he’ll be distracted until lunch time!
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Literally laughing over here!
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Aren’t you the clever one!! What a great idea. Hmm. Wonder what I can come up with for my own husband.
Another point of connection, Susan–my protagonist is also a Carol. What made you choose the name?
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I picked the name Carol becauseI knew so many Carols when I was growing up. I try to use character names that were common in the Boomer era. Can’t use one of the most common ones, though. There were 8 Susans in my own high school class!
I love the way your series flows quite naturally from one real-life scenario to another. I’m looking forward to reading your book in the anthology!
Maggie, that is such a compliment coming from an author I admire so much. Backacha!