Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Susan M. Boyer - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author Susan M. Boyer. She is the author of the Liz Talbot romantic mystery series.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Literature & Fiction

Website: Susan M. Boyer
Author's Blog: Susan M. Boyer
Twitter: @susanmboyer
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Susan M. Boyer's debut novel, Lowcountry Boil (a Liz Talbot Mystery) is an Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient, and a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist. LOWCOUNTRY BOMBSHELL, the second book in the Liz Talbot series, will be released September 3, 2013. LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD and LOWCOUNTRY BORDELLO will be released in May and October of 2014, respectively.

Susan's short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, and Relief Journal, among others. She is the recipient of Relief Journal's editor's choice award in fiction and has been recognized by the Carrie McCrary Memorial Literary Awards program.

She and her husband live in Greenville, SC.

Susan loves to hear from readers. Y'all come visit with her on the web anytime.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Lowcountry Bombshell. What do you have on the drawing board next? Will it be another Liz Talbot Mystery? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thank you so much! The next book in the Liz Talbot series, LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD will release in September of 2014. Liz has a new case to solve in LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD. Her client is a father from South of Broad in Charleston who hires Liz to find his daughter. She disappeared, and her father fears for her safety, but the police believe she has simply left home. She’s of age, and there’s a history of family drama.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?

I think building social media relationships is pretty important. Also, it’s fun. I enjoy interacting with the interesting people I’ve met through Twitter and Facebook. Some I’ve later met in person when I was visiting their area. I’m sure there’s a better way, but I just started following people with common interests, and they followed back. Sometimes it has worked the other way around. I haven’t used forums, and I only use my newsletter to announce new releases or a release in a new format.

You do a lot of book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

My next event is The Writing Show through Hub City Book Shop in Spartanburg, SC. It’s at 7 pm in the main library, and is panel discussion on traditional publishing versus self-publishing. My schedule is posted on my website, under the “About” heading.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thank you! I love my covers! I wish I could take credit for them, but this is all my publisher. They do show me the initial design, and I get to make suggestions and share my thoughts. But really, my suggestions are minor. Henery Press does an awesome job with covers.

Besides the RWA, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I’m laughing here because I may need an intervention. I’m addicted to writers’ organizations. Aside from Romance Writers of America, I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, Private Eye Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, South Carolina Writers Workshop… I feel like I’m missing a few. I would say that all of these organizations help me in incalculable ways. Through conferences, workshops, online groups, and groups that meet face-to-face, they have helped me with all aspects of writing and publishing.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

I try to compartmentalize as much as possible. When I’m writing, I try to focus on the writing, and I have a set schedule. I start writing in the morning, and work until I’ve gotten all the words out of me that I can for the day. Then, I focus on things that aren’t writing—marketing, blogging, family, etc. When I’m going through a phase where I have a lot of travel, I’m typically not writing. I’, just too drained at the end of the day. But, it’s not always possible to compartmentalize. There’s a balance I’m constantly struggling to maintain.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

The only giveaways I’ve done are Goodreads, a few as a part of a blog tour, and a book club giveaway that was a part of my release promotion for Lowcountry Bombshell. Virtually all of these were trade paperbacks. In every case, the goal was to get early readers and hopefully, early reviews. My publisher also makes pre-release copies available to reviewers on Net Galley, and sends review copies to several organizations for the same purpose. I can’t think of any obstacles that we’ve run into. So far I haven’t given away anything other than books, but I do plan some giveaways of Stella Maris souvenirs after the first of the year.

You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

I don’t think the short stories have impacted the sales of the novels. They were all published years before the novels. Honestly, I wrote the short stories when I was learning the business of publishing and someone had told me I needed to get a few short stories published before I tried to sell my first novel. I’ve since learned this isn’t necessarily true for commercial fiction, but more helpful if one writes literary fiction. It was part of my learning process. I’m really most comfortable writing novels. Short stories are not my most natural format. That’s not to say I won’t consider writing a few between novels in the future. I might.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

Thank you—I really appreciate your saying that. Honestly, I feel as though of all the things I do, the blog is the thing that most often gets pushed to the back burner, because there are so many things to be done and a limited amount of time. My first priority has to be the books. That said, my primary goal with the blog is simply to communicate with readers. It’s sort of a postcard from my world.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

My publisher sends out review copies and makes the eBooks available on Net Galley. Also, I do a blog tour when the book is released, and those typically result in reviews. Beyond that, I rely on my readers and hope that those who have time and are comfortable writing reviews will post them.

Author's Book List
Lowcountry Bombshell - A Liz Talbot Mystery
The AGATHA AWARD-WINNING Liz Talbot Mysteries


“Susan Boyer delivers big time with a witty mystery that is fun, radiant, and impossible to put down. I LOVE THIS BOOK!” – New York Times Bestselling Author, Darynda Jones

Liz Talbot thinks she’s seen another ghost when she meets Calista McQueen. She’s the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista’s life has eerily mirrored the late starlet’s—and she fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn’s death will also be hers.

Before Liz can open a case file, Calista’s life coach is executed. Suspicious characters swarm around Calista like mosquitoes on a sultry lowcountry evening: her certifiable mother, a fake aunt, her control-freak psychoanalyst, a private yoga instructor, her peculiar housekeeper, and an obsessed ex-husband. Liz digs in to find a motive for murder, but she’s besieged with distractions. Her ex has marriage and babies on his mind. Her too-sexy partner engages in a campaign of repeat seduction. Mamma needs help with Daddy’s devotion to bad habits. And a gang of wild hogs is running loose on Stella Maris.

With the heat index approaching triple digits, Liz races to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista’s life, but also her own.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Lowcountry Boil - Liz Talbot Mystery
USA TODAY Bestseller and AGATHA AWARD Winner for Best First Novel


“Imaginative, empathetic, genuine, and fun, Lowcountry Boil is a lowcountry delight.” - Carolyn Hart, Author of What the Cat Saw

“It's a simmering gumbo of a story full of spice, salt, heat and shrimp. She had me guessing, detouring for a few laughs then doubling back for another clue right until the last chapter.” – The Huffington Post

PI Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer. But when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, she opens her own. Then her long-dead best friend pops in and things really get complicated. As more folks turn up dead, Liz must use more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.


“Plenty of secrets, long-simmering feuds, and greedy ventures make for a captivating read...Boyer’s chick lit PI debut charmingly showcases South Carolina island culture.” - Library Journal

“I love this book. And you will too. Witty, droll, clever—and just a tad quirky! This light-hearted and authentically Southern mystery is full of heart, insight, and a deep understanding of human nature. Susan M. Boyer is a fresh new voice in crime fiction!” - Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha & Macavity Award-Winning Author of The Other Woman

“Pulls the reader in like the draw of a riptide with a keeps-you-guessing mystery full of romance, family intrigue, and the smell of salt marsh on the Charleston coast. A welcome visit home with people you want to know and, in some cases, are glad you aren't related to. A fun summer read!” - Cathy Pickens, Author of the Southern Fried Mysteries and Charleston Mysteries

“Twisted humor has long been a tradition in Southern literature (maybe it’s the heat and humidity), and Boyer delivers it with both barrels. In lesser hands, all the hijinks could be distracting, but not in Lowcountry Boil. Boyer’s voice is so perky that no matter what looney mayhem her characters commit, we happily dive in with them. An original and delightful read.” – Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine

“What do you get when you cross a Southern mystery, a ghost of a warning, a love triangle and a savvy protagonist who will stop at nothing? Easy, you get a page turning read—Lowcountry Boil.” - Donnell Ann Bell, Bestselling Author of The Past Came Hunting

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS eBook Author’s Corner
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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