Anita Higman interview with Susan Sleeman
Q: Let me start with asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: Well, I grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma where we raised wheat, cattle, and hogs commercially. I’d like to say that my experience in the country was idyllic, but I can only use that description sparingly. At times, I found farm life to be hard, lonely, and occasionally brutal. In some ways farm life had a gothic feel to it, and you’ll sense that in my Volstead Manor Series. Even though these three novels aren’t based on true stories, they do reflect some of the tone of my youth. I hope you find my stories fascinating, moving, and entertaining.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I was a little, I had a cheap portable typewriter, which I used to write my first masterpiece. It was a pretty silly attempt at writing, and I never finished it, but it showed me the desire of my heart—to be a teller of stories. It brings me great joy to create characters and then get them into trouble on the page. Endless hours of fun.
Q: Could you give us the highlights of your professional writing career including how you got your first writing break?
A: One of my first breaks came when a publisher decided to release a book of my one-act plays for church dinner theatre. I really enjoyed that unique writing journey for the stage, and the discipline and experience helped me to write snappier dialogue for my novels. But I’m glad I didn’t stay in that genre for too many years, since I really was meant to write novels.
Q: Would you tell us about your current book release?
A: Another Grave Matter just came out, exclusively for the Kindle, but it will be available for other e-book readers sometime in April. Here’s a brief blurb about the novel.
Volstead Manor has caught on fire, and the last of its murderous secrets flare hot enough to drive Bailey back to her sleuthing. A villain, who remains shrouded in darkness until the end, threatens to destroy Bailey, and once again the mansion ignites with malevolent mischief. While she unearths a family secret from Prohibition that’s hidden deep within the cellar, she becomes entangled in a ticking-clock race to save her own life. Will the foul surprises never end at Volstead Manor, and will Bailey’s desire to marry Max go up in smoke?
Q: Where did you get your inspiration for Another Grave Matter?
A: As I mentioned in an earlier answer, my experiences growing up on the farm contributed to my mindset for this series. Also, I grew up in a creepy 100-year-old house that came with an attic, basement, and cellar. Plenty of nooks and crannies to let my imagine go wild!
Q: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
A: How the heroine, Bailey, grew more open and giving with each book.
Q: What is your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
A: The ending. I hope everyone thinks it’s satisfying.
Q: What inspires you to write?
A: Seeing injustice in the world and wanting to fix it is one of the big motivators. Also, I hope to glorify God with my work.
Q: How has being a published novelist differed from your expectations of the profession?
A: I thought I’d just be writing books, but I also have to do lots of promotion.
Q: What advice or tips do you have for writers who are just getting started?
A: Read and write until you feel your voice emerging.
Q: Would you share with us what you are working on now?
A: I just started working on another Christmas novel entitled, Christmas at Rose Hill Cottage. I’ll be writing it in the springtime, but I love Christmas so much it should be no problem to put myself into the mood again.
Q: What is something your readers might be surprised to learn about you?
A: A long time ago I rappelled off a cliff alongside the man I was dating. We kissed in mid-air while dangling off that cliff. I ended up marrying that man, and we’ve celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary!
Q: When you’re not writing what do you like to do?
A: Decorate the house, read good books, and create big family dinners.
Q: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?
A: I think writing is incredibly hard. When I start a new book, it seems impossible. It is impossible! But somehow word by word it gets gone. Just like when kids are born, each completed book seems like a miracle.
February 06, 2012
SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. Her first book, High-Stakes Inheritance was an ECPA bestseller. Award nominations include The Christmas Witness for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and Thread of Suspicion for the 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Best Book Award.
In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. She currently lives in Oregon, but has lived in nine states. Her husband is a realtor and they have two daughters, a son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
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About Anita Higman
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has twenty-seven books published (several coauthored) for adults and children and has seven more books coming out. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art.
Books by Anita Higman
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