Today we sit down for a chat with cozy mystery, domestic suspense, and women’s fiction author Suzanne Trauth. Learn more about Suzanne and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I started out writing plays in grade school and high school and many years later decided to begin work on a novel…maybe twenty-five years ago. But in between then and now I wrote more plays and began a cozy mystery series – the Dodie O’Dell Mysteries.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
I started writing my first cozy mystery in 2013 and found a publisher in 2015. I also started drafting a novel twenty years ago, and it is finally being published this summer!
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Where do you write?
Usually in my home office on the basement level, but I have been known to work on planes, in airports, coffee shops, and hotels.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Usually I write in silence.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
My cozy series has a restaurant manager as the protagonist but next door to the restaurant is a community theatre, so productions play an important role in both the murders and in solving the mysteries. (There’s also theme food on the restaurant menu to parallel the nature of the play.)
I spent 40 years in theatre—academic, professional, and community—so I have lots of material to draw from! Some characters have come right out of my theatrical experiences.
Describe your process for naming your character?
Usually I play around with ideas—trying to avoid using similar sounding names to differentiate characters. But with my latest mystery, Killing Time, I held a Facebook contest to name characters, and I worked four winners into the book!
Real settings or fictional towns?
The town, Etonville, is fictional—located in northern New Jersey—but it is based on a couple of real towns.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Lots of folks in Etonville are quirky—it’s a cozy mystery!—but in Killing Time, there are a pair of elderly sisters who wear garlic necklaces just in case the actor playing Dracula turns out to be a real vampire! There is also Edna, the local law enforcement dispatcher, who is forever using police codes in conversation to explain everything from a broken streetlight or traffic jam to a murder victim. She drives the town crazy.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
My quirk? I have to write with a certain kind of pen and I need legal pads for keeping my schedule and to-do list…no iPhone calendar for me!
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It is a beautiful story of a father and daughter caught in the dangers and chaos of wartime Europe and includes two of my favorite things: the time period is World War II and the setting is France.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
Though I enjoy the pace of my writing career, if I had a do-over I’d start writing earlier in my life, and maybe cut back on the theatre and replace the time with drafting the novels. But then again, I needed the theatre as inspiration for the mystery series…so maybe I wouldn’t do it over!!
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who are consistently negative, though I must admit these last two years have really, understandably, challenged folks.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Books! Ginger and turmeric tea! Sunscreen – I burn easily!
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Selling magazines over the phone. I was 18 and lasted two hours.
Who’s your all-time favorite literary character (any genre)? Why?
There are so many…but right now what comes to mind is Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I so love his integrity and compassion…so necessary in any time.
I also love Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich) because she’s a Jersey girl extraordinaire with great hair and a sense of humor!
Ocean or mountains?
Definitely ocean. I love the water, sand, waves, and smells. I’ve become a transplanted Jersey Shore girl!
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
A little of both. I was raised in a suburb in Ohio, worked in rural Kansas, then moved to New York City. I moved from one extreme to the other.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I have a contemporary women’s fiction book coming out this summer (What Remains of Love) and a standalone domestic suspense novel in the works.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I think you covered it! Thanks for inviting me to join the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog!
A Dodie O’Dell Mystery, Book 6
With Halloween just around the corner, Dodie O’Dell is making preparations for the town costume party while the Etonville Little Theatre is staging Dracula. But casting the titular Transylvanian is proving challenging. The amateur actors in the company are not shy about chewing the scenery, but who among them can convincingly sink their fangs into a victim's neck? When a mysterious newcomer with a transfixing Eastern European accent lands the part, rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who's recently been spotted in the town park. But everyone’s blood really runs cold when a stranger is found in the cemetery with a real stake in his heart. Dodie decides to stick her neck out to bring the killer into the light of day. She'd better keep her wits about her, though—or Dodie may be the next one to go down for the Count.