I’m delighted to share my interview with Susie Black and details for her new release “Death by Sample Size”. As a bit of a clotheshorse, I loved hearing the inspiration behind the first in this mystery series. Be sure to check out the complimentary swimsuit fit guide following the interview.
Book title: Death by Sample Size
Genre: Cozy Mystery
What was the inspiration behind your latest release? Who could push a sales exec to dream of murder and mayhem? Who else but a buyer? After completing a rather challenging conversation with an important, but difficult account, I imagined how good it would feel with my hands around her scrawny neck, squeezing the life out of her. While the notion of knocking off my annoying customers was wildly appealing, a horizontally striped prison uniform making my four-foot, nine-inch body look like a barbershop pole and a fire hydrant had a child wasn’t a pretty sight. The viable alternative? Writing humorous murder mysteries set in the Los Angeles garment center. Brilliant and cathartic! In one fell swoop, eliminate a pain- in- the- patootie buyer, avoid life in prison and still get the order. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Where do you get your ideas? Like the protagonist in my Holly Swimsuit murder mystery series, I am a ladies’ apparel sales exec. From the start of my career, I have kept a daily journal that chronicles the quirky, interesting, and often challenging people I’ve encountered as well as the crazy situations I’ve gotten myself into and out of. The journal entries are the foundation of my research and all my writing. The most critically important skill a successful sales exec must have is to be a good storyteller. Fortunately, I’ve been telling stories since I learned how to talk. Since I’d never written a novel before, the only thing I knew to do was to apply the same story-telling skills I’d successfully used hawking bikinis to writing a tale. So, where did my story ideas come from? My mother didn’t raise stupid children. I paid attention to the mantra. Write what you know. With a dollop of imagination, a pinch of angst, and a decades-long career chocked to the gills with juicy characters, I had more stories itching to be told in my daily journal than time to write them. Do ideas for plot or characters appear first? Since I am a people person, characters always appear first. All of my characters are based on real people I’ve encountered during the course of my career, with my take on them and some poetic license, of course.
Have you ever travelled when researching information for a book? Yes. I have traveled to New York City as well as day trips into downtown Los Angeles to the Apparel Mart as well as to garment factories.
When did you begin writing? I’ve been writing for a long time. I wrote my first short story when I was in elementary school.
How many hours do you dedicate each day towards writing? I try to write something every day, but I don’t have a set writing schedule or dedicate X number of hours daily to it.
What has been your biggest challenge? Marketing.
What does literary success mean to you? When a readers says they can’t wait until my next book will be out.
What writing tips or marketing advice would you like to share? Writing tips: Keep writing, no matter what, keep writing. Trust your gut, believe in yourself, never let anyone crush your dream, and never stop asking what if? Marketing advice: Be selective about what type of marketing you do and do what you like and what you believe in. If you don’t see the point to Twitter, don’t do it as you won’t be effective trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Don’t try to do everything or you will do nothing well.
Which authors inspire you? The late, great Joan Hess, The late, great Anne George, Nancy J. Cohen, The late, great Donald E. Westlake, Carl Hiaasen
What project are you currently working on? Book number two in the series is ready for querying. Book number three is back from the Beta readers and revisions are being worked on now.
Upcoming books: Book two will publish sometime in 2022 events & appearances: I have made a presentation to the Palm Valley Country Club Book Club, I will be a guest on the Novel Talk Podcast
“The last thing swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected was to discover ruthless buying office big wig Bunny Frank’s corpse trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey with a bikini stuffed down her throat. When Holly’s colleague is arrested for Bunny’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth jumps into action to find the real killer. Nothing turns out the way Holly thinks it will as she matches wits with a wily killer hellbent on revenge.”
Born in the Big Apple, Susie Black now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries. She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.
Social Media Links
Link to Holly’s Swimsuit Fit Guide