“I have always loved to read books. My goal has been to write a book different than any other book that I’ve ever read. And I believe I have accomplished this goal. Blurring the lines between genres, The Dead Game is a murder mystery, a supernatural thriller, and a romance all in one.”
Susanne Leist graduated with an MBA in finance. Her life has led her through the hectic commodities market and the number-crunching field of budgeting, but she always continued to read and daydream…which ultimately led to the fulfilment of her dream to put one of her stories on paper for everyone to enjoy. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband, two daughters, and Maltese dog.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? I’ve always been an avid reader. About ten years ago, I decided to write my first book. I grew up on Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. But the supernatural called to me and enticed me. I wasn’t happy with the paranormal books I was reading. I wanted a book that had the sarcasm and wit of the TV show, Supernatural, and the mystery of a classic murder mystery. I also wanted the thrills of the show, The Originals. I sat down with these goals in mind and wrote, The Dead Game.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? I’ve written one book so far, The Dead Game. It took me 8 years to write. I mulled over possible scenarios, characters, clues, and plot lines for awhile before I sat down to write. Then I wrote what inspired me. A storm outside inspired me to write the attack in the church by the flying creatures. A sunny day got me in the same mood as my main character, Linda, as she walked through town marvelling at how quaint it was. A bumpy plane ride had me writing the scene in End House’s basement with falling traps and swinging saws.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I don’t experience writers block but some days I might feel tired or sluggish. I need my brain to be sharp and my imagination churning. After a good night’s sleep, I feel prepared to tackle the chore. At the beginning it might feel like a chore, but soon it becomes a passion. Once I dive into the story and characters, I’m lost in their world. No chore any longer. And no writers block for me.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? I’ve always plotted and planned. I was trained to be a financial analyst so the use of charts and forecasting has become a part of me. I write outlines but they can be changed over time. I come up with new ideas while rejecting others—a revolving door of words, sentences, and even chapters. Then I have sub-outlines of the major outline to include character portrayals and changes. I need a separate outline to follow the clues provided throughout the book. All the clues must tie in perfectly at the end in a good murder mystery.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published, and what was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors? After my book was published, it sat on Amazon and Barnes & Noble without a description, bio, background, or anything for a few days. Outskirts Press, my self- publisher sent me an email—everything was done through email—saying that I was published; I wasn’t told that my book was available for sale. I wrote up summaries and descriptions for my book. I learned how to use Twitter, Facebook, and Google. I created blogs. I now have blogs on Tumblr, Blogspot, and WordPress. It was a year later before I was able to sit back and take a breath.
My advice to a new author is to have everything in place before your book is published. Blogs and online accounts should be open and ready. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but an anticipated event.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? After my book was mailed to me in paperback, I felt like a writer. It was an experience that I will never forget. To see your name in print on a book is thrilling. It gave me the chills. For the first time, I felt like I had legacy to leave behind; written proof that I had been here on earth.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish.
THE DEAD GAME
Linda moves to a small town to live a quieter and simpler life. She opens a bookstore and makes new friends. Life is simple–that is until the dead body washes up on shore. Linda is horrified to find out dead bodies and disappearing tourists are common for this town. As soon as the sun sets, she and her friends are stalked by dark shadows. But this is only the beginning.
Linda and her group receive an unsigned invitation to a party at the deserted house on the hill. They are afraid of the unfriendly hill residents, who only venture out of their homes at night. They attend the party. They are pursued through revolving rooms and dangerous traps, barely escaping with their lives. Two of their own remain trapped in the house. Or so they think.
The Dead Game has begun.
CONNECT WITH SUSANNE
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? The Dead Game is a paranormal suspense/thriller with mystery and romance.
Its target audience is hard to define since I don’t see who my buyers are. But I believe that readers who enjoy thrillers and mystery in a supernatural setting would enjoy my book. Book II in the series will delve deeper into Linda’s romance with Todd and a second mysterious man. There will be further character development. These events might appeal more to women readers.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? I love reading books, buying pocket books, and swimming. So this is what I do in my spare time. In the evenings, I watch TV shows to relax. I love my supernatural shows, such as The Originals and Supernatural, Forever, and Sleepy Hollow. As for mysteries, I watch How to Get Away with Murder, The Mentalist, Elementary, Rizzoli and Isles, Major Crimes, NCIS, and more.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) Same answer as question 5.
11.How would you describe your writing style? I write from the heart and from my over-active imagination. I close my eyes and feel the characters and the story. I write my thoughts down for as long as I can without stopping.Then I read and edit it.