I’d like to introduce you to the twentieth interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Sue Senden.
QUESTION: Hi, Sue! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. You write under the name S. M. Senden, and you are an author of murder mysteries and ghost stories. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer? How many books/stories have you written?
ANSWER: I have been writing all my life, so there is a long list! I published numerous short stories over the years and took classes in creative writing, play writing and screen writing.
QUESTION: Your mystery/crime novel, Clara’s Wish, was published by Second Wind Publishing in January, 2013. You have described it as ‘a little romance, haunted dreams, and a touch of murder set in the 1920’s in the Heartland of America’. Can you tell us more about the book? How did you come up with the story idea?
ANSWER: I like to read old newspaper accounts for research into the times, it provides the little details that brings another era to life. In reading through papers I found the story of a young woman who had gone missing, and the subsequent finding of her body. I often take a nugget of truth and wrap a mystery around it.
QUESTION: Why did you choose the 1920’s Heartland of America as the setting for you novel?
ANSWER: It was the era of the news paper article, and I am interested in the 1920’s ~ an era after the Great War changed the world, so much was happening in the world of social change, and advances in machines. It was an era my Grandparents lived through and I remember asking so many questions about the era and of their lives.
QUESTION: You have been a journalist, historical author, and columnist. You’ve also worked with the police as a forensic artist, where you helped identify skeletal remains of murder victims. How did you past work influence this story, and your others?
ANSWER: I am one of those history geeks, and I wanted to create a story that was historically accurate, especially the woman. I did not take a modern day girl and drop her into another era, that is an error I see so often in the Historical books.
My forensic work helped me provide an accurate depiction of the condition of the body and autopsy. I had people ask me how many autopsies had I attended, the detail was so spot on.
For me I want to create ~ or recreate an era that is able to take the reader to another time and place. One that will inform readers of the vast changes that have happened in our world and of the roles men and women play, and their interactions. They say the devil is in the details, and when the details are wrong for any historical story, I loose interest. I don’t what that to happen for my readers. I prefer to have people learn something as they read.
QUESTION: Where did you get your book cover for Clara’s Wish?
ANSWER: I wanted to use an old photo, but it was possibly copywrited, so I had to dash off a water color that was my artwork. I wanted Clara to be looking back at the reader, luring them in to the past where she lived.
The cover for my next book, Lethal Boundaries, will be an amazing photo taken by a friend of mine, who is kind enough to let me use the photo!
QUESTION: Are you working on any other books? Is Clara’s Wish part of a mystery series?
ANSWER: Clara’s Wish is not part of a series. My next book is Lethal Boundaries, set in Red Oak, Iowa in 1939. This was inspired from another tid-bit I read while researching my history book of the area. The old Opera House in town had been closed and locked in 1909 when the new theater opened. No one had gone back upstairs in 30 years, and when they did, it was a time capsule ~ as if the old theater had closed the night before, so I put a body up there, and created a mystery about the secrets people keep.
I also have a present day series about a forensic artist that gets tangled up in murders as she is working on the reconstruction of the skull for the police. The first two books are complete and waiting in line for publication.
QUESTION: Do you have a writing routine, a special place where you go to work on your novel writing, or a certain time of day? Do you have a pet that stays by your side as you write?
ANSWER: I have a library~office that I use as my work space. I get up in the morning, and ‘go to work’ in the office. I have my coffee and create. I will give myself the work day of about 8 hours to write, edit, create, etc as needed. When creating a story I like to set a goal of at least ten new pages a day. I have written up to thirty pages in a day. When the story is ready to be written, it comes quickly. It is the editing and rewrite that takes the time.
QUESTION: What books are you currently reading?
ANSWER: I am doing research right now into the late 1700’s early 1800’s for another historical mystery, so I am reading diaries, journals, and histories of the life and times of a number of prominent people in that time period. I am also reading a few other books for fun. I usually rear about 4-5 books at once, depending on what room I am in, some pleasure some research. There are books everywhere, so there is a kitchen book, bedroom book, bathroom book, a living room book and even a TV room book. I keep them all straight as to what is happening, and they are all different.
QUESTION: Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!
ANSWER: Where to order an autographed copy of Clara’s Wish ~~
Amazon has all electronic versions available as well.
I have a facebook page ~ Sue Senden, people can friend me if they would like.
I had a web page but the company was a disaster! I will one day have another web page.
I do not tweet, as facebook is enough of a waste of time, I don’t want any more social media time wasters! LOL