Friday, 8 April 2016

Interview with Susanne Leist

Susanne Leist is the next author to sit in my interviewee's chair. Susanne is the author of The Dead Game, a supernatural thriller with mystery and romance. She 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 led to the fulfillment of her dream to put one of her stories on paper for everyone to enjoy. She lives on Long Island with her husband, two daughters, and Maltese dog.

Hi Susanne, thank you for dropping by.
Would you please tell us when you first realized you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been an avid reader, averaging a book a week. My over-active imagination has caused me to yell at the TV set when plots are too weak or when endings leave parts of the story dangling in space. One day I decided to write a murder mystery. Seven years later, I ended up with a vampire suspense. I had written outlines within outlines but my mind never stayed on one track. It did create a wild adventure with many twists and turns.

And what motivates you to write?
My mind is never at rest. It creates crazy stories from books and TV shows. At night it dreams crazier stories. It needed a constructive outlet. It found one in writing.

Where did the idea for The Dead Game come from?
The Dead Game was going to be a murder mystery with the usual dead bodies, clues, and suspects. Somehow along the way it metamorhosized into a vampire suspense. Many of the characters live in the dark forest behind the town of Oasis, Florida. They hide during the day to come out at night. This became a ripe setting for vampires. They look like people, act like people, but just happen to be undead.

Which, if any, of your personality traits did you write into your characters?
My main character, Linda Bennett, has many of my character traits. She’s shy and insecure. She lost members of her family to unexpected deaths. However, she is a follower and I was never and never will be a follower.

Did you develop characters from your personal experiences or draw from that of others?
My characters are created from my own imagination. They grow and develop through the story. I visualize who they are and what they would do in any given situation.

Which of your characters do you relate to the most?
I relate to my main character the most. Linda is me with a few traits of her own. Her goal in life is to become more assertive and to take control of her life. A similar goal to my own.

Who is your favourite character from The Dead Game and why?
My favorite character is Charles Wolf. He is charming and deadly. He can be unpredictable. He is strong but weakened by his love for Linda.

"I would love to visit France, sit at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, and walk through the cobbled streets."

Please describe your favourite scene or chapter in The Dead Game and tell us why it’s your favourite?
After defeating her friends, Wolf takes Linda into her arms and kisses her. She becomes lost in the unexpected passion, torn between her sweet love for Todd and her passionate love for Wolf. She feels herself losing control, becoming lost to Wolf.

Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?
The prologue was the hardest to write. At first, the book didn’t have one. The story began in the present. But it needed a past. A place for End House to show its true self. And thus the prologue was born.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
After I created my characters and their personality traits, I picked their names based upon people they reminded me of. These people could be from my past or even TV shows.

In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?
My book would take place in a small town in northern Florida with white sand and blue ocean. My cast would include actors from the TV show, The Originals. The characters from this show are dark and sexy like The Dead in my book.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
The cover was important to me. It had to show the door in Oasis that opened to... Well, I’m not going to tell what it does. But it is key to the story.

Who designed your book cover/s?
I had asked my self-publisher for a picture of a door with blood dripping down on the outside and a handing reaching out from the inside. They came up with a door that had fire around it. I changed the colors and focus to make it my door.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
The cover is one of the most important parts in the buying process. It’s what the reader sees first. It should reflect the personality and focus of the book. I’m happy with my door for the cover. It emphazies how hot the door really is.

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?
My work in progress is book two of The Dead Game series. It begins with back history of The Dead. A reviewer had requested more history on these vampires and I listened. One reader wanted to learn more about the Santa Muerte. I will be delving further into them. I’m including other requests from reviewers and also adhering to any criticisms given.

As a reader, I find myself wanting to know more about the authors that write the amazing books we read, so...
Do you like to get up early or stay up late? Why?
I like to stay up late to write my stories. It could be 4:00 in the morning and I’m still on the computer. It’s hard to get up the next morning.

Who is your favourite actor of your own gender?
I love Angela Lansbury. She was Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote. For years I wanted to be Jessica Fletcher slaving away on my typewriter.

What foreign country would you most like to visit?
I would love to visit France, sit at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, and walk through the cobbled streets. Paris means romance to me. I’m a die-hard romantic.

If you were ever stranded on a deserted island what would you miss the most and which three books would you take along?
I would miss music. Maybe the sound of birds chirping would be enough for me. I would miss stores and shopping. I was going to type that the sight of the ocean would be fulfilling enough for me. But no. I would need my shopping. Three books would help.I would take along “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, since it’s my favorite book. I would like to read “Gone With the Wind,” since I loved the movie. I got it! I would take along my book, The Dead Game. Maybe take a few extra copies to give out to the natives.

Thanks again for joining me today, Susanne. Have a fun day at the Brain to Books Cyber Convention.

Find Susanne here:

Buy The Dead Game here:

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