Sometimes it is not easy to categorize one’s book. Genres can be blurred by a theme or character, and usually that is because we all have different literary tastes. Author Susanne Leist is one of these authors. She combined her love for mysteries, thrillers and the paranormal with her book, The Dead Game, which is the first book in a trilogy. Here she is to talk about her writing, her book and her self-publishing:
MC: Many dream of one day writing a book. What prompted you to turn that dream into reality?
SL: I have been reading murder mysteries and thrillers since I was a teenager. I’ve read all types of mysteries, from Agatha Christie to Sherlock Holmes. In recent years, I’ve begun to read paranormal mysteries. These books bring fantasy and the surreal to the simple murder mystery.
It is hard to find books that combine paranormal with mystery. That is why I decided to write a paranormal, murder mystery of my own. It is the type of book that I search for and love to read.
My book, The Dead Game, has dead bodies and suspects like a traditional murder mystery. However, it also has humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives. And don’t forget the haunted house—we must have one of these.
MC: How did you balance writing your book with work and family?
SL: At this point of my life I have time to write. One daughter is married and the other is in college. Since I’m not working, I have free time to devote to my craft.
My writing didn’t begin as a craft. It began as a hobby, which grew over the years into a book. With a finished book in hand, I decided that it was time to publish. Since I self-published, I had to enter cyberspace to find readers. Soon I had Facebook, Twitter, and Google accounts. I even created blogs. I entered a whole new world. I’ve met many Indie authors, independent authors, who are very supportive of each other.
I am no longer alone.
MC: What intrigues you more: the paranormal or mysteries?
SL: I enjoy books that challenge me. I need a murder or a mystery to hold my attention. All the clues must tie in together at the end. The resolution must be satisfying. That is a true mystery for me, a la Agatha Christie.
The paranormal also calls out to me. I love haunted houses, creepy settings, feelings of being stalked…To me, this entails a killer or villain. Most paranormal stories have villains and dead bodies, so they can easily become mysteries.
MC: How are your vampires different from all the others out there?
SL: My vampires have been created from my creepy imagination. They look human—that is until they attack. Then they have the red or green glowing eyes. They stand out from other vampires by the way they form alliances and mate.
Human vampires are a product of a human and a vampire. Their powers are different from a vampire’s power. Vampires can fly, shape-shift, control minds, and be killed by fire. They must stay out of the sunlight—unless they are protected by a special green glass. Human vampires don’t have these powers but only the power of suggestion. They are stronger and live longer than humans. They die of old age—if they’re not killed beforehand.
These facts are revealed over time in the book, and are kind of, a spoiler.
MC: You chose to self-publish your book. What made you choose this route?
SL: I self-published my book. However, I wouldn’t recommend this unless an author has his or her marketing in place beforehand.
At the end of August, Outskirts press, the self-publishing company, informed me that my book was published. I’d thought that this meant it was ready for print. I was waiting for them to send out a Press Release and a Wholesaler’s Summary of my book. Little did I know that my poor book was sitting alone on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, without any words or background.
That same day, I wrote up my bio and summaries of the book. I opened online accounts and blogs. I hadn’t known what a blog was but soon I had three of them.
That same week, I joined reading groups and whatever else came up on my computer screen.
Now, four months later, I can sit back and breathe a little. I never want to go through those last few months again. If I had connections, or knew about the publishing business, I would have published the traditional way. It would have been harder at the beginning. Afterwards, I wouldn’t have had to navigate through cyberspace on my own.
My advice to a new author is to make sure that you are prepared before you launch your book. If you are prepared, then you can take the traditional path or the newer route of self-publishing.
MC: What can we expect from Susanne Leist in the future?
SL: My plan for now is to find readers and a target audience for my book. The Dead Game is the first in a series of three books. The first book resolves the murder mystery, but at the same time, opens a Pandora’s box of new mysteries. Its surprise ending will lead to more surprises.
Once my book is established
in the marketplace, I will begin my work on the second book. I have an outline and notes all ready to be written. My writing often leads me in unknown directions, so I won’t know how the book will end until it does.