Blog for Pamela and Terri from the CozyArmchair Group on yahoo
Monday, December 3, 2012
Interview with Susan Oleksiw
Interview with Susan
Pam: Susan, tell us
what genres you write and how many books you have penned?
write two series, both of them in the traditional mystery series. At present
I'm writing the Anita Ray series, set in South India and featuring Indian
American Anita Ray, who lives in her aunt's tourist hotel in Kerala, South
India. Two books in that series have come out. The Wrath of Shiva appeared in
June 2012. The second series, which I began in 1993, features Chief of Police
Joe Silva and is set in the small New England town of Mellingham. I also write
reviews and short stories, some of them without dead bodies. My first book in
the mystery field was A Reader's Guide to the Classic British Mystery, so I
have a fondness for the nonfiction works in this genre. In total, I have published
(with Scribner and Five Star) 7 novels and (with GK Hall/Macmillan) 1 reference
book alone and a second one with Rosemary Herbert (The Oxford Companion to
Crime and Mystery Fiction). Compared to many mystery writers, I'm very slow.
Pam: Do you have a
favorite major and minor character?
saw this question right away when I opened your email, and I've been pondering
it. I don't think I have a favorite major or minor character but in every book
there is usually one character who emerges on his or her own, beyond what I had
planned for them. I find this type of character fascinating, because the
behavior is unexpected, but overall I like all my characters. They're
interesting and challenging, and I want to learn more about their lives.
Pam: When do you write
and for how long?
I start a book I write every day. When I finish a book, I take a month or so
off to let go of it and start thinking about the next one. I know I'm at the
end of a book when I start getting a sense of the characters in the next one,
but I push all that aside till I finish. I keep a log of what I accomplish
every day, partly as a way to push myself forward and partly as a way to keep
track of what I've done (or not done, as is sometimes the case). Because I have
a day job I write in the late afternoon or evening. I'm very strict about this,
and my husband has been very accommodating and helpful with planning dinner,
Pam: Describe your
office or writing space to us?
have a wonderful office. I began writing at the kitchen table in a small
apartment years ago, and now I have a room I call a library all to myself. I
have floor to ceiling bookshelves, a nice rug, and a desk I inherited from my
father--with drawers! I used to work on a trestle table I dragged into my library,
but now I have a real desk. I have two chairs for "guests," but one
is always stacked with books and the other one is where I drop my purse and
notebooks when I come home from work.
Pam: What writing
advice do you have for anyone who wants to be an author?
your time and write and write and write. Read as much as you can--all sorts of
books including those you might not want to read at first glance. I have never
met a successful writer who wasn't also a voracious reader.
Pam: Now for a fun
question. What is your favorite movie, dessert, meal and if you can narrow it
down your favorite book?
favorite movie is "The Lives of Others." My favorite meal is a very
good South Indian thali, the traditional festival meal served on a banana leaf
and featuring several vegetables and other dishes. I don't think I have a
favorite dessert, but I'm sure I'll think of something after I send this in to
Pam: What would you
like to say to your readers?
have learned a lot from thoughtful reviews by readers, and I hope I write
thoughtful reviews of books by other writers. I like to hear what other readers
think, and I've picked up books that I wouldn't normally read because someone
who read one of my books liked my book and liked this other one. I feel very
fortunate to be part of the community of mystery writers and readers--it's one
of the most welcoming and stimulating groups.
Pam: It's the holiday
season so this leads to reflecting over the past year. This year what are you
most thankful for and in your writing life what are you looking forward to in
always thankful for my health. I run a small social service agency for people
with HIV and HCV, and I see every day how much poor health takes from a life. I
admire our clients' courage in dealing with their health issues, and I'm
grateful I don't have those problems. I'm also always grateful for something
else that I think about often. I'm grateful for the beauty that surrounds
us--when i take a walk or visit a new place. Perhaps I think of this because
I'm also a photographer, but I try to encourage more people to look around them
at the beauty of the world they live in.
have just self-published a new novel in the Joe Silva series, as an ebook, and
I'm looking forward to discovering what this new epublishing world is like. I
have writer friends who have been amazingly successful, and I'm hoping to learn
more from them.
Pam: Lastly in closing
is there something coming up that you would like to share with your readers?
Perhaps a book signing or an event you will attend?
will be at the New England Mobile Book Fair on December 6. I have other events
scheduled for March, April and May of 2013, but that may be too far away to
Thank you so much for
volunteering to do an interview. I hope it was painless.
was definitely painless, and I enjoyed the questions. Thank you for asking me.