About Susan Hunter:
My work and personal life have always revolved around words. I’ve been a reporter and managing editor at a small daily newspaper. I’ve also taught college composition classes, written print, radio and television advertising, speeches, newsletters, press releases, academic papers and memos. Lots and lots of memos. I’ve received both the UPI First Place Award for Investigative Reporting and the Michigan Press Association First Place Award for Enterprise/Feature Reporting. I am a charter member of Introverts International, which meets regularly on the 12th of Never. I live in rural Michigan with my husband. Dangerous Habits is the first book in the Leah Nash Mystery/Thriller series.
What inspires you to write?
Inspiration may not be the word for me. I feel compelled to write. It’s a need that I’ve filled in various jobs as reporter, editor, advertising copy writer, composition teacher, academic but writing fiction is by far the most satisfying. I get my ideas from things I read in the paper, or overhear standing in line, or from things that happen to me, my family and my friends.
Tell us about your writing process.
I always know how I want the book to end before I begin. I usually do a general outline, figure out who the main characters are, what their goals and motivations are and then after I feel like I’m going round in circles, I sit down and start churning out the pages. After a few chapters I stop, regroup, make sure something is actually happening (I like words so much that I can fall into the habit of just nattering on about nothing, which is not a good thing when trying to structure a novel). I usually map out the next few chapters and then write and regroup. Writing is a recursive process for me, not a linear one.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters, definitely. I want to be sure I’m expressing their thoughts in their words, their voice. And sometimes they surprise and take me in a direction I hadn’t planned.
What advice would you give other writers?
I wouldn’t presume to give anyone advice. I’ll just say that for me, I have to work at it, every day if possible. Even when the words don’t come easy, or I can’t figure a way out of a corner I’ve painted my lead character into, I force myself to sit down and get something down on paper almost every day. Even though I love it, the writing process isn’t easy for me and I am almost sick with envy when I read about authors who are able to turn out page after page without pulling out their hair.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had several near misses with my first work of fiction – that is, I had three or four agents who responded to my query with requests to read the entire manuscript. Ultimately they passed, and rightly so. My first effort was just not well plotted enough. But that experience taught me how long the publication process can be. It took over a year to get the final no that sent me back to the writing board. When I finished the manuscript for Dangerous Habits, I didn’t want to go through that lengthy submission process again. I opted to self-publish and though I’m not sorry I did, it is not the easy way to go. Along with the immediate gratification of clicking a button and seeing your book go live for sale, there is also the need to do lots of things on your own — editing, formatting, promoting, writing sales copy, setting up a web site, etc. Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Although e-publishing offers wonderful opportunities for writers, it also burdens them with a great many things that are not about writing. For that reason traditional publication will always hold an attraction for writers. I hope that as publishers increasingly embrace the possibilities of the ebook market, they become more willing to take a chance on new and niche authors and afford them the same services and support open to their traditional authors.
On the other hand, readers — at least readers of a certain age — will always enjoy the tangible, tactile thrill of holding a physical book with actual pages in their hands. So I don’t see print publishing going away anytime soon.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: mystery, thriller, suspense
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print