I'm pleased to welcome Susan Boles to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Susan writes the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series. Death of a Wolfman is the first book in the series and was released August 5th.
SB: Yes, I do. I learned some very basic sewing when I was about twelve and then had sewing in school in both eighth grade and ninth grade. Then, my original college major was Fashion Merchandising, so I took some clothing construction classes at that time. I used to make some of my clothes when I was in high school and college.
Kathy: Lily specializes in period dresses for convention attendees and re-enactment groups. Do you participate in these type of events? Are you a re-enactor yourself?
SB: I'm not a re-enactor. But I would love to do it! I have a friend who is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and I have attended some events as her guest...and made costumes to wear for the events. Early Renaissance. I've attended costume parties a some writers conventions too. I have a beautiful satin and lace Renaissance ball gown that I made and also a chiffon mid-calf length fairy dress.
Kathy: What period of clothing has your favorite style?
SB: I love the clothing from the Renaissance. All those gorgeous lacings and wild sleeves! And I love Antebellum costumes too.The ball gowns from that period are gorgeous!
Kathy: Lily is also an amateur genealogist. Have you tried tracing your roots?
SB: Yes. I have been a amateur genealogist for about twenty five years. I've traced some of my family lines back to the early 1600's. It's one of the most interesting and frustrating things I've ever done. When the trail is hot, it can be amazing. But when it goes cold, it gets so frustrating that I could just scream.
Kathy: Is the Wolfman your favorite monster?
SB: I'm a fan of all the old monster movies. Dracula...."Look into my eyes!....the Wolfman, The Mummy. They kept me mesmerized as a kid. Watching them now, I see how corny/campy they are, but the memories are priceless. Sitting deep in the couch. lights off, with a blanket handy for when the scary stuff happened. But the Wolfman fit this story, so he is the one who got top billing.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
SB: I've been a fan of Agatha Christie for as long as I remember. I think that's true of a lot of cozy writers. She's the Queen of the genre. I also read all of the Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books over and over. Later, I loved watching Murder, She Wrote. I still love reading cozies and am always excited when I find new ones.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
SB: I wrote a women's historical fiction titled Kate's Pride that is loosely based on the life of one of my Great grandmothers. She’s was one who I couldn't trace back. She was disowned by her family shortly after the Civil War and, by the time I came along asking questions, no one knew who here family had been. I'm still looking. So I wrote a book about what I thought might have happened to her in that time and place and in her circumstances. It's still available from Wings express. I also have a romantic suspense with a twist of paranormal. It's contemporary and set in Memphis, TN. Not based on any real life situations though.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
SB: Death of a Wolfman is the first book in the Lily Gayle Lambert mysteries. I have books two and three blocked out. I’m really looking forward to writing them. There are lots of adventures in store for Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna. I also have another cozy mystery series in the planning stages. The main character for that series will be Stella Mae Starlight.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
SB: I have to admit, I kind of love Miss Edna. She's in her seventies and has a lot to say about life and love having lived so long. She's a great foil for Lily Gayle and Dixie. It helps that's she's an 'observer of human nature'. She sits on her front porch with binoculars and does 'bird watching' so she sees a lot of what goes on in town.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
SB:I grew up in a small town setting where my family has lived for generations. At the time I was growing up it was a real nuisance. There was always someone to see you where you weren't supposed to be. And they weren't afraid to call your Mama and tell on you. But, looking back, I'm pretty nostalgic about it. It really gives a person a sense of roots to grow up that way. I wanted to portray that in this series.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
SB: All the way back to junior high school I wanted to be a published author. I have two friends who formed a group with me back then and we wrote short stories that we only showed to each other.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
SB: Greg Iles - I love his lyrical southern writing.
Stephen King - Quirky mind
Jane Austen - I read her books over and over
Agatha Christie - I read her books over and over
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
SB: Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller. It's a great series about Bell Elkins who returned home to a small mountain town in West Virginia and became a prosecutor.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
SB: I am all things crafty and DIY. I love fixing up my home but am on a somewhat limited budget. So I have done some tile work inside and am landscaping the backyard myself. I enjoy knitting and crocheting during the winter months but don't seem to want to work with yarn during the summer. I recently bought a Zoom Loom. It reminds me of those pot holder weaving frames I had as a child. I plan to Zoom Loom a bunch of squares and make some throws for my den this fall and winter.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
SB: In the freezer, I am never without Haagen-Dazs chocolate and almond ice cream bars. In the pantry, Velveeta mac and cheese, red potatoes (I love homemade mashed potatoes and gravy), and Wolf brand chili with beans. LOL. Kind of a weird mix now that I'm looking at the list!
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
SB: I have books two and three broadly outlined in the Lily Gayle series and I have the broad strokes of the first book of another series with a character names Stella Mae Starlight.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
SB: My day job is tracking regulatory changes in the investment industry. That's a very left-brain activity. With no room for creativity. Being an author opens the door to creativity as wide as I can swing it. I'm free to make up anything that I choose and run as far as my ideas will take me and my characters.
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