Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Susan Coryell--A Red, Red Rose

Please welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Susan Coryell.

Thanks to Nikki for inviting me to be a guest on your wonderful blogspot. 

It's great to have you here, Susan. Take it away!

Somewhere out there, I’m pretty sure, is a ghost in search of an author. See, I have never actually experienced the spirit world, though Lord knows I’ve tried. When my realtor husband listed a supposedly-haunted historic estate for sale, he said he was planning to sell the ghost and throw in the estate for free, though neither he nor I ever saw, heard, tasted, smelled or felt the spirit’s presence.

Still, the haunted estate inspired my latest book, A Red, Red Rose, a cozy mystery/Southern Gothic , published by The Wild Rose Press, 2013.  Twenty-year-old Ashby Overton travels to Moore Mountain Lake in Southwestern Virginia (based on Smith Mountain Lake, where I now live) to be an au pair to her 7-year old cousin, Jeff. Ashby has an ulterior motive: revealing family secrets and searching out her roots at the historic family estate, Overhome. Her first night in her room in the oldest wing of the house, Ashby is “greeted” by what turns out to be Rosabelle, an ancient family ghost. Ashby’s search for answers elicits more than she ever dreamed and she finds that some secrets, no matter how deeply-held, are meant to be revealed. She also finds a confidant in Luke, the stable boy. My novel involves mystery, history, romance and a ghost. I’m proud to report that A Red, Red Rose was nominated for a literary award by the Library of Virginia.

I would definitely choose Rosabelle, the spirit, as a favorite character because she was so much fun to create! Never having experienced a ghost, I relied on trusted friends who have successfully delved into the spirit world. With some advice from them, and a lot of imagination, I created Rosabelle. Amazingly, my dear spirit turned out to fit the exact definition of a family ghost, according to a certified paranormal expert who reviewed A Red, Red Rose after publication. Wow! That was a pleasant surprise; I thought I had mostly made up everything about my ancestral spirit.

To answer some of Nikki’s questions:
What authors do you return to and where do you find new authors?
For personal reading, I return again and again to an old favorite mystery author, Daphne du Maurier, author of Rebecca and Jamaica Inn, among others. I also enjoy reading new books written by my writing colleagues at L&L Dreamspell and The Wild Rose Press, as well as works authored by Lake Writers, my critique group, which I could not live without when it comes to revising and editing.

What do you like best/least about writing?
One great thing about writing is I can work wherever and whenever I find inspiration—love my laptop! I even take it to the dock in nice weather, and it always goes on trips with me. I find writing isolating when I am composing, and noise and interruptions make me cranky. The unexpected bonus I’ve discovered with my writing is meeting other writers—in person and online—through blogs and websites, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter. Technology affords writers infinite ways to bond. Another definite plus is the opportunity to speak about my books and writing.  I lead workshops, hold signings, prepare panel discussions and do other presentations, from Virginia to Hawaii. A personal favorite was my participation in the Virginia Paraquest last spring. Among the witches, psychics, ghost busters and hypnotists, I mingled, somewhat out of my comfort zone, holding a fake long-stemmed red rose, and talking about writing paranormal fiction. I am delighted that they’ve invited me to return again to this year’s Paraquest. 

What else are you working on?
I’m excited about my next book—just sent the manuscript to my editor. Entitled Beneath the Stones, the novel picks up where A Red, Red Rose left off. Five years later Ashby is planning her wedding to Luke, her love interest in the first book. But, there’s a big problem: Overhome is in financial distress and it’s up to Ashby to save the estate from bankruptcy. While most of the original characters appear, a host of new ones become involved as a Civil War ghost tries to disrupt Ashby’s plans. I’m hoping The Wild Rose Press will pick up Beneath the Stones. Many of my lovely readers have clamored for a sequel. Of course, I am still waiting to meet my first ghost in person.

Talk about the first story you wrote:
My first attempt at novel-writing elicited a somewhat Disneyesque young adult mystery called Doubleheader. I never seriously tried to publish it—but I did prove to myself that I could carry out a long work with a beginning, middle and end. Loosely based on my twin brothers when they were teens, the novel involves a pitcher-catcher twin duo who telepathize their signals to one another. My “success” led me to write another YA novel, Eaglebait, about school bullies from the victim’s perspective. Eaglebait won two major awards: The NY Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age” and the International Reading Association’s “Young Adult Choice.” I’m currently revising and updating the novel to include cyber-bullying and planning to publish it through Amazon within the next few months.

What are your favorite non-writing activities?
When I’m not writing, I enjoy all that my beautiful lake home offers—kayaking, cruising, swimming and just dock-sitting-sunset-watching leisure. I also play at golf and stay fit with yoga and walking. My husband and I love to travel, especially when our grandchildren are involved.

Advice for Newbies:
Just keep reading and writing. Writers have to write—curse or blessing? I know not which.

It's been a delight having you here, Susan. Best of luck with your fascinating book!

Thanks, Nikki. It’s been fun blogging and I’d love to respond to any comments. Ghost-busters, welcome!
Susan Coryell

Contact Susan at:

Buy links:
To purchase A Red, Red Rose, use the links below.

The Wild Rose Press:  http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=1146


  1. A Red Red Rose sounds like a novel I would enjoy. I like a touch of the spirit world that adds to a mystery. Great interview. dkchristi@yahoo.com author of Ghost Orchid

    1. Thanks, DK. We mystery writers need to support each other--and we DO! I appreciate your taking time to read and comment and good luck to you.

  2. Hi, Susan,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I love a good gothic myself. Du Maurier is a favorite of mine as well. Your novels sounds like a wonderful read. I do a lot of paranormal in my writing as well and enjoy novels that include it. Best of luck. Your new publisher has a fine reputation.

  3. Thanks, Jacqui: Paranormal is such fun to write, isn't it! I am enjoying my new publisher TWRP and love that my "old" Dreamspell friends stay in touch. Good luck in your writing.

  4. I'm Alisa (1/2 of the Clifford Rush partnership) and I finished A Red, Red Rose this past weekend. It's been a long time since I read a ghost story and I really enjoyed Susan's book. The story reminded me of a modern Victoria Holt novel and it kept me guessing until the last page.

    1. Thanks, Alisa:
      It's always great to hear from other writers! I am honored to be compared to Victoria Holt--one of my favorite mystery writers--and I love that you were kept guessing until the end of A Red, Red Rose. Isn't that what we writers love to hear? I look forward to our continued connection as writers.

  5. I'm really looking forward to Beneath the Stones, Susan--especially as I loved A Red, Red Rose. Let us all know when it comes out! And thanks, Nikki, for hosting the lovely interview.

    1. I'm looking forward to the sequel, too, Nancy. Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Great to hear from you, Nancy. I love your books, too! Keep your fingers crossed for Beneath the Stones and I will definitely let you know when it comes out. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. How nice to find out more about you, Susan, other than our short FB posts to one another. I agree with Rush11. I was only into the second chapter of A Red Red Rose, when I thought about the similarities with Victoria Holt. Well done. I look forward to the sequel.

  7. Thanks, Cindy. What fun our writer connection is. Keep us posted on your latest "Dying For..." and I love the Victoria Holt reference.

  8. I enjoyed this book very much. A nice ghost story with a touch of romance - what could be better? I read it all in one evening - this only happens on rare occasions. I couldn't put it down but I was sorry to finish it.
    Of course we invited you back to Paraquest - you are an excellent speaker! Perhaps at this years conference you might be inspired by the tragic "White Lady" of Avenel. Perhaps you will see her - many have!

    1. Thanks to Julie, my paranormal expert mentioned in the blog, for posting and offering me hope of attaining that 6th sense that has alluded me. There's always hope...