Please welcome Susie Black, whose cozy mystery, Death by Sample Size, was recently published by The Wild Rose Press. It has garnered some great reviews, so let’s learn all about it!
Thanks so much for joining us, Susie. What inspired you to write this book?
I keep a daily journal and memorialize my impressions of the myriad of interesting, quirky characters I’ve encountered throughout my career as a ladies’ swimwear sales and merchandising executive. I’ve met so many worthy candidates, I decided to write my fictionalized take on them. I jumped at the opportunity to write about the apparel industry from a woman’s point of view.
Have you encountered any of the characters in a dream?
Oh yeah. Several who wanted to kill me for what I did to them in the story.
Oh my! Sounds like a nightmare…or several! On a happier note…if you could give your protagonist, Holly Schlivnik, a word of advice, what would it be?
Always trust your gut and never stop believing in yourself.
Wonderful advice! In general, which do you enjoy writing more: description or dialogue?
As a sales exec, I earn my keep as a professional talker, so no question about it; I enjoy writing dialogue.
So do I. It really flows. What do you love most about being an author?
As a humorous cozy mystery author, I get to knock off characters who in real life I would have loved to eliminate! I found this so cathartic, I recommended it as a therapy method to my psychologist son.
Yes, that could be very therapeutic! What did you think when you first saw the cover of your book?
Truthfully? I cried.
Aww…I understand. 🙂 Since you’re an apparel sales exec, have you thought of any cool marketing ideas or tie-ins to the swimwear industry?
Absolutely yes. It’s funny how often one thing leads to another. When I first got into the swim biz, my smart aleck Nana bought me a coffee mug that said: “Things could be worse. We could be trying on Swimsuits.” Gee, thanks Nana. Nice, huh? Actually, it turned out to be immensely helpful. It shined a light on one of the biggest issues for consumers; the angst many have at the thought of buying a swimsuit and I wrote a fit guidebook that helps consumers find the right swimsuit based on their body type. A critical component of my social media marketing plan is to offer the Holly Swimsuit fit tip of the day with tips from the fit guide. Here is an example of one:
NEED A SWIMSUIT? DON’T PANIC. Holly Swimsuit Daily Fit Tip: A one-piece suit will hide a thick waist. Pick the right suit and pick up Death by Sample Size by fashionista and cozy mystery author Susie Black #cozymysteryauthor#swimsuit#wrpbks
Great idea! Now, tell us a little more about the story:
The last thing swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected was to discover ruthless buying office big wig Bunny Frank’s corpse trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey with a bikini stuffed down her throat. When Holly’s colleague is arrested for Bunny’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth jumps into action to find the real killer. Nothing turns out the way Holly thinks it will as she matches wits with a wily killer hellbent for revenge. Get ready to laugh out loud as Susie Black’s Death by Sample Size takes you on a rollicking adventure ride through the Los Angeles apparel industry.
A peek between the pages:
When the elevator doors opened, I had to stop myself short not to step on her. There was Bunny Frank-the buying office big shot-lying diagonally across the car. Her legs were splayed out and her back was propped against the corner. Her sightless eyes were wide open and her arms reached out in a come to me baby pose. She was trussed up with shipping tape like a dressed Thanksgiving turkey ready for the oven with a bikini stuffed in her mouth. A Gotham Swimwear hangtag drooped off her lower lip like a toe tag gone lost. Naturally, I burst out laughing.
Before you label me incredibly weird or stone-cold, let me say genetics aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. If you’re lucky you inherit your Aunt Bertha’s sexy long legs or your father’s ability to add a bazillion dollar order in his head and get the total correct to the last penny. Without even breaking into a sweat, it’s easy to spout at least a million fabulous traits inheritable by the luck of the draw. Did I get those sexy long legs or the ability to add more than two plus two without a calculator? Noooooooooo. Lucky me. I inherited my Nana’s fear of death we overcompensated for with the nervous habit of laughing. A hysterical reaction? Think Bozo the clown eulogizing your favorite aunt.
I craned my neck like a tortoise and checked around. Then I clamped a fist over my mouth. Cripes, how could I possibly explain my guffaws with Bunny lying there? Disappointment was simultaneously mixed with relief when there was no one else in the parking lot. Where was security when you needed them?
I toed the elevator door open and bent over Bunny. I’d seen enough CSI episodes to know not to touch her. She was stiff as a board and I attributed the bluish tinge of her skin to the bikini crammed down her throat. I was no doctor, but I didn’t need an MD after my name to make this diagnosis. Bunny Frank was dead as the proverbial doorknob.
It was no surprise Bunny Frank had finally pushed someone beyond their limits. The only surprise was it had taken so long. The question wasn’t who wanted Bunny Frank dead. The question was who didn’t?
Buy the book:
A bit more about Susie:
Born in the Big Apple, Susie Black calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries.
She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect.
Looking for more? Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find her:
Thanks again, Susie. Wishing you continued success with the book!