I am thrilled to spotlight author Susan Coryell and her three novels.
How’s the luck of the Irish treating you? Have you found any lucky pennies on the road lately? Four-leaf clovers? Luck is something we writers hope for in every phase of our projects: Lucky to get a good agent, lucky to grab the attention of an editor, lucky to be offered a publication contract. Well, my writing journey is a bumpy one, to say the least. Let me begin by saying I generally do not consider myself to be a lucky person. I do not win sweepstakes, I do not win drawings and once, at a fashion show, I was the only person at my table of 10 who did not win a door prize. Let’s just say, I am never surprised when this happens.
I wrote my first novel, Eaglebait, about school bullies when I was teaching 7th and 8th graders. No research needed; my classroom, the school corridors and cafeteria were my lab. For once, I felt lucky when Harcourt offered a contract for a hardback version of Eaglebait. At the time Harcourt was a huge publishing company—later bought out by Houghton Mifflin. My luck ran out when my editor left immediately after editing my book, leaving no one to champion Eaglebait. Though I’d been told by the publisher that it would take two years to get through the library review system, Harcourt pulled my novel after 14 months. Sigh. I’d even managed to acquire two big awards—one national and one international in the short time it was in print, but they were done with me.
Then life intervened. A full-time working mother with three children and a husband who owned his own small business—I felt good if I had time to wash out my pantyhose, let alone write another book. So, even though I had a lot more in my writing mind, I simply had no time to create another novel.
Blessed retirement popped me right into free-lance writing in my new lake community. I loved writing for everything from my church to the local arts council. I wrote for the Chamber of Commerce, a political group and the charity home tour. I wrote for magazines and newspapers. Not much money involved, but I’d never been in the “business” for profit anyway. I was feeling very lucky!
But I finally found my muse when I looked around my beautiful Southern Virginia lake home and realized I was in an ideal setting for cozy mystery/Southern Gothic novels. Pastoral scenes and quirky small-town characters abound here, and, let’s face it, the South is ripe for drama, what with all that Civil War angst and unwillingness to accept change of any sort. A Red, Red Rose features Ashby Overton, a 20-year-old who travels from New Jersey to her ancestral estate, Overhome, where she finds mystery, history, romance and a ghost as she digs for her family roots at the historic Moore Mountain Lake horse farm. Offered a contract by L&L Dreamspell, a small indie press in Texas, I was in Seventh Heaven. But old bad luck struck again. Due to the death of one of the publishing team, Dreamspell folded, leaving 250 authors scrambling for new publishers.
Now I am counting myself one lucky author to be published by The Wild Rose Press. They are wonderful to work with—from the publisher to the editor—my experience has been a dream come true. Beneath the Stones, sequel to A Red, Red Rose released April 1st of this year. Guess what I am working on now? The third Overhome novel, of course. Wish me luck!
Ashby Overton has everything to look forward to, including a promising writing career and her wedding at summer’s end. But, Overhome, her beloved historic family estate in Southern Virginia, is in financial peril and it is up to Ashby to find a solution.
Interfering with Ashby’s plans is a dark paranormal force that thwarts her every effort to save Overhome. Supernatural attacks emanate from an old stone cottage on the property rumored to be a slave overseer’s abode, prior to the Civil War. As the violence escalates, Ashby begins to fear for her life. Who is this angry spirit and why is his fury focused on Ashby?
Mystery, suspense and romance flourish against a backdrop of Civil War turmoil and ancestral strife–where immortality infiltrates the ancient air breathed by all who inhabit Overhome Estate.
I’d like to add my author’s note for Beneath the Stones: The Civil War letters included in Beneath the Stones are based on actual letters written from battle fronts by family ancestors, Joseph Franklin Stover and John William Stover. After my mother-in-law’s death, the family found a nondescript box in her file cabinet. Inside we were amazed to find fifteen letters hand-written in beautiful, flowing script. Since this occurred as I was in the midst of writing Beneath the Stones, I immediately seized on the idea of using excerpts from the letters in the novel. Though, for practical reasons, I omitted many details, overall the letters reveal a haunting picture of life for the Confederate soldier. A final note: The flute mentioned in one of the letters is very likely the same flute on display at the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox, Virginia.
I have long been interested in Southern concerns about culture and society, as hard-felt, long-held feelings battle with modern ideas. The ghosts slipped in, to my surprise while writing cozy mystery/Southern Gothic A Red, Red Rose and its sequel Beneath the Stones.
My first published work was the award-winning young adult novel, Eaglebait. I live at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
When not writing, I enjoy boating, kayaking, golf and yoga. My husband and I love to travel, especially when any of our seven grandchildren are involved.
Where to find Susan…
Susan I don’t think luck has as much to do with it as persisting with the dreams and hard work. Congratulations most people would have given up. Good luck with your journey and writing career. So nice to read how you arrived at this point.
I appreciate your insight! Hard work is the only way we land in the lucky zone, eh? Thanks!
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for highlighting Susan’s stories and books. I love stories with old houses, history and a touch of paranormal. Looking forward to reading Susan’s.
Your comment is a real high–my books contain all the things you love! Thanks for making my day.
So glad you didn’t give up. Ghost stories are too hard to find these days, but they’re my favorite. Wishing you tons of luck!
I’m delighted you favor ghost stories. They are really FUN to write–the imagination is unlimited when it comes to anything out-of-this-world! Thanks for commenting.
So glad you found another great publisher for your novels! To some extent, we make our own luck . Word of mouth spreads about quality writing like yours.
Again, Jacquie, I appreciate your taking time to read and comment on my blogs. I am honored!
I loved listening to the story of your publication! I’ve had some of the same experiences with a publisher folding and an editor leaving. I sympathize! I’m glad things turned out in the end. Best wishes in all your future writing endeavors!
So grateful for your views, M.J. I guess all of us writers experience ups and downs. Thanks for joining us here.
A great big thank you to Joanne for featuring me on her blog today. It’s an awesome blog, for sure! Nice to “meet” those who have joined and commented. I appreciate every one of you.
Susan, I was honored to feature your inspiring journey. Joanne 🙂
I enjoyed learning more about you, Susan. You may not be lucky, but you’re a survivor. I think that’s better to depend on than luck any day. You go, girl!
Thanks, Marissa! Surviving in today’s tough publishing market is key, eh? I appreciate your comments.
Ah…yes, you have been lucky, and TWRP was lucky (meaning ‘me’) that you found a home with us. Love your writing and you’re awesome to work with. Best wishes!
Oh, my, Alicia. I’m blushing with your sweet praise. LOVE you!
Your cup is obviously running over, Susan, and I’m so happy for you. You’re a fine and highly creative writer. And your new publisher sounds perfect for your work.
Thanks, Nancy! I appreciate your support as a colleague author I happen to admire very much.
Luck has many faces, doesn’t it? it doesn’t always mean winning a door prize, etc., but life is a bit of luck or all of us. My best to you!
I appreciate your comments, Betty. Being in the right place at the right time, no matter how random, is an awesome and amazing part of life.
I enjoyed your blog but interpreted your story in a different way. Your life is really the tale of being in the right place at the right time and becoming a Rose with TWRP! We are all the luckier for your “none luck.”
OOPS! That should be non-luck. Not yet awake…
Thanks, Ashantay–I guess the glass is either half full or half empty! Now my cup runneth over! Thanks for commenting.
you could write a novel about writing novels. enjoyed blog and blurb. better luck now that you’re with TWRP.
Larry, That’s for sure! I LOVE my publisher, editor, cover artist–you name it. Thanks for joining us.
What an inspiring account. Thank you and the very best of continued ‘luck.’
I appreciate your kind comment, Madeline. Here’s to luck for all of us writers!
Reblogged this on NEVA BROWN & BOOKS.
Thanks, Neva! Blogging rocks!