Susan Furlong interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Jan 31, 2017 12:56:42 AM

Susan Furlong interview with David Alan Binder

Bio / Background from her website: During her writing career, Susan has worked as a freelance writer, academic writer, and novelist. Her short work has appeared in several national publications including Woman’s World magazine. Currently she's busy working on The Georgia Peach Mysteries, soon to be released from Berkley Prime Crime. She has also continued the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries, starting with the fourth book in the series, under the pen name Lucy Arlington.


Twitter: @Furlong_Sue


Instagram: @susanfurlong


1. How do you pronounce your name (only answer if appropriate)?

My last name is pronounced just as it sounds. Furlong - like an eighth of a mile in a horse race. My ancestors were either equestrians or gamblers. Probably the latter.

2. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?

I live in Illinois. Downstate, not Chicago. But I feel fortunate to be just a couple hours from Chicago, Indy, or St. Louis.

3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

It’s all about the readers. I strive to create characters readers will love and plots that will keep them turning pages because if my readers aren’t totally taken in by my story, then they won’t buy another book.

4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I have a strange writing quirk: I sometimes mutter when I type, especially if I’m engrossed in a scene. Not really a big deal when I’m writing at home, but not so good when I’m working at the bookstore café.


a. Tell us your insights on self-publishing.

Many of my favorite reads this past year were self-published books. I think it would take a lot of know-how and a ton of energy to design, edit and produce a book on your own.

b. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

My books are published by Penguin Random House and Kensington Publishing. They’re both in New York City.

6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

Any format that puts books into readers’ hands is a good thing.

7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published? Landing a traditional publishing contract is about persistence, hard work, a little luck and a darn good agent.

8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?

Any tips for new writers on getting one? Know which agents are selling in your genre to your target publishers. Publishers Marketplace’s agent database and AgentQuery are good resources. Or scan the front of recently published books to see which agents, authors have thanked in their acknowledgments.

9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Read in your genre. Then write the best story possible, submit it, and move on to your next story. Read, write, submit and repeat.

10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

After becoming published, I was surprised to find how difficult it is to balance my time between writing and promotion.

11. How many books have you written?

I’ve written a dozen or more books, with six published. My seventh will be published this February—WAR AND PEACH, Berkley Prime Crime. My eighth, SPLINTERED SILENCE, a suspense novel, is set to release in 2018 with Kensington. This book is a departure from my normal cozy mysteries and I’m excited about the challenges of writing something different.

12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

I always write the first draft as quickly as possible, without regard to style or grammar, just to get the base story written. Then I go back and rewrite until I’m happy with the results. I’d also recommend using a critique group or a freelance editor for a second read and a fresh perspective.

13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Most of my plot twists come from character development. If I’ve written a strong enough character, I can usually see how their reactions may lead the plot in a different, unexpected manner.

14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

I like to think it’s character development. I enjoy exploring the emotions of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Social media, newsletters, conferences and events. I love any opportunity to meet readers face to face.

16. What is the one thing you would do differently now and why?

I wish I had a MFA or some formal education in writing.

17. What saying or mantra do you live by?

That’s a tough question! It seems my mantra changes daily depending on what’s happening at the moment. I guess I’ve learned to take things as they come.

Anything else you would like to say?

Yes. Thank you for taking time to interview me. Your questions were great and appreciate the opportunity to be included in your blog.