Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Kathryn Bechen is Kathie Hood! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address. (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com)

This week Sue Duffy is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her book, The Sound of Red Returning, leave a comment on this post!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

* I married my college sweetheart 41 years ago. We have three grown children and six grands. I recently resigned from my magazine-editor position to write novels full-time.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

* After devouring everything by such suspense authors as John le Carre, Tom Clancy, Frederick Forsyth, Ken Follett, and Robert Ludlum, I knew that if I ever wrote fiction, it would have to follow that path.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author? 

* Editing my high school yearbook lit the flame for me, and I never stopped writing. With a journalism degree from the University of Florida, I wrote for ad agencies in Atlanta, Miami, and Columbia for twelve years. I moved into straight journalism as a magazine writer and, later, editor. Twelve years ago, I was ready to shed that skin and try a new one: fiction. My first novel was published in 2001. I think I’m finally home.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

* Though I’d been published for many years before turning to novels, the thrill of holding and sniffing my first book was incomparable.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

* I try to walk a few miles before I start writing each morning. That pumps oxygenated plot-thoughts to the brain. Then I pray for God to go with me back into the story, to help me see and hear my characters, to help me bust open the plot so I can see everything it’s made of, and, most importantly, to remind me why I write. Six hours later, I’m done for the day, like a runner hitting the wall.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

* First, God’s leading. Second, my agent, Les Stobbe. He opened doors I couldn’t and presented my work to the right people.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be? (Explain your answer)

* Another writer friend of mine admits that her labor of love has become pure labor. There’s no doubt that’s true for most “serious” writers. It has to be. Though you want it with all your might, it requires all your might to produce─alone, isolated, and sometimes at great sacrifice. But worth every bit of it.

What are your biggest distractions?

* My grands asking if Nana can come out and play. A beautiful day on the lake behind our house and a waiting boat. Weeds in the flower beds.

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

* Best: holding my first published book in my hands.
Worst: every single rejection that came along.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

* Least: Being alone when I don’t want to be
Most: Being alone so I can return to the world inside my head

What is the role and importance of an agent?

* Encouragement, guidance, access to editors, negotiations liaison, invaluable friend

What advice would you give to new writers?

* Figure out why you want to write. Write without stopping. Join a writer’s critique group.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

* If you want to read because you can’t possibly put the book down, choose The Sound of Red Returning.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

* I’m finishing book two of the Red Returning trilogy and hallucinating about book three.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

* Any book store either carries the books (Mortal Wounds, Fatal Loyalty, and The Sound of Red Returning) or can order them. Of course, there’s always the e-book market. I welcome your visits with me at www.sueduffybooks.com or my Facebook page: Sue Duffy Suspense. I loved talking to everyone! Thanks for the opportunity.

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

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