An Interview with Sue Owens Wright: Instructor & Author
Sylvia: Welcome Sue. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Sue: Hi Sylvia. I’m Sue Owens Wright, and I’ve taught college English and writing courses. I studied fiction writing at the Universities of Dublin and Galway in Ireland and University College London in England. I am the author of the Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series, which includes Howling Bloody Murder, Sirius About Murder, Embarking on Murder, and Braced for Murder, which was nominated this year for a Maxwell Award by the Dog Writers Association of America for the best writing on the subject of dogs. I’ve been nominated eleven times and have twice won the Maxwell.
In Braced for Murder, Beanie is headed for “calamity” one way or another when she volunteers to foster a homeless basset hound from a Tahoe animal shelter. Beanie and Cruiser are on the crime trail once again after a reviled shelter manager is discovered euthanize. Tahoe Animal Impoundment Liberation Society (TAILS) is a prime suspect in her murder, but there are plenty of other suspects among South Lake Tahoe’s irate dog lovers, including the grieving owner of Gilda, an ill-fated basset rumored to haunt the shelter. Meanwhile, adoptee Calamity is living up to her name, creating havoc at the MacBean house.
Sylvia: What inspired you to write your first book?
Sue: Since childhood I loved reading mysteries and books about dogs, so I think the desire was present early on to write a mystery of my own. I even wrote a chapter or two when I was eight, but I didn’t achieve my dream until many years later. As I was sitting on the deck of our family cabin at Lake Tahoe with my basset hounds looking out into the deep, dark forest, my imagination ran amok. From that my first mystery novel was inspired. In all the writing workshops and courses I took, they repeatedly said, “Write what you know.” I finally decided what they really meant was, Write what you love. All my life I have loved mysteries, Lake Tahoe, and dogs, so I combined those in my books.
Sylvia: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sue: Yes. Pets are not disposable, and every one of them deserves a forever home where it is loved and properly cared for.
Sylvia: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Sue: Cruiser’s credo for writers: Keep your nose to the ground, stay on track, and follow where the path leads. Take time to sniff the roses, and leave your mark along the way. Seriously, keep writing and be persistent. It’s what separates the published from the unpublished.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Sue: I’m so glad I live in the Internet age, because it has provided an inexpensive and valuable selling tool that helps me reach a worldwide audience instantly. Writing an award-winning monthly pet column also attracts a lot of interest in my books. Winning two Maxwell Awards from the Dog Writers Association of America sure hasn’t hurt publicity. I also donate a lot of my books to basset rescue groups, which reaches an appreciative audience. There are more basset lovers out there than you can sling drool at, and they enjoy reading my books. Having a good publicist helps, too.
What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened to you while promoting your work?
Sue: I was a guest at the Illinois Basset Waddle, a yearly fundraiser for Guardian Angel Basset Rescue, where I witnessed the spectacle of 1,000 basset hounds waddling through the small town of Dwight. I tried snapping photos of the parade, but the view was always the same, just a bunch of waddling basset assets. I later wrote about this unforgettable experience, which garnered me my first Maxwell Award. You can read the story on my website.
Sue: If you enjoy curling up with a captivating cozy mystery about Lake Tahoe and especially dogs, you’ll love reading all my books. In Braced for Murder, Cruiser and his crazy new canine sidekick, Calamity, will have you howling with laughter as they team up to help Beanie solve the crime. (A “brace” of basset hounds consists of two or more tracking in the field.) Calamity is a composite of my two worst rescued bassets, and she could make a dog whisperer scream, but she also has her good points besides the one on top of her head.
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Sue: In any Peet’s Coffee and Tea. I can focus there, and their classical background music relaxes and inspires me.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Sue: I’m working to complete the fifth book in the Beanie and Cruiser series.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD?
Sue: My power word is BELIEVE. In my life, I’ve discovered that when you believe in yourself and in your dreams, anything can and does happen.
Sylvia: Thank you, Sue. Please share your social media and book contact information.
Sue: Thank you as well Sylvia.