Tierney James, Author

Lipstick & Danger

The Most Mysterious Susan Finlay

Posted on Nov 9, 2014 by   No Comments Yet | Posted in Uncategorized
Image of Susan FinlayMy guest today is mystery writer Susan Finlay who loves photography and traveling. A surprising fact is that she was born in Germany, but
grew up in the U.S. A mother of two grown children, she lives in Missouri with
her husband and their cats. Before becoming an author, Susan earned an
Associates Degree in business and worked as a bank auditor. She’s published four novels. The first two in her Outsiders series—In the Shadows and Where Secrets Reside; the first in her Project Chameleon series—Liars’ Games; and the first in her
Bavarian Woods series, Inherit the Past.

about your books screams intrigue and adventure, especially your terrific book
covers. You have gypsies, detectives, a French village and hiding with lies.
Does writing these kinds of mysteries keep you awake at night
No. Well, not exactly. I often stay awake thinking
about new book plots and characters. It’s sometimes difficult to shut off my

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

Book four was released Saturday. Tell us a
about Inherit
the Past.

I think it’s my favorite book so far. That’s because
it’s set in Bavaria in and around a fictitious town with a medieval wall and
sentry walk. I was born in Germany and I’ve actually been to that area (though it was many years ago). My son lives in Bavaria now, and he and his German
girlfriend helped with a little of the research, especially the historical part
because the characters travel back to the late eighteenth century.
I wrote a very different version of the book years
ago. At that time, it was more of a time travel romance. Since then, I’ve added
three characters and completely rewrote it. It still has a romance, but that’s
now more of a subplot. The main plot revolves around the protagonist Max, his
relationships with his son, mother, and grandfather, and a murder mystery.
Here’s a little taste of the book.

When laid-off California architect, Max
Hollander, inherits his grandparents’ house in Bavaria, it seems like the
perfect opportunity to start over. If all goes well, he’ll sell it and make
enough money to tide him over.
More importantly, he hopes taking his antagonistic son Ryan on the trip will
help rebuild their trust in each other and maybe even give them a chance to
investigate a longstanding mystery that has haunted their family.
Twenty years ago while Max’s mother was
staying at her parents’ house in Riesen, Germany, she and her father
disappeared, never to be heard from again. Now, as they search unsuccessfully
for that same house, Max and Ryan become lost until they serendipitous meet
three Germans who help them find it. But their luck is short-lived: before
day’s end they will get swept back in time . . . with no way to return to the
the same thing may have happened to his missing relatives, Max and companions
set out to find them. Their quest soon embroils the hapless group in a murder
investigation that widens the rift between father and son and places both lives
in danger. Inherit the Past is a story of family, love/relationships,
guilt, and redemption.
are a full time author now it seems. What does your work day look like?

It varies. I rarely write on the weekend anymore. I
guess I need to take a break and rejuvenate on weekends. During the week, I
write as often as I can. Sometimes I take my laptop to coffee shops and work
there, but most of the time I work at home in my little office.
books have a very wonderful flavor. How much research goes on before you put
pen to paper?

I do quite a bit of research for every book. I’ll
start out researching online and reading books about whatever subject I need. I
have a bookcase full of research books. One shelf has books on child prodigies,
school administration, school safety, body language, morality of truth vs.
lies, etc. for my novel, Liars’ Games.
I have another shelf of books about France and England for my Outsiders series,
and a shelf about Germany and about time travel for Inherit the Past. I already have a shelf about gold mining and the
gold rush for a book that I am planning.
I also have many books on writing, grammar/punctuation,
and on forensics (since I usually have a murder investigation in my books).
After I start writing—and even while I’m editing—I
do research. At times something will come up in the story that requires more
details and then I’ll dig into one of my research books or head to the library
or book store or internet.
know that you are involved in a very special community project to get authors
to come to your town. Can you tell us about that?

I began blogging in October 2013 and write an interview series called,
“Meet the Author”.  In August
2014 I began co-producing a ‘Meet the Author’ Book Talk series at the Boone
County Historical Society in Columbia, Missouri. For the series, we are
bringing in authors from all over Missouri, as well as from other states,
including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas, to speak to book lovers
in and around Columbia.

This book talk series is the second series to be held in the historical
society. A few years ago, Kit and Cathy Salter started a ‘Saturday Morning Book
Talk’ series there and it has become very popular. They moved the book talks to
a new location in January 2014.
With a major university and several colleges in town, Columbia’s population
is highly educated and literary-minded. We figured there was room for more book
talk venues here. We’re slowly developing a following for the new book talk
series. The hardest part is getting the word out to the residents. Each book
talk is different, but one thing they have in common is that they are enjoyable
and inspiring.

Be sure to contact Susan if you’d like to be a speaker for the book talk series. Contact information is below. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of one of her books for yourself or Christmas gift.  I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to inform readers about your work. 
Contact Susan!





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  1. Comment by janerisdon
    November 11, 2014 4:27 pm

    Always a thrill to read what you are doing Susan and how you go about it. I love the cover of your latest book. I voted for the clock and the rails. I have an ever growing TBR pile and this is about to join Where Secrets Reside. Oh for more hours in a day…but I shall get there soon. Wishing you much success Susan. You deserve it. 🙂

  2. Comment by Chuck Robertson
    November 13, 2014 8:15 am

    That's interesting that you write during the week and generally take weekends off. Those of us who are further behind the curve can write only on weekends because we have our day jobs during the week. You answered my question as to whether or not writers take days off from writing.

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