Sherri: Welcome to Creekside Café, Suki McMinn. Let me introduce you to my friends and readers.
Suki: Thank you so much for inviting me to your cafe. I really enjoyed your chat with Thyra Dane. You know, she and I go way back. When I was a brand-new writer, we wrote fanfiction in the same fandom and became great friends online before she came to see me in person. We even hosted a fanfiction contest together. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at her short story in the anthology, and it’s a real treat. Her style is so fresh and funny and sexy, all at the same time.
Sherri: I’m looking forward to reading all of the stories. I have to say, I’m excited about the project. For those of you who haven’t heard Suki, Thyra, along with several other international writers will have stories featured in an upcoming anthology.
Suki: This is the first time I’ve contributed to an anthology, and it feels great to be on a team of authors. I was impressed with the New Romance Cafe group and loved that we wanted to donate the book’s proceeds to Pink Ribbon International. I’m a breast cancer survivor, so it’s a cause near and dear to my heart (quite literally!). A routine 3D mammogram saved my life in 2017.
Sherri: While I haven’t experienced cancer first-hand, I have friends and loved ones who have. It feels good to be able to do something good with our talents.
Suki: I can’t wait to read the stories in our anthology, “Love in Bloom,” as well as the summer book, “Hot Summer Nights.” We have such a diverse group of authors from all over the world writing in different sub-genres. It’s going to make an interesting collection. I set my paranormal romance in the fictional town of Hogback where my cozy mystery series takes place, but I steamed it up quite a bit since it’s a romance. All the stories in our book have the theme “spring” in common, and mine is called “The Iris.”
Sherri: It was so cool to learn you are not only familiar with eastern North Carolina but a Carolina girl as well.
Suki: I am! It’s my favorite place in the world. And did you know North Carolina is known as “the writingest state?”
My newest book, “The Vampire of Waller County?” is set in North Carolina. It’s actually the first book in my new series of novelettes (the Hogback Series). Book 2, ”Christmas in Waller County,” is out now as well.
Sherri: They sound like a lot of fun. Tell us a little about your series.
Suki: I call it a cozy vampire mystery series with sweet romance and humor. (I might have made that genre up. Ha!) My main character is 18, so it could also be considered New Adult. My artist brother, Corey McNabb, painted the artwork and designed the covers, which I love. I set the series in Hogback, a tiny fictional North Carolina town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s just like Tryon but with more biting.
Sherri: Tyron is your home, now?
Suki: I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, but spent 27 years living in Los Angeles. I returned to North Carolina—to the tiny town of Tryon, where I lived for four years before my husband’s job took us to Phoenix, Arizona. Now I spend my summers in Tryon and the rest of my time in Phoenix.
Sherri: You were a model and actress in LA? Seeing your picture, I can see why you, you are lovely. You have a great smile.
Suki: Thank you! It was an interesting profession, and now I write about it. My first novel, “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” is a paranormal romance set in L.A.’s modeling world.
Sherri: Have you ever been to eastern North Carolina?
Suki: Yes! Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, we spent many of our summer vacations at the beaches of North and South Carolina. My grandparents bought a little house in Bolivia, North Carolina, right on the intercoastal waterway. We called it the “Little Sandy Beach House” because there was a tiny patch of sand at the end of the street where the water met the land and made a perfect private beach. On Saturday nights, we played bingo in the community building, and that was about as wild as it got around there. I sure do miss it. If I had my druthers, I’d have a little house in the mountains and a little house on the coast.
Sherri: My home is north of that area, along the Pamlico Sound, though my oldest son and his family live near Bolivia.
Do you write full-time or do you hold down another job as well as write?
Suki: I write full time. I retired from my on-camera career when I left Los Angeles.
Sherri: How long have you been writing?
Suki: I started writing ten years ago at the age of 49 and fell in love with it. I lived in Los Angeles at the time and wondered what was next for me after working for nearly three decades as a model and commercial actor. My husband and I left L.A. two years later and moved to Tryon. When new friends asked what I did, I said, “I’m a writer,” because that’s what I wanted to be. Then I made it so.
Sherri: I admire your confidence, it took me years to be able to call myself a writer.
Are your books Indie published or traditional or hybrid?
Suki: Hybrid. My first book, “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” had a publisher, but it went out of business a week after my book came out. I’d just ordered the cake for my launch party and invited the whole town of Tryon in a press release, so I gave myself a quick and dirty education in self-publishing and got the book back out in its second edition just in time to pop the champagne. Then I self-published more books, but I continue to look for publishers for some of my books. I write both fiction and nonfiction. I write nonfiction as Susan McNabb.
Sherri: Some days I love being a writer and other days I want to bang my head against the wall. What do you enjoy about writing?
Suki: I love “losing time” as I get immersed in telling a story. There’s really nothing better except maybe strutting down a runway, but I don’t do that anymore.
Sherri: Is there anything you despise about writing?
Suki: The technical stuff. I can spend hours trying to figure out how to place page numbers correctly on a draft. I once deleted the table of contents from a book because one chapter heading was indented more than the others, and I didn’t know why. Those things aren’t in my natural skill set, and they drive me crazy
Sherri: I’m right there with you one that one. I ask my sons or grandsons to help me on the computer and they go bip, bip, bip, okay, it’s done. I’m like, hey wait a minute, you hit what button to get you where?
Sherri: What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?
Suki: I’m not sure if it’s a strength or weakness, but like many writers, I’m often plagued with self-doubt. My path to being a published author is littered with corpses of finished and unfinished books. They might be brilliant or horrible, but I can’t tell which.
Sherri: Yes, those brilliant ideas that fizzled out somewhere in the middle of the story. But the fact that you went on to write three books says it all. I believe we as authors have to find our voice. Sometimes we have to experiment and see what doesn’t work in order to discover what does.
What type of books do you read? Who are your favorite authors?
Suki My favorite author is Jane Austen. I have an English Literature degree so have enjoyed a fair number of the classics, but I also appreciate many other kinds of writing. I read fiction and nonfiction and only wish there were more hours in the day to read. I love book clubs because they introduce me to authors and genres I might have missed.
Sherri: As we mentioned earlier, Suki and I met in the Facebook group, The New Romance Café.
Suki: And are now bound by an anthology of romantic short stories called “Love in Bloom.” I noticed we had friends in common among our North Carolina authors. It’s a small world.
Sherri: It is interesting that two of us in “Love in Bloom” are from North Carolina when there are authors from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Norway, and several states in the US.
Before we go, give us a little insight into you as a person and as a writer.
Suki: I had no idea writing could be so rewarding or I would have started much sooner. Now, I make it a point to encourage new writers. It can be a hobby or a profession, and you can start at any point in your life. I also advise new writers to join writers’ groups. Writing is such a solitary activity, and sharing experiences with other writers is crucial. I’ve learned so much from other writers in the ten years I’ve been writing, and there is still so much to learn. When I moved to North Carolina, I joined the North Carolina Writers’ Network. When I got to Phoenix, I joined the Desert Rose, a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America. If you can’t find a group you like, start one like we did with Tryon Writers. Reach out and make new friends in the writing world. You won’t regret it.
Sherri: I agree, I love my writers’ groups. I believe it is important to have a supportive local group like the Pamlico Writers’ Group and the Heart of Carolina. But having the resources of a national and international group like the Romance Writers of America has allowed me to take online classes and participate in contests, workshops and other events I would not have known about otherwise.
Part of the reason I started this blog was to connect with people who share my passion for books and writing.
I hope you have enjoyed my chat with author Suki McMinn. For more information on Suki, check out her website www.sukimcminn.com. If you are interested in her non-fiction work, you can find her as Susan McNabb, at (www.susanmcnabb.com).
Here is the list of Suki’s fiction books:
Christmas in Waller County https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KX5FCB4