Why I stopped trumpeting and started killing people!
It began innocently enough. My mother wanted me to play an instrument. Her brother played trumpet and I began studying with him when I was eight. I took to trumpet right away. At fifteen I joined the musicians’ union and later studied with two Boston Symphony trumpeters. For more than three decades I played an eclectic mix of gigs in the Boston area ranging from solo trumpet recitals to symphonies and operas, even the Ringling Brothers Circus.
There were heart-stopping moments. Would the trapeze artist make that quadruple summersault or would he fall? And nothing beats the drama of an operatic diva in all her glory, interrupting a dress rehearsal of La Traviata to demand a cup of hot tea.
The mayhem began after I took a scriptwriting course and fell in love with fiction writing. And discovered my dark side. For that, I thank my print-journalist father. When I was a teenager he would tell me stories about the murder cases he covered. He even taught me how to play pool at the police station. How cool is that?
Between 1990 and 2000, while I was gigging and teaching part time at Brown University and Berklee College of Music, I managed to write three crime novels. I threw them away. They weren’t ready for prime time. In 2001, I stopped teaching and gigging and moved to New Orleans to focus on writing. Hey, killing people takes time! All those messy details. Who to kill, and when, and how. In my latest thriller, DIVA, I killed two of my favorite characters. My heart said No, but my head said Yes. To write a good thriller, you’ve gotta be ruthless.
Both of mine are set in New Orleans. My first was inspired by a serial killer who was terrorizing women in the Baton Rouge area when I arrived in New Orleans. I’m happy to say the Premier Book Awards named ABSOLUTION Best Mystery-Suspense-Thriller of 2009. In 2010, I moved back to Boston, but the mayhem continued.
DIVA is set in storm-ravaged post-Katrina New Orleans and reflects my experience with the music business. It was inspired by the ordeal a woman brass player friend suffered thanks to the unwanted attention of a creepy stalker. She eventually escaped. But will the DIVA?
Beautiful, talented and ambitious, flute soloist Belinda Scully wants to be a star. But fame can be dangerous. Someone is stalking her. Rejection stokes the fires of his lust. Her manager dies suddenly. NOPD Detective Frank Renzi believes he was murdered. But murder may not be the worst thing Belinda must face.
DIVA is not a cozy mystery, it’s a gritty thriller. Some dismiss crime fiction as cheap entertainment. I disagree. Crime fiction reflects real life, with its moral dilemmas and hard choices. Many women read crime fiction to manage their fear of real-life violence. It’s only a book. In real life, violent criminals often go unpunished. But not in my novels.
You can find free samples and video trailers for both books, and samples of my trumpet CD, on my website. My profiles of talented women musicians, another passion of mine, are in my Archives:
My deepest thanks to Geraldine for inviting to be her guest and to you folks for reading this. I’d love to hear your comments, and if you’ve got questions, I’d be happy to answer them.
DIVA sounds divine. If you would like to purchase Susan’s book, here are the amazon links:
Susan, thank you for being my guest today. And apologies for the computer glitch.