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Monday 7 May 2018

ℚ Dangerous Mistakes: Leah Nash Mysteries [2] - Susan Hunter

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Dangerous Mistakes (, Himmel River Press, 370 pages), a Cozy Mystery, book two in the Leah Nash Mysteries series.

** For a limited time, grab a FREE copy of the first book in the series, Dangerous Habits.**

Excellent book, superb writing, great plot lines, with rich characters that make you laugh out loud, and at times bawl your eyes out.

This author’s plotting is the very best I’ve read in a long time. The plot is finely written with twists & turns, characters that aren’t way out there and unbelievable.

This is the first book that I [have] read by this author, but it won’t be the last. If you are looking for a good mystery, then this one is for you.

This is the second Leah Nash book I’ve read, and I enjoyed both. The characters are realistic, the dialogue believable, the pace excellent.

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || The Series || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Susan Hunter; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

What was the inspiration for Dangerous Mistakes ?

"I read a news article about a murder that initially looked like suicide. It gave me an idea for how I could weave together a new mystery that included some character development and revealed more about my lead character's past as she solves the crime."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I definitely use my experience with the rhythms of small-town journalism to inform the way Leah goes about her work. However, Leah, while she has a few character traits that I claim too (a little bossy, a little snarky) she's not me.

I don't use characters taken directly from real life, although I'll admit to lifting a physical characteristic or two, or the odd mannerism. Part of the fun of writing is getting inside the heads of people who think and act differently than I would."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Dangerous Mistakes - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I struggled with getting a cover for the first book in the series, until I connected with Julie Smith. She's an Edgar-award winning mystery writer who also publishes a number of authors through her BooksbNimble publishing firm. BbN also works with independent authors to market and promote their books.

Julie's the one who first made me realize that it's important to claim a specific sub-genre: cozy, hardboiled, police procedural, etc. for your books. You need to define what you're offering, so that your cover can let readers know what they're getting. Because my Leah Nash series features an amateur sleuth, a small town, and no graphic sex or violence, she suggested cozy as the genre.

I was surprised because the pace of the books is faster, and some situations are darker than those usually associated with cozies. But I discovered that cozy readers are an intelligent breed, easily able to accommodate mysteries that stretch the genre's conventions a bit. The cover BbN created says cozy, but with a twist. Which exactly fits the series."
Why should we read Dangerous Mistakes and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your series unique?
"All good series have a strong lead, so I can't claim that my series is unique in that aspect. But I think Leah Nash is a distinctive character, equal parts smart and smartass, who grows in fits and starts as she comes to terms with her past and how it affects her present.

Leah is smart, loyal and quick-witted. She can also be stubborn, single-minded and harsh in her judgments. Readers tend to love her or hate her. Fortunately, so far there have been more who love her. One reviewer summed Leah up this way: "A perfectly imperfect heroine." 

In addition to Leah, the series offers a fully formed cast of supporting characters, and the town of Himmel itself, which in a way also becomes a character in the series."
Can you tell us something quirky about Dangerous Mistakes , its story and characters?
"No characters were named after real people. However, I did give the name—and personality—of a family dog, Flash, to a pet in Dangerous Mistakes.

And in my next book, I'll be using the real names of two people who won that "prize" in a giveaway I did for my email list."
Who would you recommend Dangerous Mistakes to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Anyone who likes strong female leads, can forgive imperfection in their heroines, and enjoys a layered story with plenty of twists. No warnings or disclaimers."
If you could / wished to turn Dangerous Mistakes and the Leah Nash Mysteries series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"For my dream team, I'll pluck members from different points in time.

I'd choose the late Nora Ephron as director, and I'd cast early Sandra Bullock (equal parts Speed and Miss Congeniality) as lead character Leah.

1990s Ricky Martin as Miguel, Leah's fellow reporter, and present-day Jamie Lee Curtis as Leah's mom, Carol. Henry Travers, who played Clarence the angel in It's A Wonderful Life would make a good Father Lindstrom, Leah's moral touchstone.

Law&Order SVU-era Christopher Meloni is my choice as Coop, a police lieutenant who's been Leah's best friend since both were 12-years-old."
That's the spirit! I must admit I like that team, and I shall look up Nora Ephron ;-)

What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I enjoy writing mysteries, and stick to that genre, because I like looking for the connections and the patterns in life.  It's fun to help Leah find ways to see the links and the overall picture that others may miss.

For reading, mysteries in all sub-genres are my go-to. Contemporary literary fiction finds a place on my bedside table as well. A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my favorite books. I'm also a fan of biographies and true crime."
What is your writing process?
"I usually think of the murder first, and then I learn all I can about the victim by writing a thorough backstory for her or him.

From there I move on to the characters who would have reason to want her/him dead and do backstories for them as well.

At that point, I decide who actually committed the murder, write out what happened "the night of" and then overlay it with other possible scenarios that explain why each of my suspects could have done it.

By the time I'm done with that, I have a pretty good idea of how the story will go, and then I think about how it will end.

When all that's done, I make a list of secrets to be revealed and twists to (hopefully) surprise the reader."
What is in store next?
"I'm working on the fifth book in the series now, which will be released in the fall. It has a callback to an earlier book in the series that I think will surprise readers."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I've had several special pets in the past but have none at the moment. However, I'm including a photo of a person and an activity that are special to me. My husband Gary and me kayaking on the Au Sable River."
Thank you for sharing!

A clever killer. A smart reporter. An unexpected twist.

Dangerous Mistakes
Available NOW!

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CMash said...

Great interview! Ms. Hunter's response about why we should read this book and with Leah Nash being a "smart ass", I now want to read this series.

BooksChatter said...

Hello Cheryl, yes, so do I.

Book one is free on Amazon and, when you join Susan Hunter's mailing list you are sent a free Leah Nash short story. :-)

susanhunter said...

Thanks so much for hosting the interview. The questions were original and fun to answer!

susanhunter said...

Thank you, CMash. I hope you do read and enjoy the series.

Bonnie Bohannon said...

Thanks for the insight Susan. I love your books!!!

susanhunter said...

Thank you, Bonnie, that means a lot to me!