Author Interview – Suzanne Trauth
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a multi-genre writer. I started out writing screenplays and then transitioned to novels and plays. Since my background is in dramatic works, I focus a lot on plot and dialogue in my Dodie O’Dell Mystery Series.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
I have had play readings at a number of theatres in the New York/New Jersey area and a number of years ago, I co-wrote a play about Hurricane Katrina survivors in New Orleans. I also wrote and directed a short film. But I am a mystery book lover at heart. I once stayed home from work to finish a novel!
What is the first book you remember reading?
What are you reading now?
What made you decide you want to write?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write! In grade school and high school, I tinkered with plays and short stories. But then I got caught up with theatre and my focus shifted away from writing. But fortunately I found my way back about twenty years ago and now I am focused on my mystery series.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
I generally do most of my writing in a home office in northern New Jersey. But I do take notes everywhere… Snippets of conversation, character ideas, everywhere I go it seems I find material!
Now that I have a series going, there is a town and its inhabitants that lay the groundwork for each novel. But each novel also introduces new characters, so many ideas come from them! The characters speak to me…Ideas also are generated by the play that I have chosen for each novel. For example, the first Dodie O’Dell mystery featured ROMEO AND JULIET so the play was a springboard for the setting, character interaction, and murder mystery.
What books have most inspired you?
In the mystery world, I am truly inspired by Elizabeth George and Louise Penny. Each of their series provides food for thought, exceptionally well-plotted stories with strong and engaging characters. In the non-mystery world, I love to read a range of authors. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE stands out. I love books set during World War II.
For me getting the first draft down can be a challenge. Thoughts and ideas tumble out while I am trying to adhere to a very loose outline. Once the draft is finished and I start the next draft, it can be a challenge to establish clues, investigative procedures, and red herrings! I want to keep the reader engaged but not give away the end of the book.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think all of the standard elements must be present for a good story: well-drawn characters, a strong setting, believable and interesting dialogue. And then the X factor…that extra something that really pulls in the reader and makes her want to stay up all night, or skip work, to finish.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Hmmm…great question. I suppose I see myself in several characters. Dodie’s management skills, adventurous spirit, and sense of humor; Walter’s wacky rehearsal exercises; Lola’s friendship.
Why did you pick your particular genre?
Write what you know? Or at least write what you enjoy…I have loved mystery novels since I was a grade schooler, beginning with Nancy Drew. Reading a mystery novel is like solving a puzzle and puzzles fascinate me.
There are so many wonderful mystery series out there…when I started in on the Dodie O’Dell books, I decided to place the mysteries within the context of a small town restaurant (the Winderjammer) and community theatre (the Etonville Little Theatre). So, I am combining food and theatre. I think that combination might be unique.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Thank you, Suzanne, for being my guest today!
About The Author
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former university theatre professor. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Dramatists Guild. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey. Readers can visit her website at www.suzannetrauth.com and on Facebook.
Running out of Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (October 10, 2017)
Paperback: 220 pages
Digital ASIN: B01NBUM1LD
Restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell’s themed food ideas have been called cute, clever, and delicious, but never revolutionary—until now. Dodie’s Windjammer Restaurant is stocking the Etonville Little Theatre’s concession stand with colonial-era desserts and drinks: Swamp Yankee applesauce cake, pumpkin bread, hot cider punch, and mulled wine to complement the latest production. A local playwright has adapted Thornton Wilder’s Our Town into Eton Town, shifting the story to colonial America and the founding of Etonville, New Jersey, shortly after the Revolutionary War.
On opening night, hours before the curtain rises, Dodie runs into an agitated actress backstage with blood on her hands. Then a stranger is found among the chairs set for a graveyard scene with a knife in his chest. The show will not go on—the theatre is now a crime scene. Hoping to clear the red-handed suspect, Dodie returns to the role of amateur sleuth to mull over the clues and beat the backstage stabber to the punch—before someone else becomes history . . .
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