Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tattered Pages Welcomes Sue Fineman with her latest release The Mitchell Money

Hi Sue and thanks for joining us today. It's a pleasure having you here!

Tell us how your writing career began.
I had just retired from my day job and started sketching the floor plan of a house, a long-time hobby.  As I drew the plan, I wondered who’d live there.  What was their story?  The title and the premise of the book came together quickly – a man takes early retirement and moves himself and his wife to the hills outside Maystown, Arizona.  They live in a tiny motor home on the back of the property while their new home – which she designed – is being built.  Then he dies and she discovers he hid their money.  He’d never allowed her to work during their marriage, so she has no marketable job skills.  She’s scared, alone, and nearly broke, and if she doesn’t find the money soon, she’ll lose everything. 

As the other characters appeared to me – the surly rancher down the road, the starving boy who looks just like her dead husband, and the town gossip who wants to marry the rancher – I wrote the story.  And THE MITCHELL MONEY emerged.
Do you stick to one genre or write across lines?
I write mostly romantic suspense, some with light paranormal elements like ghosts, visions, or past life experiences, and women’s fiction.  Everything I write has some mystery or suspense in it.  Subplots.  Strong supporting characters.  Some humor.  I’ve tried writing straight romance, but I don’t have the voice for it.  And I just can’t write without subplots!

Of your published works, which story is your favorite and why?
I’ve written close to thirty books, so I have a lot of favorites.  I absolutely fell in love with the characters in THE MITCHELL MONEY.  Gary is the most unlikely hero you’ll ever want to meet in the beginning, but he turns out to be such a great guy in the end. 

Have you ever considered self-publishing?
Not until recently, when some friends shared their success at self-publication.  So I’m experimenting with it right now.  I put the three books in the Gregory Series on Amazon and BN.  The first book, ON THE RUN, was published briefly in 2006 under another name.  ON THE LAM and ON THE EDGE are the other books in the series.  Each of these romantic suspense novels features a Gregory brother – the macho brother, the wounded brother, and the troubled brother – and they all have touches of humor.  If you liked Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson together, you’ll enjoy these books.  They’re only 99 cents each.
I have so many books sitting on my closet shelves, if I went through a traditional publisher with each one, I’d be at least 90 before I got them all out there.  I love working with The Wild Rose Press.  They’ve created a safe, supportive atmosphere for their authors, their editors are wonderful to work with, and their covers the best in the business.  But I’m too old to wait months to go through the submissions / editing / publishing process with each book.  So I’m doing it both ways.

Do you have critique partners or belong to a writers group?
I belong to FTHRW and Elements of RWA, I work with a critique group, and I also have two critique partners.  They’re all great people, and I learn something different from each one.  Their on-going friendship and support keeps me sane and focused.  This business can be an emotional roller-coaster, frustrating and ego-boosting at the same time, and it’s important to have people around you who understand and give you the encouragement you need to keep writing.
Sue's lastest release, THE MITCHELL MONEY, is now available at The Wild Rose Press.
Excerpt:  (Joe is Gary’s attorney son, and Johnny is Rachel’s dead husband’s bastard son, the starving boy she found on her doorstep.  They’re all living at the ranch, and Rachel is trading her cooking for Gary’s investigative skills.  In this scene, there’s a rogue cat in the area, a wounded animal who’s killing pets and terrorizing small children.)
Gary wasn’t in bed ten minutes when he heard the cat yowl out by the ravine.
Joe came in. “You heard?”
“I heard.” Gary walked to the window. “Must be a rogue. I don’t like it coming this close.”
“I don’t either,” said Joe. “I’ll get a hunting party together this weekend. The cat must be old or hurt. It’s looking for an easy meal.”
Gary heard something brush against the door and turned to see Rachel standing there in her robe. The nightlight in the bathroom cast enough light to see the fear in her eyes. “Bouncer has to go out,” she said. “Is it safe to go out front?”
“Not by yourself.” Gary took the gun from the nightstand, checked to make sure it was loaded, and followed Rachel and Bouncer downstairs.
Joe followed them with his rifle. Gary stood in a dark corner of the porch, scanning the dark hills, looking for any sign of movement. He spotted the rogue cat about a hundred yards from the house. Joe already had a bead on it. Gary spoke quietly. “Wait for a clean shot, son.”
A low growl came from Rachel’s little dog. “Hold on to him, Rachel,” Gary said. She was less than ten feet from the porch. The cat must be desperate to come this close.
Rachel reached down to pick up Bouncer and Joe’s first rifle shot rang out. He fired again, and Gary flipped on the flood lights. Rachel stood frozen, holding the dog in her arms, as Joe walked past her and out to the big cat lying near the driveway. He fired one more shot, as Gary had taught him, to make sure the animal was dead.
Gary walked out to Rachel and put his arm around her shoulders. She was shaking, and so was the dog, so he pulled them close and rubbed her back. “It’s over.”
Joe called, “Looks like he got caught in a trap and chewed part of his foot off. It’s a mess. That’s why he couldn’t hunt. The guy who set the trap should be shot.”
They’d had discussions with other ranchers in the area about setting traps. Some said it was necessary, but Gary disagreed. It was like setting out poison. You never knew what you’d kill or injure, and a wounded animal was always more dangerous than a healthy one. If they couldn’t hunt for their food, they had to find it in other ways.
Gary still had his arms around Rachel, and it felt so good he didn’t want to let go. Johnny came outside to examine the cat, and Gary stayed right where he was, holding Rachel’s soft, warm body in his arms, with the little dog shivering between them.
He didn’t want to stop holding her, but he needed to make a phone call, so he walked inside with Rachel and called the police station.
Ten minutes later, an officer came out, followed by a pickup and a car. The pickup was driven by Harvey Spinnaker, who did skinning and taxidermy. In shooting the cat, Joe had earned the pelt, if he wanted it. One look at the car and Gary groaned. He stood in front of the house wearing pajama pants, slippers, and a T-shirt. Rachel stood beside him, wearing a robe. Great time for the town gossip to show up.
Mavis ran from her car, past the dead cat and police car, straight to Gary. “I just heard. Is everyone all right?” As Mavis pawed at Gary’s arm, Rachel backed up a step or two. He glanced at her and tried to push Mavis off him. Rachel’s lips twitched with suppressed laughter.
“Let’s get you inside, where it’s warm,” said Mavis. “Why, you’re not even dressed.”
“Why are you here?” Gary asked.
“To help, of course.”
“Joe,” Gary yelled, “Mavis wants to help.”
“Okay, but there’s a lot of blood.”
Mavis put her hand on her chest as her eyes widened. For a minute, Gary thought she might faint. Then she caught sight of Rachel and that sharp nose went up a notch, along with one eyebrow. She eyed Rachel as if she was something to take out with the trash, but Rachel smiled. The smile didn’t have any warmth, but at least she was polite.
Fighting an impulse to escape into the house and lock the door, Gary stood back and watched the two women. Mavis extended her hand to Rachel. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Mavis Bidwell. Gary and I have been close friends since high school.”
Rachel took Mavis’s hand. “Rachel Woods. It’s nice to meet one of Gary’s old friends.”
Mavis stiffened and scanned Rachel from head to toe, and Gary knew the gossip would be flying tomorrow, if not tonight. The way Rachel was dressed, it was obvious she was living at the ranch. Did Mavis think he was sleeping with Rachel? Did he care what Mavis thought? Not if she kept it to herself, but she wouldn’t. She never kept anything to herself.
Ignoring Mavis, Rachel asked, “Gary, would you like me to make a pot of coffee?”
“No, Joe should be finished soon, and if I drink coffee now, I’ll be awake all night.” He took Rachel’s arm and steered her toward the porch steps, hoping Mavis would magically disappear, but he should have known better. She followed them onto the porch and into the house. It was late, he was tired, and now he had to deal with Mavis.
“Go on up to bed, Gary,” said Rachel. “I’ll take care of the boys.”
Boys?” said Mavis.
“Joe and my son, Johnny.”
Mavis cocked her head and Gary could almost hear the wheels turning. “Your son? I thought you had daughters.”
“And a son. Here he comes now.”
Johnny came in wet and shivering. “Go upstairs and get in the shower,” said Gary. “Right now, before you freeze to death. Is Joe about finished?”
“The cat is on the pickup and he’s talking to the cops. Oh, there’s a car out there that needs to be moved. The pickup can’t get around it.”
Rachel and Gary both stared at Mavis. “Oh, yes, well, I’ll go move my car and I’ll be right back.”
“Go home, Mavis.” Gary knew he was being rude and he didn’t care. “It’s late and I’m too tired to play host.”
“Perhaps Mavis would like to come out for dinner one night,” said Rachel. Her eyes sparkled and Gary could have strangled her on the spot.
“I’ll call you, Mavis,” said Gary. “Goodnight.” He held the front door open.
Slamming the door behind Mavis, he turned his anger on Rachel. “I’ll thank you to mind your own business.”
“She’s the one, isn’t she, the one who wants to marry you?”
“Nobody in their right mind would marry that woman.”
“You’re no prize yourself.”
Unable to allow her to have the last word, Gary said, “Some women think I am.”
He thought he heard her say, “I can’t imagine why,” but she said it so quietly he wasn’t sure he heard her correctly. Gary clamped his jaw closed, walked upstairs, and went back to bed.
He punched his pillow, trying to get comfortable. “Alice loved me,” he whispered to himself. Or at least she used to, but years of grief and loneliness had changed him. It didn’t matter if he’d make a poor husband now, because he didn’t intend to marry again. He had a good life, and he was happy.
Wasn’t he?

Sue Fineman is a grumpy old lady who lives with an even grumpier old man in a small town in Washington State.  She writes mostly romantic suspense, women’s fiction, and light paranormal romance novels.  Although she doesn’t write comedy, there’s a little humor in everything she writes.

You can read the first chapters of THE MITCHELL MONEY, ON THE RUN, ON THE LAM, and ON THE EDGE on Sue’s blogsite:


DarleneLF said...

Your books sound interesting, Sue! And I like the covers! I'll have to check them out.

Lynn Chantale said...

Hi AJ. Sue!

Congrats on the new release!

Mary Campisi said...

Hi Sue:

Great excerpt! I like Gary already! I loved reading how the idea for the story came about - you were simply living your life and the idea crept in and I'm sure just wouldn't go away:)

I love the covers, too!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the new release...WOOT!!!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Sue And AJ, great interview. Sue, I like the premise of your story and your excerpt. Your book covers are lovely.

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

Thank you, ladies. I love Gary. Mavis has been after him for years, and he can't stand to be around her. No wonder he's surly!

Anonymous said...

Great blog, ladies!!!!! Sue's a joy to know!

AJ Nuest said...

Sorry I'm late to the party! Whoo Hoo, Sue! The Mitchell Money is officially being added to my TBR list! Congrats, my friend!

Patricia said...

Nice interview and I liked the combo of Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. I love them both, especially in their comedic roles. And I liked the idea of self-publishing when you don't have 50 years to try to get your books published. I'm coming late to this game and sometimes get overly frustrated by the glacial process of getting someone to notice your work!

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

It's an extremely slow process, isn't it? I had a bad experience with a former publisher and didn't submit anything for several years. Big mistake! All publishers are not created equal. I love being with The Wild Rose Press, but they'll only let me submit one book at a time. So I'm doing it both ways - through the publisher and independently.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sue,
Great blog, loved the excerpt.Good luck with all your writing projects.



Mimi Barbour said...

Hi Sue,
Glad you found Wild Rose. I've been happy with them also. Great blog and good luck with the book.

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