Deb Susan Takes the Deb Interview (at) Last!

Like Kelly said last week, I cannot believe it’s finally my turn to take this interview. In some ways, it’s a bittersweet moment because I’ve known since becoming a deb that my release was the last one—and that when my book released, we would have only one short month to go before saying goodbye.

The moment IS bittersweet, however, because saying goodbye means not only five successful launches for the class of 2013 but also a chance to say hello to the incoming debs of next year’s class. More on that in a minute, but now … Deb Susan’s take on the deb interview:


Where do you love to be?

At home, in my writing office, on an evening cool enough to open the window and let in the delta breeze. On nights like that, when the wind chimes ring and the aquarium fills the air with the scent of the ocean (well-kept reefs smell wonderful), I am at peace and the writing flows.

12I tank


Which talent do you wish you had?

More patience with myself.

I’m patient with others, especially those who are trying as best they can, but I cannot summon that patience with myself. I tend to be hypercritical of myself and my work, in ways that help, but also hinder, my progress. I wish I could find a medium between my constant drive to improve and my lack of patience with my many imperfections.


Do you have any phobias?

I’m afraid to tell you.


What’s your next big thing? 

I’ve recently delivered the second Shinobi Mystery, Blade of the Samurai, to my publisher, and I’m currently working on Book 3, currently titled Flask of the Drunken Master.

Blade takes Hiro and Father Mateo into the dangerous world of the shogunate, forcing Hiro to defend his friend Kazu against accusations of murder.

Flask shifts the investigation again, this time to the brewery culture, and though I can’t reveal any more right now, the book brings back a few of my favorite characters from the earlier novels.

Cherry blossom


What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?

During the early ‘80s, I made two appearances as a reptile handler on a low-budget cable TV show in Los Angeles.

The show highlighted different unusual pets and discussed their care—essentially a “how to” for prospective owners. The host was a professional dog trainer (I worked for her in that capacity also) and she needed someone to “go on camera and hold the snakes.” The only job requirements were lack of fear and willingness to spend 30 minutes holding a large, live, and not always cooperative reptile. I qualified.

I like to think it also gave me valuable foundation skills for the practice of law.


Do you have a regular first reader? If so, who is it and why?

My eighteen year-old son is my alpha reader, and also my hardest critic. He reads my novels in fourth or fifth draft (before that, the words are for my eyes only) and he has an inerrant—and merciless—editing eye. It’s hard to believe that a teen can edit with adult proficiency, and before I started letting him read I’m not sure I would have believed it was even possible.

He can see when the scenes are drifting, recognize an extraneous character from the moment it hits the page, and he’s never been afraid to walk into my office and say, “Mom…this page kind of sucks.” (And by “kind of sucks” he means it sucks a lot.)

I’m fortunate to have his skills on my side.

13B Max

I’m grateful to have been a deb. I’ve met four wonderful, talented women and made friends I will carry with me beyond the Ball. If you’re a debut author whose book will release between September 2013 and August 2014, you really should follow this link and submit an application to join the Debutante Ball’s Class of 2014. It’s a fabulous and rewarding opportunity.

And here’s another opportunity not to miss: in honor of the launch of CLAWS OF THE CAT, I’m giving away an amazing Ninja mug, a signed copy of my novel, and a batch of delicious Ninja cookies (made with chocolate and icing rather than real ninjas, but they do come from my favorite local bakery)! To enter, leave a comment below telling me the strangest job YOU’VE ever had!



12 Replies to “Deb Susan Takes the Deb Interview (at) Last!”

  1. “I like to think it also gave me valuable foundation skills for the practice of law.”

    LOL! Have I mentioned before how much I love lawyer jokes?

    You are so lucky to have son with a keen editorial eye. Oh, the advantages! “Mom, can I borrow the car?” “Sure. Right after you finish the note on chapter twelve.”

    Hope you’re enjoying the craziness of your book’s release! 🙂

    1. Thanks Linda! I’m having a blast.

      I love lawyer jokes too. Ironically, it’s a good litmus test for members of my profession. The ones who like lawyer jokes tend to be pretty fun people. The ones who get offended …. well, they’re usually the ones the jokes are talking about 🙂

  2. Susan, my book arrives tomorrow and I can’t wait to begin reading it. Having grown up in Northern California, I had many Japanese friends and have missed learning about their culture through them. I can’t think of a better combination than a mystery set in the Shogun period of Japan! Enjoy your week!

    1. I hope you enjoy the book, Robyn! I love the Japanese culture, especially the samurai/Shogun era, so it’s a delight to be able to share it through the books, for sure.

  3. My strangest job doesn’t seem that strange, but one of the tasks associated with it was. I was a lifeguard at an outdoor pool in the country. Every morning I had to walk around the pool and dump out all the frogs that had hopped into the filter baskets. Often there were two or three in every filter. Don’t worry, the frogs didn’t get hurt. They were just confused and stuck, so I tossed them over the fence and sent them on their way.

    1. That is hilarious! I can’t imagine frogs in the filter baskets. I’m glad to hear they weren’t hurt – it must have been hilarious to see them in the baskets every morning.

  4. Hi Susan,

    I’m like you — way too self-critical…I’m a pain in my own arse! 🙂

    I like snakes, call me weird, but I’d have held them too.

    I had the same reaction as LindaG regarding your son: lucky! It’s difficult to find alpha/beta readers who have a talent for honest and astute feedback.

    I already have your book! I know exactly when I’m going to read it too. Saving it for a writers retreat mini-vacation I’m taking in the beginning of September.

    Hope you’re having a great launch week!

    Cheers, Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa!

      I think we have a lot in common – in addition to both writing mystery! It’s so true that it’s hard to find an honest alpha/beta reader. I consider myself very fortunate to have a talented (and honest) son!

      I hope you enjoy the book, and I look forward to staying connected even after my year at the ball is over. I’m so glad we connected this year!

      1. I’m glad we connected too! It’s been a pleasure. I think it was the seahorses that first grabbed my attention. I love them!

        Hope we meet at a conference sometime. Maybe Left Coast Crime in Monterey?

        Sent in my application today…:-)

  5. When I first started as a computer tech at an University, I went on my first call to go to fix the computer. As I crawl underneath the desk where the computer was located, I noticed underwear that was scrunched up in the corner. I did not ask whether it was clean or dirty. I finished the call as quickly as I can and proceeded to the bathroom to wash my hand.

Comments are closed.