Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Susan Furlong

Susan Furlong is the author of the Georgia Peach Mystery series. She also contributes to the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries under the pen name Lucy Arlington. She has worked as a freelance writer, academic writer, ghost writer, translator, high-school language arts teacher, and martial arts instructor. Raised in North Dakota, Furlong graduated from Montana State University with a double major in French and Spanish. She and her family live in central Illinois.

Her new suspense novel is Fractured Truth, the second book in the Bone Gap Travellers series.

Recently I asked Furlong about what she was reading. Her reply:
One of my favorite things to do is spend time in the mystery section of my local bookstore. I pull a dozen or so books from the shelf and read the first two to three pages to see which opening scene captures my attention. Recently, I pulled A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window and … wow! His writing captivated me from the first sentence and the unique voice of his character kept me reading. The story was fast-paced with an excellent twist at the end. The Woman in the Window was more than a good story, it was a lesson in writing. Finn writes in what I call the stream of consciousness writing style, which allows the reader insight into protagonist’s thoughts without the interruption of narrative description. I try to use this technique in my own writing, but Finn does it so well. So for me, his book was not only enjoyable, but beneficial to my growth as a writer.

Since my protagonist is a former Marine MP turned civilian cop and suffers from PTS, for research purposes, I’m reading Outside the Wire: The War in Afghanistan in the Words of Its Participants, by Kevin Patterson and Jane Warren. Visceral, and difficult to read at times, this book gives an intimate view of war—battle stories as well as non-combat struggles—through the varied voices of soldiers and other personnel who served on the ground in Afghanistan. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a better understanding of war-time service.

And I always, always have a copy of either Alfred Hitchcock or Ellery Queen Mystery magazines on hand for those times I can fit in a quick short story. This week, I read an excellent story in AHMM: "A Bad Day for Algebra Tests," by Robert Lopresti. I’ve written both short stories and novels, and to me, the succinctness of the short story form makes it more difficult to fully develop character. Lopresti, however, has a knack for bringing out his characters’ personalities with just a few well-chosen words. This story features Officer Kite, who is so well portrayed that it seems I know him personally.

In addition to mysteries, I read spiritual books. I’m currently reading Maurice and Therese: The Story of Love, by Patrick Ahern. Recommended by a friend, this book presents a collection of letters written between St. Therese, a dying, cloistered nun, and struggling seminarian, Maurice Belliere. Along with the letters, Ahern provides analysis and commentary for readers who want to learn more about St. Therese’s spiritual life. Although they never met in person, the correspondence between Therese and Maurice encapsulates a powerful love story that testifies to their spiritual bond and the depth of their faith. There are so many take-aways from this obviously Catholic book, but I’d recommend it to anyone, Christian or non-Christian. There’s a lot to gain from reading about these two young people who had the courage to pursue their callings, despite many adversities.
Visit Susan Furlong's website.

--Marshal Zeringue