From the runway to the publishing house this week's Writer of the Week is also a former N.C. resident by way of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Meet Suki McMinn.
Author Suki McMinn born in Tennessee has lived most of her life either in North Carolina or Los Angeles, California. Susan is currently living in sunny Phoenix, Arizona where she says the beauty of the dessert is always admired.
"I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. I spent most of my adult life in Los Angeles, moved to Tryon, North Carolina, after leaving L.A.
Susan writes a multitude of genres, from contemporary and paranormal romance to cozy mysteries.
"I started as a fanfiction writer. The anonymity and supportive readers and writers gave me the courage to try something new and to keep going. I recommend it to every new writer."
Her favorite place to visit here in North Carolina is Tryon, located in the foothills of North Carolina.
"I spend my summers in Tryon, North Carolina when I can. It's just down the road from Asheville where I grew up. I created my fictional town of Hogback based on Tryon, my favorite little town. I moved to Tryon after living in Los Angeles for 27 years, and that's really where I became a writer. I wrote for local magazines, had my own weekly newspaper column, published my first book, joined the North Carolina Writers Network, and formed Tryon Writers with other local writers. Having a supportive community is so important to artists, and Tryon was the perfect little nest for me when I was a new writer.
Suki says she enjoys writing at home in a quiet spot with her dogs nearby. She draws inspiration from all over, be it conversations, friends, writing prompts, or even an event from her past. "Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes the hard part is sorting it out and choosing which path to follow," Suki told us, "even in dreams."
When The Writing Wall Blog & Podcast caught up to her, she was in the middle of reading a collection of historical romances that she had just purchased. When we asked what her favorite genre to read was Suki admitted was a tough one. "I have such varied tastes, but I guess no matter what, I like to see a romance in the story. I have an English Lit degree, so I've read a lot of classics, but I enjoy all kinds of books and even stories by unknown fanfiction writers. I'm open to every kind of writing.
All writers have a favorite quote by another author or poet, for Suki, she said her favorite quote was by Robert Frost, "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader." (This means I get to laugh a lot, as I love to write comedy.)"
When asked if she had published previously to her upcoming novel, Suki told us she had. "I have a novel (Drop Dead Gorgeous, a vampire romance set in the L.A. modeling world), two novellas (The Vampire of Waller County and Christmas in Waller County in my Hogback cozy mystery series) and two short stories (The Iris, a paranormal romance set in Hogback and Smitten with Kittens in the Desert, a contemporary romance set in Phoenix). I've also published a collection of my newspaper columns, Tryon Diary, as Susan McNabb."
Most writers are a little shy when it comes to sharing their works before they are published, but Suki assured us that she does share her works, "I can't imagine publishing anything without the help of my beta readers. They are invaluable."
Supporting her writing and creative endeavors are her fanfiction family, and her friend and fellow author Thyra Dane. "We were each other's beta readers when we wrote fanfiction and even hosted a contest together. She lives in Norway and I live in the U.S., but that never gets in the way of our friendship."
When it comes to her upcoming novel, Suki said that she is working on the romantic comedy set in the eighties in Los Angeles where she lived when she was a model. "I love to write what I know, and this one is a particularly fun trip down memory lane. I spent nearly three decades working as a model and commercial actor before becoming a writer. I also have a memoir from this period to be published soon as Susan McNabb. It's a collection of funny essays called The Opposite of Famous. And I just signed on to write another romantic short story for a summer anthology with the New Romance Cafe."
Giving the description of The Vampire of Waller County Suki says it is a cozy vampire mystery with sweet romance and humor. I might have made that genre up! I was inspired to write it after attending a workshop on The Hero's Journey. My talented artist brother, Corey McNabb, painted portraits of my characters and turned them into book covers, which I love. All of my books are available on Amazon."
Her advice to writers who are considering self-publication was, "Don't be afraid to go for it! Join some writers' groups either online or in your community and learn from authors who are experienced in navigating the self-publishing world. We love to share and support each other."
Read an official excerpt of Suki's book The Vampire of Waller County below and see the end of the article for all of her social media and book-related links.
Excerpt from The Vampire of Waller County:
Nathan was the tallest person in the newspaper photo by more than a foot, even without his witch hat. The headline read, “Hogback prepares for Halloween Stroll,” and showed Nathan with three other Stroll committee members, all old enough to be his grandparents.
“Hey, you made the front page again,” Dana said, pointing to the paper on the counter in front of him. “You’re not scheduled to work this morning. Want some coffee?” She poured him a cup before he answered. “Shouldn’t you be in Asheville?”
“Yeah, I missed class again,” he said. “The Prius is dead.” The check-battery light had been glaring at him the entire two years since his mother had passed the car along to him. If he was lucky, it would only need the smaller, cheaper battery, not the big one. Of course, he didn’t have the money for either.
“Is your mom working?”
“She’s cleaning a house over in Thickety Branch today.” He’d taken rides from her too many times anyway. “I’m starting to wonder if college in Asheville was a mistake. Maybe I should have just gone to Skyuka Community College up the road.”
“There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind,” she said.
“How’s the book coming along?” Mr. Marshall asked from the end of the counter.
Nathan smiled and gave a thumbs-up, then burned the roof of his mouth with his coffee.
There was no book.
Be sure to catch Susan McNabb's interview on The Writing Wall Podcast Wednesday, January 27th at 6 pm EST on Anchor, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, and more.
Suki McMinn writes contemporary and paranormal fiction, romance, and mystery. After working as a model and commercial actor in Los Angeles and a newspaper columnist in North Carolina, Suki now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and dogs and spends her summers in Tryon, North Carolina. She’s a member of the Desert Rose chapter of the Romance Writers of America and a founding member of Tryon Writers. Suki writes nonfiction as Susan McNabb.
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