Wednesday, September 23, 2015



In the middle of a wintry night, private investigator Fina Fitzgibbons finds Lorraine’s friend, Phyllida Oxley, slumped over her dining room table, the victim of memory-impairing date rape drugs. When her condition goes from poor to comatose, her distraught fifteen-year-old granddaughter, Kat Oxley disappears. Meanwhile, Fina’s agency is busy surveilling a massage parlor in Bensonhurst suspected of human trafficking, and Fina’s father reappears to throw a wrench into her relationship with NYPD Patrol Officer Denny McDuffy. As Fina frantically searches for the missing teen, she uncovers the truth behind the traffickers, but they have a surprise waiting for her in the not-so-friendly skies.


Susan, welcome back to A Blue Million Books. How did you get started writing and when did you become an “author?”
First of all, thank you so much for having me on your blog, Amy. And now for the answer: I can’t remember when I didn’t write. I’ve always loved words and was one of the few people I know who actually looked forward to writing papers. Crazy, huh? It is a way for me to focus, a way for me to be in my own world. I became an author when I published my first short story.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

I love creating characters and having readers tell me they love them, and I also love creating new worlds and being in my own place.

How long is your to-be-read list?

I can't read that word without hearing it in Donald Trump's voice! What books do you currently have published?
I write two mystery series. One’s a contemporary mystery series, and it takes place in Brooklyn; the other is an historical mystery series and takes place in nineteenth-century Sicily.

Can you share some of your marketing strategies with us?
Sure, for what they’re worth.

The most important marketing tip someone told me? Write the best stories you can and readers will find you. As for the rest, I’m no expert by any stretch. Mine has painfully slowly evolved, and it’s for everyone, but it seems to be working for me. Keep in mind that I write in a series, so here goes: Every month I make a book free for two or three days and advertise their availability on several sites. And when I publish a new book, I try to do a tour. I just published my eighth book, and I am just beginning to make a profit. But since I started making a book free each month, my income has gone from nil to respectable.

How long have you been a writer?
For a very long time, but I just started publishing three years ago.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
I love the PBS stations.

How often do you tweet?

Almost every day, unless I’m on vacation or have another kind of family function, although even then I’ll probably whip out my phone and do some tweeting on the side.

For what would you like to be remembered?

I guess that I’m a woman who loved and loved to write.

What scares you the most?
Wow, that’s an interesting question! Losing my ability to think and to remember.

If you had a swear jar, would it be full?
Not really, but I’d have to empty it every other day.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
It depends. I’m trying to learn how to navigate in crowded rooms and at parties where I don’t know anyone else. I just attended the Writers Police Academy. (Great, BTW), and I walked in to the reception not knowing anyone. It was wall to wall unknowns. So I walked right out and up to my room and had a good talk with myself and came back down and started conversations and had fun. So I’d say I was an introvert trying to breathe.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Everything that rises must converge.” -Teilhard de Chardin

What would your main character say about you?

Once in a while she gets it right.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
I love the reading room at the New York Public Library, and I like talking to the lions in front.

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
Golly. Can I come back to that one? (Thinks) I’d like to be Liz, the wife of Thomas Cromwell, the fictional version, please, before she dies of the plague. Maybe when she’s still a young wife waiting for her husband to come back from some trip or other. She understood lots, Hilary Mantel’s Liz Cromwell did, and I’d like to have her understanding.

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
Someone told me that my work was irrelevant, that my perpetrators were too ordinary. That hurt the worst, even worse than one star reviews. I didn’t know what to say. In the old days, I’d probably mutter a thank you. But at least I said nothing. On some level, I think of that remark every day.

Who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone in the world?
Gandhi, and I know he’s dead and all, but I still talk to the dead.

What's your relationship with your cell phone?

Best buddies. I have a big cell phone and wear it in one of those Waterfield sleeves on my belt. Invariably I’m asked if I’m wearing a gun but I tell them not even my characters shoot guns.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Usually I’m in bed by 10 except when I’m not, and always up by 5:30 because that’s the time I love to write.

What is your favorite movie?

When Harry Met Sally.

Do you have a favorite book?

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

How about a favorite book that was turned into a movie? Did the movie stink?
Wolf Hall was turned into a PBS series, and it was pretty good. Mark Rylance was great.

Do you sweat the small stuff?

Yes, but not enough.

How long is your to-do list?
Beyond the horizon.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on another mystery, but it’s a new series. The working title is Death of a Brooklyn Landlord, and I’m almost finished with the first draft. One of the characters in my last series is the protagonist of this one, and some of the characters from the last series appear in this one, but wearing different hats or at least coming at life from different places, so it’s the same neighborhood, but still it’s new because the character’s voice is different, and her needs are different. She’s older and she’s a widow and in the book, she has an affair. It’s not front and center, because I don’t write romances, just stories about characters who solve mysteries or at least who ponder mysteries — the mystery of themselves as well as who commits the crimes.

Lightning round:
Cake or frosting? Cake
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill Murray
Emailing or texting? Texting
Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors
Tea: sweet or unsweet? A little cream, please.
Plane, train, or automobile? Car


Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University, and a life member of The Art Students League of New York. She has taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.

Too Quiet in Brooklyn, the first in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series published December 2013. The second book in the series, Missing Brandy, published September 2014, and Whiskey's Gone published in January 2015 and completes a trilogy. The fourth book in Fina's series, The Brooklyn Drop, published August 15.

Death of a Serpent, the first in the Serafina Florio series, published January 2012. It began as a painting of the Lower East Side, the landmark immigrant neighborhood in Manhattan, and wound up as a mystery story set in nineteenth-century Sicily. No More Brothers, a novella, published May 2012, the second in the series. The third book, Death in Bagheria, published in December, followed by Murder on the Rue Cassette in January 2014.

Connect with Susan:
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