If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Interview with Susan Cox by E. B. Davis

Former party girl and society photographer Theophania Bogart
flees from London to San Francisco to escape a high-profile family
tragedy. But sudden death shines a light on her hiding place and she
learns she’s been providing cover for a sophisticated smuggling operation.
Her apartment is burgled, she starts to fall for an untrustworthy stranger,
and she’s knocked out, tied up and imprisoned. The police are sure she’s lying.
The smugglers are sure she knows too much. Her friends?
They aren’t sure what to believe.

 Theo needs to find a killer before her new life is exposed as an elaborate fraud.
But the more deeply entangled she becomes, the more her investigation is
complicated by her best friend, who is one of her prime suspects;
her young protégé, who may or may not have a juvie record; her stern and
unyielding grandfather, who exposes an unexpected soft center; and the
man on her washing machine, who isn’t quite what he appears, either.

I belong to Net Galley and downloaded Susan Cox’s award-winning novel The Man on the Washing Machine. I contacted her publicist for an interview. Once in contact with Susan, I discovered she is a member of Sisters In Crime. I took the long way around to find her!

The Man on the Washing Machine won the 2014 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition and is Susan’s first published novel. Although she is new to fiction, she is not a neophyte writer. Susan worked as a journalist prior to fiction writing.

Please welcome Susan Cox to WWK.                                                                                       E. B. Davis

Main character, Theo, tries to elude notoriety by changing her name. What is she running from?

*Theo’s English family is high-profile and wealthy, and 18 months before the novels opens her mother is murdered and her father commits suicide. With no particular plan in mind except to hide from the resulting media storm, she flees to San Francisco where she makes new friends and opens a business, all without revealing her family background or true identity.

You were born far from San Francisco. What was your introduction to the city and why did you set your novel there?

*My husband and I moved there, sight unseen, from the east coast, where we both went to university.  My first glimpse of the city came as we drove over the Bay Bridge. The sun was setting and reflecting off the tall buildings and I had an overwhelming feeling of coming home. That feeling has never left me.

Theo buys a derelict building, which is part of a HOA in a neighborhood called Fabian Gardens. Much of the action takes place behind the neighborhood’s buildings where there is an expanse of gardens with a tot lot, flowers/vegetables, and a compost heap. There are several Fabian Gardens, but none I found in San Francisco. Did you create the neighborhood?

*Fabian Gardens is all my own creation and I had fun doing it. I wanted to write a San Francisco mystery, but I also wanted an enclosed community for my characters, a “village” where they could work and make their homes. My first home in the city was in a neighborhood where the back yards were large and enclosed, but (except for mine!) they were rather neglected.  I’ve always loved to garden, and the Bay Area climate gave me the opportunity to grow a wide variety of plants. I used to imagine a sort of neighborhood pocket park taking up all that space and when I came to write my novel, that idea came back to me.  The name Fabian Gardens is a nod to George Bernard Shaw.

Theo’s new-found neighborhood provides a cast of characters, but it’s not without crime. Nat, a beautiful young gay man becomes her best friend when he saves her life. What happened?

*Before the action of the novel takes place, Theo is robbed by a knife-wielding thug. Things are about to get really ugly when Nat happens upon the scene and saves her.  By the time covered in The Man on the Washing Machine, Theo and Nat are close friends and confidantes.

Theo first meets Inspector Lichlyter when she sees a handyman of ill repute fall to his death from a building across from her own after an earthquake. She knows it wasn’t an accident or the result of the earthquake, and Lichlyter investigates the death. Inspector Lichlyter behaves untypically. How and why does she plant clues for suspects?

*The Inspector is convinced that the handyman’s death is connected to other crimes she’s investigating in Fabian Gardens (I can’t say more without spoilers.) When she discovers  Theo's false identity, her natural suspicions lead her to take a couple of unusual steps to force Theo’s hand. At one point she leaves behind a notebook containing some investigative notes, clearly hoping to panic Theo and her co-conspirators into making mistakes and revealing themselves.

How did you learn to plant red herrings so well?

*I credit Agatha Christie.  I love the Golden Age detective novels. Dame Agatha’s have always been my favorites and I’ve read each of them dozens of times.  Reading her is like a master’s degree in plotting and red herrings!

All the women seem to be agog over Kurt, the doctor. But he’s a cold fish, isn’t he?

*Theo learns early that Kurt is cold enough to give any woman frostbite.  But he’s a good looking, unattached surgeon, which makes him an appealing challenge, although he has secrets too. During the novel he gets his comeuppance, falling for someone who has her own reasons for keeping him at a distance.

My favorite character is Theo’s grandfather, who followed her to San Francisco. Has their tragedy made theirs a closer relationship?

*In the beginning of the novel their relationship is very formal, with a lack of understanding on both sides. They grow closer as the story unfolds and they begin to understand each other better.  

Derek, Nat’s live-in lover, is going bald. He experiments with oriental homeopathic cures. Rhino horns? I had no idea. How did you know? Is the value you placed on this item real? Explain the legal/illegal issue?

* Rhino horn is mistakenly believed to be a treatment for a variety of ills and conditions and people are willing to pay outrageous prices for it. The dollar value placed on it was accurate at the time of writing and, incredibly, continues to rise. The northern white rhino has been forced into extinction in the past five years and other varieties are close to the end.  The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) treaty, with about 180 signatory countries, forbids the import or export of animal products from animals deemed threatened or endangered, but rhinos are threatened all over Africa as poachers become more violent and bold.

Theo owns the building where they create the first-floor bath shop called Aromas, and Nicole provides the product, shampoos, soaps, lotions, etc., through a chemist friend of hers. But Nicole isn’t the stable business partner Theo wanted. When Nicole is murdered, why does Inspector Lichlyter suspect Theo?

*Inspector Lichlyter is suspicious of Theo largely because of Theo’s reluctance to reveal her true identity, and the tangled web of circumstances tying her, despite her innocence, to other criminal acts in the neighborhood.

Theo befriends a boy, Davie. His drunken father abuses him. She employs Davie at her shop. What is his unusual hobby? Why doesn’t he just give them fruit to eat?

*Davie keeps butterflies, growing them from caterpillars he collects.  He learned how to feed them on sugar water and special food by unrolling their (very, very long) tongues with a pin. (I didn’t mention this is the book, but butterflies sense food through their feet!)

What’s next, Susan? Are you planning to make this a first in a series book?

*I’m writing Theo’s next adventure, and have plans to write six or seven more.

Are you a beach or mountain woman, Susan?

*Neither! I don’t like extremes of weather or geography. I’d say I was more of a gently rolling hills woman.                        


Kait said...

Oh, this book hits all my buttons and it features one of my lesser known hobbies. Soapmaking! Definitely on my TBR.

Margaret Turkevich said...

looking forward to reading your book. Does your standard poodle have a role in it? I have two black standards I write about.

Jim Jackson said...

Welcome to WWK, Susan, and congratulations on your Minotaur win. I have a friend whose son works for the folks who run the Golden Gate bridge and he took a photograph of the bridge from the top of one of the towers. It’s all about perspective – and so is your choice of using your Fabian Gardens to develop a mini-village within the city.

Best of luck with your series.

~ Jim

Susan Cox said...

Kait--after I wrote The Man on the Washing Machine I got interested in soap making too. I have a corner for my molds and soap base on the kitchen counter everyone knows not to disturb!

Margaret - Picasso doesn't feature in The Man on the Washing Machine but I have another book in which he is played by a white standard poodle named "Pogo." I love standard poodles too.

Jim -- San Francisco is photogenic from any angle, eh? Thanks for your good wishes.

Sue Cox

Susan Cox said...

By the way, I'll be at Malice Domestic later this month.

Warren Bull said...

I too believe we can learn a great deal by studying classic mysteries. That definitely includes Agatha Christie.

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome to WWK, Susan. I'm glad you'll be at Malice because I'll be able to buy your book there. My youngest daughter was a travel nurse, who came to California some years ago with her first position in the LA area. She left the travel job and worked in various hospitals always moving north where it's greener and has the kind of trees she loves. So she's lived in the S.F. area for close to ten years now. Two years ago she bought a home in Benicia with a large back yard. Like me, she loves to garden. She's a nurse at CPMC in San Francisco. I fly out to visit her at least once a year, and I can see why she loves the whole area - except for the traffic. I've made numerous trips across the Golden Gate Bridge and seen much of the highlights of S.F., too.

KM Rockwood said...

Thank you for joining us today. Your book sounds fascinating (another addition to the TBR list!)

Hope to see you at Malice.

Shari Randall said...

Ah, San Francisco! I've visited twice and cannot wait to get back there. Great food scene, too.
Your book sounds delightful and, like the others, I look forward to getting a signed copy of your book at Malice. See you there!

E. B. Davis said...


Thanks so much for the interview. I enjoyed reading your book, and I look forward to your next release. Say "hi" to everyone at Malice for me. Due to moving, I will be unable to attend this year. Have fun, and please come back and visit us here at WWK!

Susan Cox said...

Warren - you are so right. Unlike some "either/or" fans, I like Dorothy Sayers, too.
Gloria - A friend of mine lived in Benecia (the first capital of California!) and she had a beautiful garden, too. The climate is perfect for growing things.
KM -- I'll look forward to it--only a week to go now.
Shari - thank you!
E.B. - safe journey and happy move. I'll come back and visit.

Allan J. Emerson said...

Susan, your title fascinates me--I'm going to have to buy a copy just to see why your book is called The Man on the Washing Machine! Best of sales to you.