I'm Bloggin' Today: A Sit-Down With Susan Clayton-Goldner
Hi, Susan thank you so much for joining me today to sit down and chat about your new book. Could you tell us a little about yourself
I was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. I have been writing poems and short stories since I could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that I became a creative writing major in college.
Prior to an early retirement which enabled me to write full time, I worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there I met my husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona's Medical School. About five years after our marriage, we left Tucson to pursue our dreams in 1991--purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. We spent a decade there. Andy rode, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while I got serious about my writing career.
Through the writing process, I have learned that I must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in my work.
After spending 3 years in Nashville, Andy and I now share a quiet life in Grants Pass, Oregon, with my growing list of fictional characters, and more books than one person could count.
When I’m not writing, or reading, I like to make quilts and stained glass windows. Both activities are a little like writing. I’m telling a story, but using fabric and glass instead of words.
What is your new book called and when is it going to be released?
My new release is entitled, Tormented, and it officially releases on May 2nd. It is currently available for presale.
I know you have a popular three-part mystery series with Detective Winston Radhauser and a family drama called A Bend in the Willow, what kind of book is your new release?
Tormented is a cross genre book. It’s a little bit thriller, a little bit mystery, and a good chunk of family drama.
Could you tell us more about the plot?
I can give you my official description. Father's Anthony's devotion to God and His Church begins to unravel the moment Rita Wittier steps inside St. Catherine’s Cathedral in San Francisco. He struggles to control his feelings, but two years later, he is a man obsessed.
In an attempt to rediscover the priest he intended to become, Anthony flies back to Delaware to visit Father Timothy. If redemption can be found anywhere, surely it can be found in the church of his childhood and in the soothing Irish brogue of his old priest.
The months pass, 60 Minutes does a special on Father Anthony and the Shepherd Academy—a school he started for disadvantaged children. He’s become a national hero—nick-named the Good Shepherd. But he can’t get Rita out of his mind. He wants her more than anything—even God—and can no longer deny it. Six hours after he tells her how he feels, Rita is found dead in her car from an apparent suicide. Or is it murder?
Will this be a stand-alone novel or is there aspirations in making this part of a series?
This one, like A Bend In The Willow, is a stand-alone.
What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?
I would say to To Kill A Mockingbird had a profound influence on me because of Atticus Finch and the pureness of his vision—his knowledge he was doing the right thing—his willingness to fight for his client, even though he knew he couldn’t win. Atticus was a great character—obsessed with justice. I’ve learned over the years that obsessed characters are usually the most interesting.
I love that book too! I am ashamed to admit, I haven't read it since high school. How did you start your writing career?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. Let’s face it, writing is isolating and doesn’t pay very well. I’m not sure many people would choose to write if they could avoid it or were of sane mind. When I was a little girl, my father won a Smith Corona portable typewriter in a poker game. He gave it me. It came with 45 rpm records guaranteed to have you typing. It was the beginning of my life as a writer. I taught myself how to type with the help of those records and started writing poems and stories. I went back to college after my children started school and got a degree in Creative Writing. I started submitting poems and short stories to magazines and I suppose that is when my “career” actually began.
The subject of Tormented is pretty intense, what kind of research did you do in preparation for writing Tormented?
I had to research being a Catholic—since I was reared Methodist. And also had to do a fair amount of research and reading about Multiple Personality Disorder as it was called in 1971 when the book takes place. It is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder.
That must have been really interesting research! My blog is for readers as well as writers, could you tell us a little about you're writing style?
I think my style is pretty straight forward, but I do admit to loving metaphor and simile. I was trained as a poet and it’s pretty hard for me to avoid having some poetry in my prose.
Do you have a daily writing habit or do you save it for when the work is talking to you?
Now that Tirgearr Publishing has given my book a home, I’m writing at least two and sometimes three books a year. That means I write daily—unless we’re on holiday or have company. I love writing and so it doesn’t feel like work.
That is amazing, I am struggling to be diligent and forming a daily writing habit, but I will get there soon! What is the best advice you have ever received as a writer?
To be tenacious and never give up on your dream.
Good advice! My absolute favorite quote is by Wayne Gretzky, he says "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." What is your favorite kind of book to read?
I like to read thrillers, mysteries, courtroom dramas and family dramas.
I like mysteries especially when they have a romantic element in them. Thank you so much for joining me today Susan and opening up about yourself and telling us all about your new novel. Good luck with your release and happy writing!
Don't forget to show Susan some support, stop by her website or like her Facebook Page! Don't forget to pick up a copy of Tormented May 2nd!
Tirgearr Publishing: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/ClaytonGoldner_Susan/tormented.htm