Susan M. Boyer is releasing the sixth book in her Liz Talbot Mystery series, LOWCOUNTRY BONFIRE, on June 27th.
In LOWCOUNTRY BONFIRE, Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. So when Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is hiding, they expect to find something looney but harmless. After all, this is the guy who claims to have been a DEA agent, a champion bull rider, and a NASCAR driver...
But when Zeke turns up dead the morning after Liz and Nate deliver the incriminating photos, Tammy is the prime suspect. Questioning the truth of Zeke Lyerly’s tall-tales, Liz and Nate race to uncover small town scandals, long buried secrets, and the victim’s tumultuous past to keep Tammy Sue out of jail and the case from going up in flames.
Q & A with Susan Boyer!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Oh, my. Well, my husband and I have four grown children—two boys and two girls. We’re empty nesters and enjoy having family and friends over for cookouts and potlucks. We have a karaoke system in the basement, which was a spontaneous buy a few years ago around Christmas. We had no idea how popular that toy would be. More than once our last guests have left around three in the morning. My husband and I also like to travel, and almost always end up on a beach.
Where are you from?
Originally, I’m from Faith, North Carolina, a small town about forty-five minutes north of Charlotte. I’ve lived in South Carolina for (mumble mumble years) a long time.
Why did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve loved reading mysteries my whole life, and have always wanted to write. When contemplating careers and college majors, I couldn’t see a clear path to a steady paycheck writing novels. I didn’t want to major in journalism—I’ve just never had an interest in reporting. So, like many, I chose something more “sensible.” Fast forward to 2003 when the company I worked for went out of business. My husband, who well knew my dreams, said “Why don’t you give the writing thing a try?” I pulled the beginnings of a novel out of a drawer and never looked back.
What inspired you to write the Liz Talbot series?
I loved to read mysteries, so naturally that’s what I wanted to write. I grew up alternately wanting to be Nancy Drew or write about a grown up version of Nancy Drew—a private investigator with a license, a gun, and a great boyfriend. In some ways, Liz Talbot has been forming in my head since I was a child. I had a vision of her, and she just looked like a Liz. The family surnames I chose from the Charleston area phone book and a few family trees. All of the characters first names were driven by the character who was coming together in my head at the time, and in some cases his or her parents. For instance, Moon Unit and Elvis Glendawn were named as a tribute to their parents’ favorite music artists.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
Read everything you can. Read in your genre and others. I think reading taught me most of what I know about writing, and it’s an ongoing process.
Do you share any traits with your protagonist? Which traits?
Yes, several. Liz gets her worldview from me. We’re both Southern, both small town girls. We both love the beach, Southern cooking, and puzzles. Family is important to us both. That said, Liz is younger, thinner, and braver than I. She also thinks of the things she wants to say at the right time, not hours later like I do.
What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?
Sue Grafton and Charlaine Harris.
Favorite Southern author/book?
I’m so bad at choosing. I love Pat Conroy, naturally, and his wonderful wife, Cassandra King. I’m a huge Joshilyn Jackson fan. And Mary Alice Monroe, of course. Charlaine Harris. Mark Childress—hilarious! John Grisham. I love Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, and I’m a William Faulkner fan.
Lowcountry Bonfire Description:
Private Investigators Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews have worked their share of domestic cases. So when Tammy Sue Lyerly hires them to find out what her husband is hiding, they expect to find something looney but harmless. After all, this is the guy who claims to have been a DEA agent, a champion bull rider, and a NASCAR driver. But when he turns up dead the morning after Liz and Nate deliver incriminating photos, Tammy Sue becomes the prime suspect. Questioning the truth of Zeke Lyerly’s tall-tales, Liz and Nate race to uncover small town scandals, long buried secrets, and the victim’s tumultuous past to keep Tammy Sue out of jail and the case from going up in flames.
Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA Today bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations, including the Macavity. The third in the series, Lowcountry Boneyard, was a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Okra Pick, a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist, and short-listed for the Pat Conroy Beach Music Mystery Prize. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels. She lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.