April McGowan

Getting To Know You–Susie Finkbeiner

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to my friend and fellow WhiteFire Publishing author, Susie Finkbeiner. Susie’s second novel, My Mother’s Chamomile, just released to rave reviews. I’ve recently started reading it–and it’s riveting. You’re going to want to read it, too. Be sure to leave a comment or question for Susie–and we’ll be doing a book drawing for a copy of the ebook version of My Mother’s Chamomile a week from today–YOU COULD WIN IT!

susie head shotWelcome Susie! Would you share what inspired you to start writing?  My grandma gave me this little journal when I was in third grade. It was powder blue with little teddy bears all over it. I still have it somewhere. If I think back, that was the beginning of my writing. I wrote stories about my friends. Drew pictures of us sipping tea. Made up stories about horses that could talk. Really, it was a way for me to escape a little. I loved it. I’ve been making up stories ever since. Recently, though, I haven’t written any talking horses into my stories.

How long did it take you before you were first published? Oh, goodness. Years. Years and years. I was twenty-eight when a play I’d written was published. When I started work on my first novel, what would become Paint Chips, I had no idea that I’d ever submit it. From the first word typed to the day Paint Chips released, it was just about three years. Maybe even more.

Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both?  I typically stick with fiction. It feels much more natural for me. Quite honestly, it’s safe. For most of my life, fiction has been my defense mechanism. It’s worked for me pretty well thus far.

Where do you get your ideas?  Everywhere. I see someone quirky at the grocery store and follow them around, listening to the way they speak, studying the way they walk. Don’t worry, I’m smooth about it. Usually, at least. I watch documentaries. Those are absolutely bursting with possibilities. Oh! And church! Church is a fabulous place for inspiration to hit me.

How much research, if any, do you do when writing a book?  It really depends on the book and subject matter. For My Mother’s Chamomile, I had to contact funeral directors for interviews and a tour of the funeral home. I read books and watched, probably ten to fifteen documentaries. I interviewed family and friends about their experiences. I committed hours upon hours to learning as much as I could about the funeral business and end of life matters. I’m so glad I took the time.

Do you use an outline, or do you prefer to write by the seat of your pants?  The more I write, the more I value my notes. I wouldn’t consider myself an outliner. I’m far too disorganized and rebellious for that. I do, however, have a list of things that will happen in the story. After the first draft, I take scissors and tape and turn the thing into a patchwork quilt. It’s messy and emotional, but it works for me.

Where do you write?  Wherever I can find a place to set my laptop. In my house, I sit at my desk in the kitchen. Afternoons when my boys are in school, I go to a coffee shop. Really, though, I can get the work done anywhere.

What are your hobbies/interests (other than writing)?  I love music. I’m not necessarily the best at piano or guitar, but I sure love playing and singing. It’s relaxing. It gets creative juices flowing. I’m also an avid reader. It’s one addiction I’m not likely to fight off.

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert, and how do you think that effects your writing?  You know, I think I’m a little of both. Strange, right? I love getting to know people and I really enjoy being in front of an audience. However, I truly cherish my quiet time. I can be with people to a certain extent, but then I really need to be alone to recharge. I think it does effect my writing in that I can handle the quiet, focused time it takes to put together stories. My outgoing side makes it easy for me to connect with others who can help me research. I guess sometimes it really is good to be a little in the middle.

Tell us a bit about your latest book. What was your inspiration?  My Mother’s Chamomile is a novel about a family of funeral directors. They have poured out comfort and mercy on just about every one in their small town. But My Mother's Chamomile Frontwhen tragedy strikes their family, they need to accept mercy from others. The inspiration for this book came from my experience with my husband’s grandma, being with her when she died. Seeing the wonderful Hospice nurses and kind funeral directors inspired me. I wanted to write their story because, really, it’s everyone’s story.

What project can we look forward to seeing next?  I’m actually pretty secretive about current projects. I like to keep them undercover until I know for sure where they’re going. I will tell you this, it’s very different from my other two novels. I really love it so far!

Is there a subject you’ve longed to write about, but haven’t had the chance?  I have this novel that I started several years ago, after the earthquake in Haiti. It’s the story of different people who survived and what brought them all together. I’ve got a good portion of it finished, but I’m not a good enough writer to finish it yet. I need to learn more about the craft to really give it its due.

Where can your readers go to connect with you online?  My web page at www.susiefinkbeiner.com my blog at  www.susiefinkbeiner.wordpress.com, I’m on Twitter @SusieFinkbeiner and Facebook  Susie M. Finkbeiner ~ Novelist

Where can readers go to find your latest release? They can hop on over to Amazon http://www.amazon.com/My-Mothers-Chamomile-Susie-Finkbeiner-ebook/dp/B00IC8E530/ref=zg_bsnr_7588886011_1

Thanks so much for spending time with us here today! And readers, don’t forget to ask Susie a question or leave a comment below to enter the drawing! You could win a ebook copy of Susie’s latest book!

 

20 Comments

  1. Susie Finkbeiner
    Feb 21, 2014

    Thank you so much, Sweet April!

  2. goldenkeyesparsons
    Feb 21, 2014

    Great interview! Have just started Paint Chips and was drawn into Cora’s world immediately. Beautiful, descriptive writing. Looking forward to My Mother’s Chamomile as well.

    • April
      Feb 21, 2014

      I loved Paint Chips! I’m mid-way through My Mother’s Chamomile. Such rich writing! Thanks for commenting!

    • Susie Finkbeiner
      Feb 21, 2014

      Thank you, Golden. What a sweet compliment. And, April, you too. You ladies have me blushing over here.

  3. Suzie Johnson
    Feb 21, 2014

    Great interview! Susie, somewhere on my blog, and on Inkwell Inspirations, there is an interview I did with a friend of mine who goes to Haiti, still, to help the people who are still suffering. If you ever want me to connect you with her, let me know. She’s darling, and would be a great resource if you need one. I know you’ll do that story justice and I’m already looking forward to reading it someday.

    • Susie Finkbeiner
      Feb 21, 2014

      Thank you, Suzie! I’ll make a note of that! I’m also hoping to go there. A good friend of mine is a missionary in the Dominican Republic and travels to Haiti regularly. It would take a lot of planning to go…but it would be worth it for sure!

  4. Katherine Pasour
    Feb 21, 2014

    This is a great interview, April, and I look forward to reading My Mother’s Chamomile (would love to win it!) Best wishes with your writing, Susie and for a blessed day to you both! Katherine

    • Susie Finkbeiner
      Feb 21, 2014

      Thank you so much, Katherine! I hope you have a lovely day.

    • April
      Feb 21, 2014

      Thanks for stopping by! I hope you win! (although, I hope everyone wins…lol). It’s a great book!

    • April
      Mar 1, 2014

      I just drew your name, Katherine! You DID win. I’ve emailed you and sent your contact info to Susie. Thanks so much for commenting. I hope you love My Mother’s Chamomile as much as I did!

  5. Gail Kittleson
    Feb 21, 2014

    Enjoyed your comment about fiction being your defense mechanism, Susie, and the image of you in elementary school w/that journal.
    Powerful stuff! Thanks. Gail Kittleson

  6. Judy VanderArk
    Feb 24, 2014

    I’ve started reading My Mother’s Chamomile and I’m loving it!

  7. myrnafolkert
    Feb 24, 2014

    Susie, Paint Chips was wonderful and I have been dying to read My Mother’s Chamomile! I have a friend who has a very compelling story about Haiti which might help you! Ask me about it tomorrow night at your book signing! Your comments about families with pain remind me of my own childhood and how friends came around me. Thank you to April for sharing her blog today!
    Myrna

    • Susie Finkbeiner
      Feb 24, 2014

      Hi, Myrna! I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. If we don’t get a chance to chat about it at the book signing, we’ll catch up another time.

      Thank you so much for stopping over. 🙂

    • April
      Feb 24, 2014

      Thanks for stopping my Myrna! I’m halfway through My Mother’s Chamomile, and it’s terrific.

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