The Dead Game is a murder mystery, a supernatural thriller, and a romance all in one. It takes place in a remote town called Oasis. Beneath the blue, green waters and peaceful setting, lies an evil waiting for its next victim. Bodies turn up on the shore. Shadows roam the streets at night. Tourists disappear, never to be seen again. The young residents are invited to a party at End House. And that’s when the games begin. Pursued through revolving rooms and deadly traps, they barely escape with their lives. Two of their own aren’t so lucky but remain trapped inside. Or so they believe. They must embark on a long and treacherous journey, not knowing whom to trust, to uncover the one controlling the game and everyone else in town.
Today I’m catching up with Susanne Leist, author of the novel ‘The Dead Game’. Susanne, thanks for allocating some time from your busy schedule to spend with me today. Firstly I’d like to kick of today’s interview by delving into what triggered you to start writing this book?
In recent years, I’ve begun to read books that cross the genres of paranormal, suspense, mystery and romance. These books bring fantasy and the surreal to the simple murder mystery. Since it’s hard to find this type of book, I decided to write one of my own. It is the type of book that I search for and love to read.
As this was the case was it a conscious choice for you to include the major thematic elements of these genres into your writing?
My book has mystery and romance; the two themes that drive the plot. I was careful to include clues that follow through to the conclusion.
Did elements of your own life form some of the journey to the conclusion?
The main character, Linda, seems to have certain elements of my personality. I did not plan it that way but she became me.
Are the other characters also formed from elements of your personality or do they arise in other ways?
I have an active imagination. I close my eyes and the characters appear like magic.
Do you ever dream about your characters?
I dream about everything and everyone. I even dream about TV shows. I’m never short of ideas when I’m writing.
Do you have a favourite characters appearances?
I like my hot vampires. I like them aloof and strong. Vulnerable but indestructible.
Not a bad combination. Have any of your characters developed over the course of the novel that you really appreciate?
In my first book, the antagonist, Todd, is unapproachable for Linda. But in the second book, which I’m now writing, his true character appears. And I like him better.
And so you’re currently working on the sequel?
Yes, Book 2 of The Dead Game series.
Going back to your first book, how did you find the progression of writing that book?
Since I’d never written before, I had to first learn how to write a book. I analyzed the books I enjoyed reading for techniques and dialogue. I read books on editing and writing. I wrote, edited, wrote and so on. Seven years later I had my book written.
Did you use any writing techniques to keep yourself going over the seven years?
I write each day on my blogs. I experiment with different formats. I have found poetry to be the best practice for me to keep my ideas fresh. When I sit down to write my book, I lose track of time and can sit for hours writing. I can do this for days at a time. Then I step away from my book for a little while, so that I can return to it with fresh eyes.
Are you continuously editing as you write?
I edit after each chapter. I go back to the beginning and edit again. I do this all the way through to the end.
And how did the cover come into existence?
I came up with the idea and my self-publisher gave me some choices to choose from. We worked together on the lettering and colors.
Do you have any tips for other authors after working with your self-publisher and getting your book published?
After my book was published, it appeared on Amazon and Barnes & Noble without a description or any background. Little did I know but my book should had been promoted before it was released. I needed a bio. I quickly opened Facebook, Twitter, Google, and WordPress accounts. I promoted, made banners, and joined Goodreads. An author who decides to self-publish should make sure that promotions and sites are in place before the book appears on the market.
And once you had those accounts setup did you start receiving reviews?
My early reviews were from fellow authors on Goodreads. Some liked my book and some did not. I remember receiving my first poor review. It felt like someone was attacking one of my children. I had no idea the my ego was so closely tied to my book.
And was the writing experience rewarding for you?
Writing has given me the opportunity to explore my creative side. After years of financial budgeting and analysis, it is freeing to be able to write about my passions.
Does your current work in finance assist you when you write?
I’m not presently employed but I have an MBA in finance. I believe my analytical background has served me well. I can’t even read a book anymore without analyzing its characters, language, and plot.
Do you take plot tips from your favourite authors?
Agatha Christie has always been my favorite author. My love of mystery stems from her books. I believe all books should have some mystery to it, something to drive readers to keep reading.
Did you read mystery books when you were young?
I don’t remember books from my childhood. I do remember reading And Then There Were None when I was ten years old.
Did you have the love of reading even though you’ve forgotten what you’ve read?
I have always love to read. I’ve been reading a book a week since I was ten years old. I can’t envision a world without books. I still buy hardcover copies. I’m afraid that paperbacks won’t be around in the near future.
And now we’re onto my personal favourite section of the author interviews, the quick fire round. Hinder your hesitation and answer these questions as quickly as possible:
What is your zodiac sign?
What is your favourite line, quote or statement from your book?
Let the games begin.
What is your favourite quote?
If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all. Thumper said it all.
Rabbits do have good advice. If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
A cat and a dog.
Is there a book that you wish that you would have written?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
Treat others like you want them to treat you.
If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
I do like that one. What are you currently reading?
Seance by Heather Graham.
Who is your favourite literary character?
I will continue with my Agatha Christie theme. I love Hercule Poirot.
What is your best tip for authors?
Write to please yourself and not anyone else.
Susanne, that’s a great tip to leave the interview on. Thanks again for setting time aside to speak with me and I wish the best of luck with your promotion and upcoming new novel.
Want to connect with Susanne? You can find her here: