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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spotlight on Susan Sleeman and High Stakes Inheritance, Nipped in the Bud

Don't forget the rules of the spotlights here. Answer the random question associated with this spotlight in the comments in order to be entered in the drawing.


SUSAN SLEEMAN Susan grew up in a small Wisconsin town where she spent her summers reading Nancy Drew and developing a love of mystery and suspense books. Today, she channels this enthusiasm into hosting the popular internet website and writing romantic suspense and mystery novels.

Much to her husband’s chagrin, Susan loves to look at everyday situations and turn them into murder and mayhem scenarios for future novels. If you’ve met Susan, she has probably figured out a plausible way to kill you and get away with it. Don’t worry, she’d never follow through on it.

Her GARDEN GATE MYSTERY series featuring landscape designer Paige Turner, debuts with NIPPED IN THE BUD in Barbour Books Hometown Mysteries line. An avid gardener, Susan has included gardening tips at the beginning of each chapter brought to you in humorous scenarios.

Her first romantic suspense novel, featuring a trio of brothers who must find Courage to Trust, debuts with Ryan’s story in HIGH-STAKES INHERITANCE this fall. These stories will be told as part of Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Suspense line with the second brother’s story coming in June of 2011 in BEHIND THE BADGE.

Susan currently lives in Florida, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson. In her spare time, you can find her traveling to Oregon to visit her children and grandson, reading, gardening or working on To learn more about Susan, please visit her website, or follow on Twitter and Facebook. - Personal website - Book review website - Hometown Mystery Website - Twitter - Facebook - Love Inspired Author

by Susan Sleeman
Published by Steeple Hill/Love Inspired

NIPPED IN THE BUD (Hometown Mysteries)
by Susan Sleeman
Published by Barbour's Hometown Mysteries


High Stakes Inheritance

"Leave Logan Lake now or you will pay!"

Despite the threatening warning, Mia Blackburn won't let anyone scare her from the rustic resort she inherits from her beloved uncle. But when a fire traps her in a burning barn, she fears that she won't get out alive. Just in time her ex-boyfriend volunteer firefighter Ryan Morgan rescues her from the deadly blaze. He had once broken her heart, yet she still has feelings for him. With Ryan insisting on keeping a close eye on her, Mia feels safer-and closer to Ryan than ever before. Yet the threats haven't stopped, and soon Mia's high-stakes inheritance includes a murder and Mia could be the next victim.

Nipped in the Bud

Paige Turner has secured her first landscaping contract, sprucing up the city park for the upcoming Pickle Fest. But after a confrontation with the city manager, she finds him dead in a mound of mulch. With no alibi for the time of death and, according to the police chief, with plenty of motive to carry out the murder, Paige must dig her way out of the mess by finding the real killer. Attorney Adam Hayes aids in her search as he works hard to keep her out jail-and his heart.

Readers, buy your copy of High-Stakes Inheritanceand today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for these stories?

The inspiration for Nipped in the Bud came from my love of gardening. I wanted to find a way to share practical gardening advice through a fictional story and of course for me, no story is complete without a mystery to solve. So I created Paige Turner, a landscape designer and radio show host who is accused of murder and Nipped in the Bud was birthed.

High-Stakes Inheritance came from watching a television reality television show called Brat Camp where troubled teens went into the wilderness to overcome obstacles in their lives. The show only stayed on one season, but as someone who holds a degree in psychology, I found the program and student counselor interactions fascinating. So I researched wilderness-counseling programs and the framework for High-Stakes Inheritance’s wilderness counseling theme came from there.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Both Nipped in the Bud and High-Stakes Inheritance are set in small towns and having grown up in a small town, I imagine many of my characters actions were influenced by the experience of living in a small town. But of the two books, Paige Turner in Nipped in the Bud benefitted most from my own experiences. I love to garden and can be a bit obsessed by having the perfect garden. So Paige gets that tendency from me. But her main character trait—assigning plant names to the people she meets and treating them accordingly—is a trait all of her own. I have never once thought of someone as a prickly old globe thistle and kept my distance because I was afraid of being pricked by their barbs. Honest, I haven’t.

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Believe it or not, I don’t really like ice cream so I am not familiar with a wide variety of flavors, but here goes.

Paige Turner in Nipped in the Bud would be Ben and Jerry’s flavor called Half Baked, because many of Paige’s thoughts about how people resemble plants are half-baked.

Mia Blackburn in High-Stakes Inheritance would be vanilla soft serve with a hard chocolate shell. With all the rejection and loss she had early on in life, she can act tough and that can come across as hard on the outside. She’s a real softie on the inside, though, and now that God is back in her life, the hard outer coating is melting.

4. Are there any themes in High Stakes Inheritance and Nipped in the Bud that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

Trusting in God is the main theme in both books. The main characters deal with not trusting God and think they can control their own destiny. I hope after reading these books, the reader will know that you can never go wrong by trusting in God and he has a far richer and more rewarding life planned for us than we could ever dream on our own.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The most difficult part of High-Stakes Inheritance was rewriting the book from a longer format written in first person to a shorter format in third person with another person’s point of view. I did this to meet Love Inspired’s guidelines. Nipped in the Bud was a pure labor of love. Nothing seemed difficult but flowed freely and I wrote it very quickly.

My favorite part of High-Stakes Inheritance was brought about by revising the manuscript and adding the male lead’s point of view. It was so fun to hear what Ryan had to say after working so long with the manuscript in only the female’s point of view. The part of Nipped in the Bud I liked the most was writing the introduction to the chapters. Each chapter starts with gardening hints brought to the reader in humorous snippets from previous airings of Paige’s radio show. In these situations, the caller to the radio show has misunderstood Paige’s advice and find themselves in a mess. I hope that reader’s who are avid gardeners will find the snippets funny and those who want to garden will learn something about the subject in a fun way.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book is Behind the Badge published by Love Inspired Suspense and is the sequel to High-Stakes Inheritance. Behind the Badge features police chief Russ Morgan and sheriff’s deputy Sydney Tucker who were both introduced in High-Stakes Inheritance. In Behind the Badge, a killer is certain Sydney possesses something he desperately needs to recover and he will stop at nothing to get it back. Even if that means he has to hurt the people she loves. Russ makes it his mission to not only hunt down the killer, but make sure Sydney and her family stay out of harm’s way.

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Thank you, Susan, for being in the spotlight with us.

ENTRY RULES Readers, answer the question associated with the spotlight in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of your choice High Stakes Inheritance or Nipped in the Bud. There will be TWO winners this week, but if you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Question: Both Nipped in the Bud and High-Stakes Inheritance are set in Oregon, one of my favorite states. Have you ever been to Oregon and if so what is your favorite city, town, burg, etc? If not, why might you want to visit Oregon?

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Deborah said...

I haven't been to Oregon bc I never have any reason to go to the West Coast...BUT I might make an exception because POWELL'S BOOKS is in Oregon and I would LOVE to go there!

Susan Sleeman said...

Great reason to visit, Deborah. I love Powell's Books. They have stores all over and each one is unique.

Anonymous said...

no, i have never visited oregon (yet!)...thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jo said...

I have only been to Oregon once for a weekend to go to a convention. Really didn't get to see much as we were in Portland at the airport and the convention center.


misskallie2000 said...

I have never visited the North West and would love to take a trip there. I have seen many beautiful pics of Oregon forests and mountins and the beautiful lakes. I am retired now but I still dream of taking a cross country trip and visiting this beautiful State. I love snow, as long as I don't have to drive in Beautiful country abounds. Thanks for this opportunity to enter to win Susan's book.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Susan Sleeman said...

Jo you must go back sometime when you can see more of Portland. It's a great city. And Miss Kallie, do take that trip and especially drive along the coast. Breathtaking.

Marie said...

I was raised in Oregon and my favorite city is Lincoln City on the coast :)

Susan Sleeman said...

Marie, I've visited Lincoln City a few times. Nothing like the Oregon Coast.

Susan Sleeman said...

Okay, Marie, I commented before my first cup of coffee and my comment sounds odd. I meant, there's nothing more beautiful than the Oregon coast.

Deborah said...

ahhh if it's not too late going back to add in my email address beatccr [at] hotmail [dot] com