Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cat-ching up with Susan Furlong/Lucy Arlington!

My guest today is author Susan Furlong, who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Arlington!

During her writing career, Susan has worked as an academic writer, freelance writer and novelist. Currently she's busy working on The Georgia Peach Mysteries. (Berkley Prime Crime/July 2015) She also writes under the pen name Lucy Arlington. To learn more about her writing, visit her website at

Welcome Susan! Tell us a little about your background:

I left the teaching profession when our first child was born and began writing to supplement my income.  I translated instructional pamphlets into Spanish, wrote destination blogs for a travel agency (not that I ever left my house), researched and helped compile medical dictionaries, worked as a ghost writer… finally, twenty years and three more kids later, I tried my hand at writing fiction—mysteries, of course. And I couldn’t be happier! I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to write the Novel Idea Mysteries.

Tell us a little about the Novel Idea series. Where did the idea come from?

The Novel Idea Mysteries were first written by two talented authors: Sylvia May and Ellery Adams. They invented the characters, the quaint town of Inspiration Valley, and the pen name Lucy Arlington. After completing the first three books in the series, their personal workloads grew and they started searching for another author to take over the series. My agent approached me about the prospect of writing the fourth and fifth books in the series. I was hesitant at first. It seemed like such a huge challenge. Once I read the books, however, I just couldn’t refuse. I loved the characters and wanted to see their stories continue.

Tell us about your latest release, PLAYED BY THE BOOK.

Here’s the back cover blurb: The owner of the Novel Idea Literary Agency is thrilled when former local boy and popular television show host Damian York returns to Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, to launch his new gardening book. But Lila is less than excited about the hubbub when she sees her mounting to-do list. Between planning York’s gala and sprucing up her yard for another event, she’s spread too thin—especially after she finds a skull buried in her flowerbeds.

As Lila’s macabre discovery leads to other secrets hidden in Inspiration Valley’s past, a member of the local garden club is found slumped over her prize roses—murdered. Now it’s up to Lila to dig through old mysteries and new clues to unearth a murderer before someone else is found pushing up daisies…

Do you have a “How I Got My Agent” story you’d like to share? 

There’s not really a story involved. I just got really, REALLY lucky. She’s fabulous.

How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I used to be a panster. Now I outline each book. Having the entire book plotted beforehand helps keep my story on track.

Which do you consider more important, plot or character? 

Both. Absolutely both.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?

My biggest challenge as a writer is making readers happy. I’m always working to come up with richer characters, surprising plots, and imaginative storylines … anything that will make people glad they chose to read one of my books.

What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans? 

Currently, I’m working on the third Georgia Peach Mystery. The first, PEACHES AND SCREAM, releases in July. I’m also working with my agent on an idea for a new series.

What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?

I work around my family’s schedule, so my routine changes daily. Usually, I work early mornings, after supper and on weekends—probably six to eight hours a day. When a deadline looms, I depend on my husband and the older kids in the family to help keep everything going while I focus on work. It’s really a team effort.

If you could take any three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?

A dictionary, a thesaurus and a really nifty book called The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. It’s a wonderful resource.

What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?

Write, write, write and then write some more! And don’t give up. Ever.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Crazy or stupid? I’ve done enough of both to last several lifetimes.

What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I’m a third degree black belt and used to be a competitive fighter.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

My website has links to all my work as well as an option to sign up for my newsletter:

What questions do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)

That’s tough. You’ve asked so many good questions, I couldn’t possibly come up with anything else. I’ve never been interviewed by a cat before, but it’s been a pleasure to be interviewed by you, Rocco. Thank you so much for having me on your blog.

Just for Fun

Night or Day? Day

Dog or Cat?  Dog (sorry, Rocco)

Beach or Pool? Beach

Steak or salad? Steak

Favorite Drink? Iced-tea

Favorite Book? The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Favorite TV Series? Columbo

Favorite Movie?  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Favorite Actor:  Tom Hanks

Favorite Actress:  Angela Lansbury

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?  Neither – A Margarita, please!

Hawaii or Alaska? I’d love to see Alaska.

Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be:  My grandfather. He died right after I was born and I’ve always wished I’d known him.

If I had just one wish, it would be:  That someone would find a cure for cancer.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be:  Hmmm? I’d pass on that option. I really like being Mom to our kids and having an opportunity to write mysteries. Not that it’s always bright and rosy—actually, it’s mostly chaotic and stressful—but I’m happy.

Where can readers find out more about you?

Twitter: @foulplayauthor

Instagram: SusanFurlong on Instagram

Thanks for a great interview Susan! 

The folks at Berkley Prime Crime have donated a copy of PLAYED BY THE BOOK to give to one lucky commenter!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/

* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Contest ends  midnight, April 2! Good luck!


  1. I love this series. I friend you on fb, I shared the link on fb, and I follow you on twitter

  2. Sounds like a fun read. It would be a new series for me.

  3. I love reading this series. Inspiration Valley is one place that I would love to visit and meet all of the characters.

  4. Thanks for the chance to win! Friended on Facebook! sara k grotz at gmail dot com

  5. I have already read Played By The Book, and LOVED it, so I won't enter the giveaway. Susan Furlong is a marvelous mystery writer-- I am looking forward to reading all of her future books!

  6. What a marvelous challenge, to pick up an existing series and carry it on.
    I've linked this to FB
    We are FB friends
    I follow the blog regularly
    I don't tweet

  7. Susan, I love the orange tabby in your arms and am looking forward to reading your books. Thanks for the offer of a chance to win one. Robin Coxon,

  8. Looking forward to reading this one. I follow the blog via email and we're FB friends. I don't tweet.
    Dotty Kelley

  9. I enjoyed reading the interview, Susan, and am glad I got a chance to meet you. Thank you for the chance to win Played By The book. I look forward to reading it, as well as your other books. (1) I follow Rocco's blog (2) I will follow you on Twitter (3) I'm your friend on Facebook (4) I shared the giveaway on my timeline. Ruth Lyons Mazur

  10. Sounds like a fun series to me.

  11. I love the cover---and I really enjoy cozies --- so I'd sure like to win this book.
    I am an email subscriber, I follow on twitter, and on facebook.

  12. that was a fun interview!

  13. What a beautiful cat( not as beautiful as you Rocco)!!!! I love Lucy's books and Angela Lansbury. Recently found Murder She Wrote on Cozy TV.

  14. Gee,once again I find my post missing!
    I said that Susan seems nice even though she picked 'dog' least she showed up with a picture with a cat, huh, Rocco?
    I wish her all the best for the future!
    I tweeted,
    I follow on Twitter
    I shared on FB
    I am a Friend on FB
    I follow the blog

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.