Q&A with Susan Furlong aka Lucy Arlington! - Dark Streets
Susan Furlong , writing under the name of Lucy Arlington, pens the Novel Idea Mysteries! Let’s get to know her a little better!
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 the first book you wrote for the series, A Novel Idea Mystery Series.
Here’s the back cover blurb for "Buried in a Book": After losing her job as a journalist at the age of forty-five, Lila Wilkins accepts an internship at A Novel Idea, a thriving literary agency in North Carolina. Being paid to read seems perfect to Lila, although it's difficult with the cast of quirky co-workers and piles of query letters. But when a penniless aspiring author drops dead in the agency's waiting room-and Lila discovers a series of threatening letters-she's determined to find out who wrote him off.
The latest book is: "Off the Books" / Book 5
Literary agent and amateur sleuth Lila Wilkins is back to seal the deal in the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mystery series.
Lila is showcasing some of her biggest authors at a bridal expo. But when the joyous event turns deadly, she’ll have to figure out who penned the perfect crime...
The Novel Idea Literary Agency has planned a wedding-themed week for Inspiration Valley, celebrating not only North Carolina’s best vendors but also some of the agency’s most popular bridal books. The fact that Lila can use the event to plan her own impending nuptials is just the icing on the cake.
But wedding bells turn to warning bells when Lila finds a dead man facedown in the frosting. Soon it’s discovered that the victim was connected to several Novel Idea authors, all of whom quickly become suspects in the case. It’s up to Lila and her fellow agents to find the real killer before one of their clients winds up scribbling stories from behind bars...
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 advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Write, write, write and then write some more! And don’t give up. Ever.
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: www.susanfurlong.com
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio is the national bestselling author of the Nick and Nora Mystery series. She has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade. When she isn’t reporting or writing novels, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read. Visit her at www.tclotempio.com or at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com