I'm pleased to welcome Susan Froetschel to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Susan, please tell us a little about yourself.
Susan: I grew up in Pittsburgh and after living in many states, from Alaska to New York, I relish living and working in East Lansing. I am managing editor for an online magazine – YaleGlobal Online – which explores globalization defined as the interconnectedness of our world. These connections turn up in politics, economic, trade and security alliances, labor, health care, environment and many other ways – and what better job could there be than exploring the world and such connections through reading and writing? Chance encounters can leave lasting effects, and with instant global communications, a few ideas resonate and travel far. Such connections and encounters have found their way into my stories.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your books.
Susan: All my writing focuses on characters, ordinary people, both parents and their children, who question troublesome policies that others in their communities take for granted. As an editor and former newspaper reporter, I enjoy analyzing how public polices influence families and small communities – and analyzing these through fiction.
I have written five mystery novels and descriptions of where I live at the time slip into these books, though that may seem odd since my two most recent books – Fear of Beauty and Allure of Deceit – are set in a remote farming village in Afghanistan. Fear of Beauty is about a woman who is desperate to learn how to read so she can figure out the reasons behind the death of her oldest son. Allure of Deceit is about how charity can have a hidden agenda – and a foundation director who uses the program to investigate the death of her son. Royal Escape – set in London – is about a princess who resists the monarchy’s controls and discovers that security is more trap than protection. My first two novels were set in Sitka, Alaska, and the first was Alaska Gray, about art forgeries and a scholarship fraud. The second, Interruptions, is about a mother and son who work at cross purposes to fight a cross-island road with exorbitant costs in terms of money and the environment.
An excerpt of Fear of Beauty is available at Criminal Element.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Susan: I have started a third book set in Afghanistan, but may take a detour into a story about a family with many secrets and resentments – possibly set in Michigan or Pennsylvania.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Susan: Nothing on the schedule at this moment, but I always enjoy to speaking about writing and publishing, the celebrity culture, and many topics related to globalization for libraries, book groups, senior centers, clubs or classrooms for students of all ages. I have given many programs in Maine, Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, Georgia as well as Michigan.
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?
Susan: I love and appreciate every bookstore that stocks my books for their readers and that includes Horizon in Traverse City, McLean and Eakin in Petoskey, Blue Phoenix and Olivet in Alpena, and Schuler Books in Okemos! Naming a favorite library is again too difficult. I always enjoy my hometown library – the East Lansing Public Library. But I also enjoy exploring the extensive collections at college libraries like Michigan State University and Yale.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Susan: The lakeside communities are stunningly beautiful, friendly and peaceful – Alpena, Saugatuck, Cheboygan – with the Great Lakes, again it’s very hard to decide!
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Susan: My favorite event is the Alpena Book Festival held each September. The entire downtown rallies to support of Michigan authors and organize a wide range of programs for readers and aspiring authors alike. The town is ideal for a book festival with the library, two bookstores, an art store, bakery, and wine-tasting room all in close proximity.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Susan: Peg Herring is a talented and thoughtful mystery writer who juggles three series (The Loser Series, The Dead Detective Series and the Simon and Elizabeth Tudor Series) along with many other projects. She is fantastic at organizing, motivating and mentoring writers of all levels. She is adventurous and never shoots down new ideas. Connie Doherty, who just released her first mystery book, has a great voice and imagination.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Susan: The people are open, friendly and the best at making their communities welcoming places.
Debbie: Last question. Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?
Susan: Count me in with the ganders.
Debbie: Susan, we'll add you to the Michigander column. Thank you for joining us today for Michigander Monday!
To learn more about Susan and her books, visit her web site (which includes her blog), Facebook page, Twitter account, and Yale Global.