Today I am very happy to welcome Susan McBride to the blog in the latest of my “Getting to Know You” features.
Susan is the author of Walk into Silence – more details on the book and my review to follow.
Tell us a little about your current novel, what readers can expect from it.
Walk Into Silence is kind of a darker mystery for me. My detective-protagonist, Jo Larsen, had a crappy childhood, though it’s what propelled her into law enforcement. She really wants to make a difference and help those who can’t help themselves. She’s tough on the outside and seems to have it all together. But, on the inside, she’s very much a work-in-progress. When a concerned husband shows up at the Plainfield, Texas, PD to report his wife missing, Jo isn’t really sure if the woman is in danger or if she left of her own accord. Jenny Dielman was also a woman with a lot on her plate. She was on her second marriage after her first dissolved following the tragic death of her only child. As Jo begins to hunt for clues regarding Jenny’s disappearance, she unravels truths about Jenny—and the people around her—that shake up the case and her own life along with it.
Where did you grow up and what was family life like?
I grew up all over. My dad worked for IBM, which we called “I’ve Been Moved.” Every two or three years, he would pick us up and shift our lives somewhere else. So I was born in Kansas City then lived in Indianapolis, Chicago, Kansas City (again), Greenwich, Houston, and Dallas. Even though moving was hard and I hated it every time, I have a lot of good memories, particularly of spending time with my grandparents in the summers and for holidays (they were from St. Louis, which is how I ended up here). My grandfather was awesome and taught me so much. I wish he was still around so he could meet my daughter. He would love her. She’s as funny as he was.
Academic or creative at school?
Both. I was a serious overachiever. I loved school and the learning aspect. I was a test-taking fool. I also loved art (and still do!).
First job you *really* wanted to do?
When I was a kid, I loved to give my siblings tests and pretend to be a teacher. I also made pockets for books with index cards that I could time stamp so they could check books out from my library. There is no fun like forcing your bro and sister to check out books and take tests on the weekends! Maybe that’s why they’re not big readers to this day. Hmm.
Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?
In the womb. Seriously, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books and, once I could hold a pencil, I was writing stories. I have the three books I wrote in fifth grade: two mysteries and a children’s book. I should have realized then it was in my DNA, but it took a while for me to realize, “This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Who are your real life heroes?
My mom and other stay-at-home moms and dads! After becoming a first-time mom at 47 (a post-breast cancer miracle, not IVF!), I’ve realized what a struggle it is to balance everything, because…well, you
can’t. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices in my work life and social life because my daughter comes first. It’s a hard gig, but so rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Funniest or most embarrassing situation you’ve found yourself in?
I was at a writers’ conference, waiting for my handler to pick me up and chatting with other folks attending the event. When I glanced down, I realized I had a trail of toilet paper from one shoe (I’d stopped to use the potty after getting off my flight!). No one had said a word. Ah, well, see below where my life advice is “don’t be afraid to be a goofball.” I’ve had lots of practice!
DIY expert or phone a friend?
Phone a friend. It’s more fun to muddle through anything together.
Sun worshipper or night owl?
I’m a morning person, for sure. At about 10 o’clock at night, my brain starts turning off. By midnight, my mind is Jell-o.
A book that had you in tears.
Maybe I just haven’t read enough tear-jerking books recently (or maybe it’s ‘cause I’m mostly reading kids’ books with my daughter, and the Paw Patrol doesn’t exactly make me want to cry), but I’m going to say Walk Into Silence, even though it’s my own book and that might not be kosher! But the ending makes me tear-up to this day. Writing it was the same way.
A book that made you laugh out loud.
All time favorite LOL book is One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. Most recently, Matthew Norman’s We Are All Damaged.
One piece of life advice you give everyone
Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s okay to be a goofball, and it’s okay that everyone’s not going to like you, whether you’re a goofball or not. Just enjoy the ride!
Great advice! Thanks so much Susan.
About the Book:
Publication Date: Available Now from Thomas and Mercer
A woman vanishes from a Texas town. Did she simply run off, or is something darker at play?
When Patrick Dielman shows up at Detective Jo Larsen’s desk insisting that his wife, Jenny, is missing, Jo wonders if it’s a case of a bored housewife running away.
But as she digs deeper into Jenny’s life, Jo learns that Dielman keeps a stranglehold on the family finances, down to the last nickel, and that Jenny’s first marriage dissolved following the death of her young son. By all accounts—including her doctor’s—she never recovered from the loss. Between a controlling husband, a tragic past, and a callous ex-husband, Jo can’t be sure if she should suspect foul play or accept that the woman may have wanted to disappear.
For Jo, whose own demons are shadowing her every step, finding Jenny becomes more than the typical protect-and-serve.
Walk into Silence is a tense and absorbing psychological thriller and Susan McBride writes with a sharp edge and a clever eye towards characterisation that just draws you in.
I liked how there was hidden common ground between the woman who has disappeared and the woman who is trying to find her – the plot is solid and addictive and the question of whether Jenny has gone by choice or by force is one that keeps you reading. The lines are blurred, there are some dark themes and current issues underneath the outer narrative and the whole story was riveting.
It is at times thrilling then melancholy, the storytelling is solidly compelling and its one of those books where you just want everything to be ok but realise that it probably won’t be. As a reader I became emotionally invested in the characters quite early on, always something that needs to happen for me to enjoy a novel.
Overall I thought it was very good indeed. And I’m happy that it seems this will become a series. I would love to read more.
Find out MORE
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To Purchase Walk into Silence clickety click right HERE