From the Booking Desk:
I first discovered Susan Elia MacNeal when she was a member of the award-winning Jungle Red Writers blog. It was there that I learned that in addition to writing the excellent Maggie Hope historical series, Susan had also penned a collection of cocktail recipes. Needless to say, I immediately ordered that book, had it signed at the next crime fiction convention, and a friendship was born. Today, I am thrilled to add Susan’s profile to the collection of Composite Sketches here at BOLO Books. I hope that you will enjoy her answers and will seek out more of Susan’s work.
Name: Susan Elia MacNeal
Location: Brooklyn, New York
This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:
I read Becoming by Michelle Obama last year and I have to say, Mrs. Obama is a true inspiration to me—strong, authentic, brilliant, caring, and courageous. She still lives in hope without turning to cynicism.
In my own life, I have to say my late uncle, Frank Serchia, the unofficial Mayor of Lewiston, New York. Uncle Frank was a wonderful husband and father — so kind and patient and always looked for the best in people and always ready to lend a helping hand. He also knew how to have a good time, was dapper as hell, and was the best dancer I’ve ever seen. A toast of Italian red wine (his favorite, which he called “paisan wine” or “friend wine”) to Uncle Frank!
One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:
Dru Ann Love, of the blog Dru’s Book Musings. Dru is one of the kindest, loveliest, most wonderful people I’ve ever met, and a true champion of books and authors. And we even live close to each other in Brooklyn and get to see each other relatively often!
STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:
Right now, I’m obsessed with Camille Preaker from Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. People say she’s not a likeable heroine, but I kinda love her, despite her darkness and history of trauma —maybe because of it. As much as she’s a contemporary protagonist, she’s also the princess in a very dark fairytale, who breaks the witch’s spell. She not only solves the mystery, but she upends and destroys her own family’s cycle of trauma.
People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):
I think people see me as sort of old-fashioned, due to the time period of my books, and so would be surprised I really love contemporary outsider (self-taught) art, street art, and graffiti art. I love Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mississippi Mary Proctor, Faile, Banksy, and Stucky. There’s something about the infectious energy that draws me in as well as the perfection of imperfection.
My personal catch phase is (or should be):
“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” —or “Don’t let the bastards get you down” — from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Actually, your interest in modern outsider art doesn’t surprise me that much. I don’t know that I would have guessed it, but when you answered the question, it seemed like a perfect fit to me.