Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Diggin' in the Dirt with Susan Sleeman

The Purveyor of Tomatoes?

I'm so happy to be back on the Diamond Mine, folks. It’s great to see you! It’s good to be back with the Diamond Mine. Life hasn’t been kind but then since when is life anything but? I know I can always find solace in the Lord’s fold and that’s exactly what the Diamond Mine was created to be . . . a special place. The Diamond Mine is where Words are more than letters on a page and when God speaks, all are willing to hear.
For right now though, I know an amazing suspense writer I’d like you to meet. She is known for her many crime novels and series which are dead-on for authenticity. Many don’t realize that this author is a graduate of the FBI Citizen's Academy as well as other local law enforcement academies which gives credence to the action-filled plotlines and life-like characters filling her books. If you don’t know Susan Sleeman through her books, then you may know her as host of Either way, I rest assured that you’ll love this Purveyor of Sleuth as much as I do.
When the sunsets, justice wins the day, and Susan hangs her hat in Oregon with her retired church music director of a hubby, two beautiful daughters, an incredibly special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson. She snuggles into her big comfy couch as those big doors close and keep the evil world at bay . . . at least for a while.
So— to celebrate my Diamond Mine Homecoming, please welcome Susan Sleeman to the couch! Oh, and as part of all my Gemstone Interviews, don’t forget to check out the “special information” at the end of the chat! That’s geek-speak for GIVEAWAY!!! 😉

ONWARD AND UPWARD! Let’s meet Susan now.



RB: Hi, Susan and welcome to the Diamond Mine. I’m excited to be back on board here and even more to have you as my guest! You are quite the suspense and crime author and we have so much to talk about today. How about I stop jabbering so we can get started?

SS: Wow, thanks for the introduction. You’d make a camel blush with all those fancy words. It’s me who is honored, and I’m thrilled to be here as well.

RB: You are welcome. You deserve it and more. I’d like to start out this interview by getting to know you and I’m sure the readers would like to do the same. So, Susan, if you could say one thing about yourself and your books, what would it be?

SS: First and foremost, I would want readers to know I am a Christian and love God. I hope this shows in my books. I don’t set out to write a Christian book, but my faith is such a part of my life that I can't not include it. In fact, I have written one secular series, and not including my faith and a message of hope and change was the hardest thing I have ever done as a writer.

RB: I would have to agree. I don't think I could omit the very thing in my life that gives me the strength to breathe. I wish I could hike into the mountains and breathe in that cool, clear mountain air. That's what I usually do when I need time alone with the Lord. Do you have a special place for the two of you? Or a place you'd like to visit?

SS:  Mmmm... (A brief silence ensued. Suddenly a sharp sound reverberated through the stillness when Susan snapped her fingers.) England, I've always wanted to travel to England. I'm a big BBC TV fan and I would love to visit some of the small villages I see in the shows. And my hubby's family is from Cornwall so I would like to see that area too.

RB: I love to watch BBC as well! My husband and I got hooked on a show this last year through Prime called Poldark. It was great to watch one of these shows again! My dream is to go to Scotland, my husband's homeland, well, his not so distant ancestors' homeland. ;) I should've known that man was a Scot when I met him! His hobbies gave him away - coaching and officiating USA wrestling, hunting, fishing, debating, apologetics. I liked to read and hang out with my friends at the time!
Speaking of hobbies, what do you like to do when you aren't writing and editing your awesome tales, Susan?






Leave a personal comment regarding this interview with your email address in the comment section following this post.

RULES: One winner will be selected by Renee Blare seven days from the post date of this blog from eligible entries and notified by entry email. Entrant will be selected from those residing in the United States and its territories, void where prohibited by law.


SS: Yes, I have a favorite hobby. I love to garden. Both flower and vegetable gardening. I love spending time outside, seeing God's handiwork as the flowers unfurl and the seeds sprout to produce organic fruits and vegetables for my family. To outwit squirrels who love to steal my first tomatoes and strawberries of the year., and the birds who think I have planted raspberries and blueberries just for them. Oh...and I also just plain love digging in the dirt. Maybe I didn't get enough of it as a child. LOL
And I enjoy trying out new varieties of plants. and foods. These purple tomatoes are just like God's jewels in the garden. in the garden.

RB: Diggin' in the dirt... that sounds like so much fun! I can see how that would be a great hobby. Talk about getting back to the basics! LOL
I guess we have to talk books now (winks), so . . . . turning to the writing side of your life now, what is your biggest challenge as an author?

SS: At this point in my career as an author, I have written over forty published books and another five that will never be seen. I write romantic suspense so coming up with unique and exciting plot twists is becoming a challenge. I can easily come up with an overarching plot, but the nitty-gritty details that move the story forward is getting harder for me to develop.

RB: I can see that being a challenge. And your characters?

SS: I always write in a series. So before I begin the series, I create the traits of all the main characters. I make sure they are all different in what drives them, and then I begin to ask them questions like what's your greatest fear or what do you want most in life?

RB: And in your books, they achieve these things?

SS: Sometimes, and in others, no. I do my best to create situations where their characteristics are displayed and show how they must change and grow. I put them with the lead character who is their opposite to provide instant conflict and a chance to show how they must change and grow to be their best self. Much like how we - in the real world - are challenged with dilemmas and must make similar decisions when faced with the same adversity. In many ways, I believe that makes the characters not only interesting but, for the most part, just as real.

RB: And I believe you do an amazing job at it, Susan. An amazing job! I have one last question for you and I'll let you go back to your digging in the dirt. If for some unforeseen reason you could not write anymore, what would you do? Would you continue in the "writing world" professionally?

SS: If I could not write novels, I would not have a writing career. Period. I am not at all interested in writing for other publications or short stories, etc. It's just not my thing.
So if I could no longer write, I would either retire or go into graphic design. I have basic design skills, but would have to get a degree to do it well, and that in itself would be fun and interesting for me.

RB: You sound like a determined, interesting lady and I wish you the best. Thanks for being here on the Diamond Mine with us!

SS: Thank you for allowing me to share my writing and life on your wonderful blog, Renee. I am happy to offer your readers a print copy of Seconds to Live. This is Book One in my HOMELAND HEROES series and it was just recently named a finalist in the FHL Reader's Choice Award in their Romantic Suspense Category. To enter to win the copy, just comment on this blog with your email address!



SUSAN SLEEMAN is the bestselling author of over forty novels with more than one million books sold. She writes romantic suspense novels that are clear with inspiring messages of faith. Readers love her series for the well-drawn characters and edge-of-your-seat action. She graduated from the FBI and local police citizen academies, so her research is spot-on and her characters are real.
In addition to writing, Susan also hosts She has lived in nine states but now calls Oregon home. Her husband is a retired church music director, and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.

To learn more about Susan's books sign up for her monthly email that includes exclusive excerpts, giveaways, and other goodies.

Or stop by any of these locations on the web.


RENEE BLARE loves to read and write. She spends her time now judging writing contests for ACFW, scribbling her thoughts in her journal, and editing for beloved friends any chance she can get.

A multi-published, bestselling author through Pelican Book Group and a pharmacist by trade, she wrote and served the down-home folks of Wyoming until afflicted in 2017 with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 2 or Causalgia, the most painful nerve disease in the world. At this time, she struggles to write, blog, think . . . and has found a new love in the arts, but fights on.

Before her new life with severe pain arrived, she wrote any time she could spare and now prays to do so again someday. A romantic suspense author who writes with a flair of mystery, Renee is known to keep her readers guessing while constantly turning the pages. "Never a dull moment," as they like to say.

You can discover more about this creative and fascinating writer at her website:

Search her out on social media too! She's everywhere. 


Anonymous said...

Series are my favorite!

Kathy said...

I love digging in the dirt. Love flowers and would love to read the book.

Sonya said...

Her gardens look phenomenal!

Sonnetta Jones said...

I do not mind playing in the dirt myself. I love taking pictures of flowers especially after the rain.

At the Fence said...

Loved hearing how you set up your series. My husband writes and is always tossing ideas at me. blessed6mom(at)

Joy B said...

I enjoy learning more about authors and how they get their ideas to write.

Allyson Anthony said...

Series are a favorite of mine. It's important to include your faith in your books and in your life because it's a must.

LiteOfTheNite said...

Hi there! I love them too!

LiteOfTheNite said...

Don’t they? I love those roses. It’s good to see someone who has a green thumb. Lol

LiteOfTheNite said...

The smell of fresh rain fall is amazing. Huh?

Sabrina said...

I follow Susan on Facebook and she posts the most yummy and beautiful produce pictures! I enjoy seeing them. They inspire me to be healthier! :D

LiteOfTheNite said...

There is nobody better than the spouse for a sounding board AND brainstorming partner! Of course, I don’t know what the spouse says about that since I’ve never really asked when the words flow out and hit the board (you) as fast and hard as a M1-30 hitting a ground target from a helicopter. Sorry!!!

LiteOfTheNite said...

It’s very enlightening!

LiteOfTheNite said...

I don’t think it’s a choice for walking in the faith Christian Writers. We write who and what we are. The paper bleeds it.

LiteOfTheNite said...

I may have to do that too! CRPS steals my appetite most of the time, not that the scale could tell the difference! Lol

Shelia64 said...

Great interview and the garden is beautiful! sheliarha64(at)yahoo(dot)com

Alicia Haney said...

Hi Susan, you are a new to me author, I love the sound of your books, they sound intriguing and like very good page turners! I also love to work in my garden, but I plant the flowers and my husband plants the veggies. You are a new to me author, it is very nice meeting you and getting to know you a little bit more on this post. Have a Great rest of the week and stay safe. God bless you and your family. aliciabhaney(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

MJSH said...

I can’t garden but would love to travel to Scotland or England one day. Thanks for the opportunity.
mindyhoung at msn dot com

Lynn Brown said...

I like that your books are in a series. It gives you time to get to know the characters better. Makes them feel real. Thanks for the chance.

Elizabeth Litton said...

I enjoy reading series as well. I do like stand-alone novels, but sometimes I'm left wondering what happened with this character or that situation. :)
Oh and we don't grow purple tomatoes on our farm, but Dad does plant Purple Cherokee, which are heirloom tomatoes!

eclitton at gmail dot com

Rachelle said...

I have gotten to travel to England and Scotland. Loved it. Would go back to see more if given the chance. Hope you get to go some day.

LiteOfTheNite said...

Thank you and I love her garden too! The only thing I have is some hanging plants and a tree. Lol

LiteOfTheNite said...

Hi Mindy and thanks for stopping by the blog!

LiteOfTheNite said...

You are such a fortunate woman! What was your favorite part of both countries?

LiteOfTheNite said...

What are Purple Cherokees?

LiteOfTheNite said...

That’s the reason I write or began my books in series. I always wanted to know more about the characters as a reader so as a writer I developed my characters in series. :) I could never imagine limiting a story to one book.

Unknown said...

Hi- I dont know how I havent known of your books before now! I love Christian romantic suspense novels and will definitely be looking to read some of yours! It was interesting to read this article and learn more about you! Thank you!

Tamara said...

We are huge BBC fans, too! Looking forward to the release of Night Fall!

Melissa Oldaker said...

I enjoy shows on the BBC as well and would like to travel to England.


Janet P said...

I love to garden as well....I have flowers in pots and have planted squash , cucumbers and watermelons...I love the look of the purple tomatoes and may have to try to plant some next year.

Anne Rightler said...

You must have a green thumb as well as a knack for writing. Lovely flowers. Our daughter and family lived in England for 3 years and we were fortunate to be able to visit a number of times. I hope you can go someday soon.
Anne at rightler dot com

ozarkharness said...

I love flowers, but gardening is one thing I did not learn from my parents or grandparents. I enjoy the fact that Susan’s faith comes out in her books.

Melissa Andres said...

What a fun interview! I also love my flower gardens! One of my favorite things in summer.

dmandres5 at gmail dot com

Jackie Layton said...

Hi Renee and Susan! I enjoyed this interview. I love flower gardens, and I enjoyed gardening when I lived in Kentucky. I even brought some plants and bulbs with me when I moved to South Carolina. The soil is so different here, and I haven't been as succesful here. Although to be fair, I don't work as much at it as I did.

Susan, I always enjoy reading your books! It's good to see you here!

LiteOfTheNite said...

Hi Jackie! I love gardens too! I have a brown thumb unfortunately. I guess that’s why God paired me with James. Lol Thanks for stopping by. ;)

Betti said...

I’m not much for playing in the dirt, although I love enjoying what others have done! I use my creativity to knit for my family and friends. Thanks for telling us a little about yourself, Susan and also for the giveaway. bettimace (at) gmail (dot) com

Joan A said...

It is obvious from your books that you are a Christian! I love your books. jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Renee and Susan,

Thank you for the interesting interview. Thanks Susan for sharing a bit about your writing, Christian faith and gardening with us. It's nice to get to know more about you.

LiteOfTheNite said...

And the winner of the giveaway is Elizabeth Litton! Thanks for being here! We appreciate you.