Monday, June 30, 2014

Genesis Beach

Today's special guest is Susan Whitfield. Award-winning multi-genre author Susan Whitfield is a native of North Carolina, where she sets all of her novels. She is the author of five published mysteries, Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck, Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point. She also authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook that includes recipes from mystery writers around the country.  Slightly Cracked is her first women’s fiction, set in Wayne County where she lives with her husband. Their two sons live nearby with their families.

Susan’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Coastal Carolina Mystery Writers, and North Carolina Writers Network.  Her books are available in print and ebook formats. Susan is currently researching a medieval ancestor for an historical mystery. Learn more at
and please stop by Book 'Em North Carolina on Saturday, February 28, 2015 and chat with her!


Why did you choose the SBI for Logan Hunter?

You may laugh at my answer. As high school principal, I spent countless hours behind closed doors interrogating someone about something. I was “the law” on campus and it was my responsibility to get to the bottom of things. It just seemed natural to build a female character who investigated crimes. Thank goodness I had only minor “crimes” to deal with but Logan had some horrendous situations that I never could have handled in my wildest dreams in real life.

Tell us about the locations used in the series.

Genesis Beach, the first Logan Hunter Mystery, is fictional, a weaving of several beaches along our North Carolina coast. Just North of Luck is set in Madison County where the communities of Trust and Luck are only a few mountain miles apart. I went back to my childhood roots to write Hell Swamp, the third novel in the series. Sin Creek is set along the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, one of my favorite places. Beaufort is the setting for the fifth mystery, Sticking Point.

Just North of Luck, as I said, is set in the community of Luck. When I found the names Trust and Luck on the North Carolina map, I was inspired the whole novel, and I decided to challenge Logan with a serial killer. There really is a Hell Swamp down Black River but I moved it up to Beatty’s Bridge where a horrific crime occurred in The Black River Plantation which still stands in a picturesque location. I passed that house many times as a child. I wanted to showcase the Riverwalk in Wilmington so I used that setting for Sin Creek even though the story is fiction.            

How do you get your ideas for your plots?

Sometimes setting a story in a particular place drives the plot and I always think of my setting as one of the characters. Quite often my ideas come from billboards, commercials, newspaper articles, or overheard conversations. I also have a large family and there’s always something interesting going on that can take me off into my own world. For example, my husband and one of his brothers use malapropisms all the time, quite innocently I might add. I could write a book just about that but I did use quite a few in my women’s fiction, Slightly Cracked.

How did you get into writing?

I started reading when I was four-years-old and I’d rather have a book than a doll. I remember so well how excited I was every time I saw the Bookmobile coming. I’d get the max number of books allowed. I jotted notes and ideas on scraps of paper and actually wrote a 40-page outline for a book when I was in high school. It’s still in a drawer somewhere. I majored in English, as you might have guessed.

What did you do before you began writing?

I didn’t begin to write seriously until 2004 when I was contemplating retirement from education. I taught English for thirteen years and was a high school administrator for seventeen years. I had little time to write anything other than required reports and articles.

How many books have you written? Genres?

I have written seven books, five of them in the Logan Hunter Mystery series. I also wrote Slightly Cracked, a women’s fiction and authored a unique cookbook called Killer Recipes.

What are you working on?
I am currently writing a historical fiction about Geoffrey Plantagenet, my medieval ancestor who started the Plantagenet lineage in Europe It’s the biggest challenge I’ve faced in writing because I want the period to be as accurate as possible. I have to admit, though, that I’m enjoying the research and excited that I can twist the facts if I want to.

What would you like readers to know about you and your writing?

The books are all set in North Carolina, even Slightly Cracked. This is home and I love showcasing different parts of the state. The only exception is the historical, of course. I am happily married for 46 years and have two fantastic sons and daughters-in-law who blessed me with three wonderful grandsons. I’m living the dream! Life is good!

 Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, I’d like to thank you, Trish, for organizing Book’Em NC into such a great event. I hope people will continue to support this worthy cause for literacy. I’m honored to be a part of it. The Lumberton community and its leaders are an impressive and generous bunch of folks. I hope those reading this article will plan to attend next year’s event and pick up an armful of great books of all kinds. It’s nice to have so many genres and author backgrounds represented.


When the lifeless body of millionaire Rick Teater is discovered, Logan Hunter is thrust into a high-profile crime scene. The inexperienced intern for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, working alongside the local police, needs to prove herself. She embarks on a quest for justice.

The search for Teater’s killer is complicated by a hurricane and Logan’s battle with personal demons, including a recurring nightmare. The investigation comes to a frustrating standstill until her intense search for the prime suspect leads her to a new and shocking discovery.


“Don’t tell nobody nothin’, little darlin’”, the raspy voice whispered close to my ear. I jerked away, but the long bony hand grabbed me, and the long nasty green nails bit into the skin on my arm. I could feel hot breath in my hair as my earlobe was licked. I bit a finger, and the hand released me. I screamed at the top of my lungs as I ran outside in a storm and could barely stand up. Something hit me in the face, but I continued to try to run. The hand—no, two hands now—began shaking me hard, and I fell to the ground.

            I awoke to Pepper pulling at me. We were both beaten by the storm’s wrath and soaked by torrential rain. Pepper wrapped herself around me so I couldn’t run anymore. I stared at her for a moment and then began to shake violently.

            “Logan! My God! You scared me half to death. What is it? What the hell is going on?” I could only blink at her. She pulled me to my feet, and together we made the laborious trip back to safety.

            Once inside, Pepper breathlessly told me I’d screamed out several times—a lot of nonsense—and the only words she made out were “stay away” and I bolted for the door, somehow unlocked it, and ran out into the hurricane. I’d been hit in the ear by piece of shingle, and I’d bitten her finger when she grabbed me. We dried off and sat quietly for a while, Pepper watching me as she doctored her bite. I rocked on the floor and tried to recover….This bony hand was driving me mad. I wanted relief from the overwhelming feeling of impending terror I couldn’t explain. I felt totally wiped out. And I’d stressed Pepper with my behavior, but there was nowhere to go.




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