by Charles Mombo
What is the book’s genre/category?
Broken Dolls is my first time deep dive into writing a mystery novel. I’m so excited.
Please describe what the story/book is about.
Broken Dolls features an African American female homicide detective who moves from Chicago to South Holland thinking that she might have a calmer life. She’s wrong. She runs into a church elder’s gruesome murder. He appears to be a pillar of the South Holland community and she’s trying to figure out, why him and why like this?
Where does Susan Peters write from?
Great question. I write from a desire to communicate and a passion that was actually part of my DNA. I love to write, always have and I’m just beginning to come to terms with the fact that it’s always better to do what you love rather than something that simply pays the bills. Although I’m pretty lucky because while my day job pays the bills, it is work that I get a lot of satisfaction from, but writing has my heart.
What led up to this book?
Actually Charles, this is about the third rewrite of a book that started as a romance novel and when I read it carefully, I just didn’t love the heroine I had created. She didn’t excite me and I thought, I rather not do a subsequent book about her journey but I really am intrigued by the detective investigating the case. I like that sista and I’d like to depict her life and see her grow.
What was the time frame for writing this book?
So, I already mentioned that I struggled with the character and I struggled with some of the material in the book because the topic of familial incest is a thread in this book. The original Broken Dolls was written between 2002 and finalized in 2007. Then in 2010 I published my memoir, Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot, the story of my family’s escape from Liberia during the early months of their Civil War. The memoir was cathartic and I needed to release it into the Universe and for this reason Broken Dolls simmered on the back-burner. It was re written again and finally released this April.
How did you find your agent?
What agent! I WISH. I’m a self-published author, also known as an Indie (for independent). I published through Sunrise Consulting, a company I started in 2000 when my job was downsized at the former Bank One, which is now Chase. I believe if you have your own company you can never be unemployed. In fact when I’m asked to counsel graduates I tell them first, while you are looking, start your own company!
What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
My first surprise was that I could independently publish my own book. There is an awesome revolution in the way that books are published-this is a game changer. I’m so grateful to Lissa Woodson, an award winning author in her own right, and my self- publishing guru for an initial consultation with her that allowed me to walk away with the tools to self-publish.
The second epiphany is that I love to write but I’m not in love with selling. I’m a people person but I have a full-time job, and I am the matriarch of a large family. My creative juices release at 4:00am and on weekends. Being at book fairs selling books is fun but then I don’t have the time to write and I’m in a very authentic space where my soul is telling me to get focused on my writing. I want to get a publishing contract with a major publishing house…at least that’s how I feel right now. Of course, I reserve the right to change if I need to.
Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?
Hum, I don’t know that I’ve really broken in; I’m beating on the door! I do think that, when the teacher appeared, this student was ready! I think Lissa would support me on this, that when I came in for my consultation I had two manuscripts, I was committed to follow her advice and I had saved some money so we could rock and roll! When you want to be a writer you have to dream the whole dream. My published books are the result of hours and hours of writing, rewriting, and having an editor tell you to rewrite a passage because, even though it makes sense to you, it won’t make sense to a reader, getting pissed off and making the edits.
On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?
I think we are on the path we are supposed to be on. Now is the time for me to do what I love and before now, I was generating the life I experience I have to rock this moment! No regrets.
What are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?
I’ve been playing with social media since 2009. I still have a lot to learn, and I am an excellent public speaker, my strength is connecting with my audience in a very organic way. I like being able to share my experiences in that way and welcome opportunities to speak. I am a natural teacher. I’m pretty good with Constant Contact and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and toying with Pinterest. My next frontier is to generate consistent income via Internet sales. I see people like yourself making the Internet work for you and I want in!
Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?
I think my half-finished screen play, All the Days Are Not Equal, is amazing. The short story that it’s based upon was published in an anthology of the Illinois Women’s Press Association this May. I’ve been a member of IWPA since 2010. In fact I won the Mate E. Palmer award for non-fiction in 2011 from IWPA. Anyway, All the Days Are Not Equal is a fictionalized, dramatic account of my departure from Liberia. It’s kind of a worst case scenario of what might have happened had we not left when we did. I loved the experience of writing for the screen and actually hope to see Detective Joi Sommers’ story depicted on the big screen in the future. I’m also a contributor to an online magazine that a high school friend, living in Alabama, Vickie Basley Goldston has created that celebrates diversity of thought called Garden Spices http://www.gardenspices.org/.
I just submitted my first article; a very personal piece entitled “Healing When You Can’t Help.”
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
I am not a person to be put in a musical pigeon hole. Being a poet means you listening behind the music for the lyrics. The poet in me loved Tupac, I love Reba McEntire’s lyrics and I write to songs that I put on repeat so I can keep myself focused. That’s as personal as I’m gonna get.
Where can I buy your book?
Also on ITunes
I’m basically wherever online books or eBooks are sold.
I’m working on the next in the Detective Joi Sommers series, “The Iron Collar”, which I’m going to have finished by the end of November. This is coming from my lips to God’s ears. I already have plotted the story, sooo if I can keep on my schedule to get an editable first draft ready by then. I also have a bunch of stories about Liberia that didn’t make it into Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot and I’m going to edit them and make them available for .99 online. Besides that, I’m working with Macro Literary All Stars, a group of authors focused on helping one another to make money from publishing. We have some fabulous projects in the works.
Are there any upcoming event/book signing?
Not right now. My big focus is writing but if anyone wants to host a book signing for me, I’m all in!
My website is www.susandpeters.com
Fans can reach me on:
Sweet Liberia Lessons from the Coal Pot on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sweet-Liberia-Lessons-from-the-Coal-Pot/209223455808396.
Blog: Sweet Liberia http://ahnydah-sweetliberia.blogspot.com
I’m in the process of rethinking the best ways to use my pages to drive traffic.
Charles, I want to thank Chocolate City for supporting me. You reached out to me to help promote my first book, Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot, and here once again my brother, you are helping me promote Broken Dolls. I appreciate you for being part of my village!