Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mystery Author of the Month, Suzanne Adair

       Suzanne Adair

I'd like to welcome Suzanne, who has an announcement to make. She will give away one copy of A Hostage to Heritage to someone who contributes a comment on her post this week. The winner will be chosen from among those who comment by Saturday, July 13th, at 8:30 a.m. ET and he or she may select paperback or electronic format. Delivery in the U.S. and Canada is available. Please be sure we have your email address. Now, let's see what Suzanne has to say in response to my questions.

Patricia: Suzanne, where did you grow up? Did your childhood contribute to your desire to be a writer?

Suzanne: I was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and I’ve been interested in the Revolutionary War since I was a child. Often I heard the mistaken notions of tourists and residents that Florida’s history started with railroad barons Flagler and Plant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. St. Augustine, Florida, founded by the Spaniards decades before Jamestown, Virginia, is the oldest European settlement in the United States. During the Revolutionary War, St. Augustine was a major base for the British. This information isn’t highlighted in most American History texts. That never seemed fair to me, and I wished for a way to make Florida’s history appealing and accessible to people.
In 1999, while I was visiting St. Simons Island, Georgia, conducting research for a manuscript in a contemporary paranormal mystery series (unpublished), I toured the ruins of Ft. Frederica, built in the 1730s to help Britain keep the Spaniards in Florida out of Britain’s colonies. Redcoats in Georgia? I remembered then that Georgia was the thirteenth colony. So why were all the stories about the Revolutionary War set in the Northern theater? Why hadn’t someone written an adventure to show the importance of the Southern colonies and territories? By four months later, I’d abandoned the contemporary paranormal manuscript and begun writing Paper Woman, first book in my “Mysteries of the American Revolution” trilogy. 
So I set a portion of Paper Woman in St. Augustine and northeast Florida. I must have made Florida’s history appealing and accessible to people, because the book received the Patrick D. Smith Literature award from the Florida Historical Society. My fifth book set during the Southern theater was released at the end of April 2013.
Patricia: Where do you live now? Do you use that locale for settings in your novels?

Suzanne: I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Raleigh came into existence right after the Revolutionary War. Thus 18th-century Raleigh isn’t an inspiration for any novels in this series. However Raleigh contains several houses that date from the Revolutionary period. More importantly, a number of colonial-era municipalities and battle sites in North Carolina are within an easy day’s travel from Raleigh. To name a few: Wilmington, New Bern, Hillsborough, and the battle sites at Moore’s Creek Bridge, Guilford Courthouse, House in the Horseshoe, and Alamance.
A Hostage to Heritage takes place in Wilmington and the surrounding area and references the battles at Moore’s Creek Bridge and Guilford Courthouse. Regulated for Murder, my fourth book and the first in the Michael Stoddard series, is set in Wilmington and Hillsborough and references the Battle of Alamance. Camp Follower, third book in my “Mysteries of the American Revolution” trilogy, opens in Wilmington.
While researching for Camp Follower, I learned that the British successfully occupied Wilmington for almost all of 1781, stymieing the Continental Army’s movements in the Southern theater and effectively prolonging the war an entire year. This fact isn’t covered in most Americans’ history classes. (We receive the selective history of the “winners.”) The events of 1781 associated with the Eighty-Second Regiment in North Carolina are a rich source of plot ideas for any writer of historical crime fiction: battles, intrigues, desertions, double-crosses, desperate strategies, and so forth. Thus I decided to bring the year 1781 in North Carolina to life in the Michael Stoddard thrillers.
Patricia: What inspired you to write your most recent novel?
Suzanne: A big sub-plot in A Hostage to Heritage deals with child soldiers, an issue that’s plagued humans throughout history. 

I also wanted to explore how a detective who didn’t have access to modern technology and forensics would deal effectively with a hostage situation. The clock was ticking on the victim’s life. How would the detective and abductors communicate and negotiate without a telephone? What techniques would the detective use to track down the criminals?
In addition, I enjoy bringing to life historical details and events that my research uncovers.
And, of course, A Hostage to Heritage, along with Regulated for Murder, represents my efforts thus far at showing the strategic importance of North Carolina during the American Revolution.

Here’s a short description of A Hostage to Heritage: A Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller:

A boy kidnapped for ransom. And a madman who didn't bargain on Michael Stoddard's tenacity.

Spring 1781. The American Revolution enters its seventh grueling year. In Wilmington, North Carolina, redcoat investigator Lieutenant Michael Stoddard expects to round up two miscreants before Lord Cornwallis's army arrives for supplies. But his quarries' trail crosses with that of a criminal who has abducted a high-profile English heir. Michael's efforts to track down the boy plunge him into a twilight of terror from radical insurrectionists, whiskey smugglers, and snarled secrets out of his own past in Yorkshire.
Patricia: When did you “know” that you wanted to be a writer?
Suzanne: In second grade, I experienced my first hurricane. The fury of nature made quite an impression on me. About a month later, I contracted the mumps and was quarantined at home for a week or so. I didn’t feel sick, and I quickly ran out of books to read and things to do. Then I got my hands on a pencil and some paper. The combination of being extremely bored and having something to write about was all the permission my imagination needed to launch my writing career.
Patricia: Name three of your favorite authors in the mystery/suspense genre. What makes them  your favorites?

Suzanne: Ellis Peters created her medieval sleuth, Brother Cadfael, as a sympathetic protagonist who was smart enough to solve a fictional murder without needing modern forensics. Robert Louis Stevenson and Daphne du Maurier showed me how high adventure and suspense can be woven together to take the reader on a breathless, wild ride.
Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in a two hundred-year-old city at the edge of the North Carolina Piedmont, named for an English explorer who was beheaded. Her suspense and thrillers transport readers to the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, hiking, and spending time with her family. A Hostage to Heritage, her second Michael Stoddard American Revolution thriller, was released April 2013, and is currently a five-star book on Amazon.

Purchase links:
Barnes & Noble: keyword=suzanne+adair
Smashwords (Apple, Sony, Kobo):

Blog and social media links:
Quarterly electronic newsletter:

Suzanne has emailed me with the name of the winner. Marja McGraw will receive a copy of "A Hostage to Heritage." Congratulations, Marja!


  1. How fascinating! Suzanne, you've opened my eyes to a whole new (old, but new to me) theater of operations in the American Revolutionary War. Thank you, and much success to you and to your series!

  2. I've read several of Suzanne's novels and recommend them to anyone with an interest in history, mystery and/or a good story.

  3. As history major this is a most appealing set of books. Thank you Patricia for introducing me to another author. Interview was most enlightening.

    1. Jake,
      I'm glad you enjoyed Suzanne's post. Her enthusiasm for that time period in history comes through so clearly in her responses to my questions. It's quite obviously her passion.

  4. Yes, an interesting 'different' POV is always a plus.

  5. A different look at some aspects of history. Sounds quite interesting. Thanks for introducing us to this.

  6. Thanks for sharing this great interview! I like the questions and the responses. I +1'd it to the WORLD!! The books look very interesting.

    1. Wow, Chris! Thanks for sharing this! I look forward to featuring you on my blog soon. Congratulations on the publication of "Gray Ghost."

  7. These are excellent books and I look forward to reading the lastest story. I know Suzanne does a lot of research and while the books are entertaining, they also opened my eyes to some of what was going on during the Revolutionary War. Terrific interview!
    Marja McGraw

  8. John M. Daniel, thanks for stopping by. Yes, the Southern theater isn't emphasized, even though there were a number of huge, important battles in the theater, such as the battles at Camden, Savannah, Cowpens, and Guilford Courthouse. And the "flavor" of the war was different in the South. More of a Civil War. In fact, many researchers say that the Revolutionary War was actually the Civil War, Part 1.

  9. Nice to see you here, John Lindermuth, and thanks for the compliment!

  10. Jake, thanks for your comment. As a history major, your solemn duty now is to ask your instructors why they don't cover the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War. :-)

  11. Hi Pat! Thanks for popping in. You'll like Michael Stoddard. He's a good guy. Then you'll realize that I've made you like a redcoat.

  12. Patricia, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog. I enjoyed the interview.

  13. James Callan, thanks for your comment. We need to look at history from a different angle every now and then, don't we? Rattle some cages.

  14. Chris, thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Marja, pshaw, you make me blush. Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate your support.

  16. Very nice interview, Patricia, you always ask such interesting questions.

    I enjoyed learning about your novels, Suzanne. I'm looking forward to reading them.

    1. Thanks, Evelyn. Authors are strongly influenced by where they grew up and where they live as adults.

      Patricia didn't ask about my residence in Norwich, England. I lived there for half a year in the early 1980s. That influenced my understanding of the British people on a deep level.