Welcome to an Interview with Susan M. Toy

Welcome to an Interview with:  Susan M. Toy

Author Susan M. Toy

Author Susan M. Toy


Author of:  Island in the Clouds, a Bequia perspectives novel

Island in the Clouds

Island in the Clouds


A brief synopsis.

The dead body in the pool is putting a serious dent in Geoff’s morning. An ex-pat property manager on the Caribbean island of Bequia, Geoff doesn’t want a spotlight shone on the secret past he left behind in Canada, but now he’s the suspect in a brutal murder. With no help from the inept local police force, he’s drawn into investigating the murder himself, to clear his name. As Geoff finds out more about the circumstances surrounding the killing, and he and his loved ones find themselves in danger, he begins to see a very dark underbelly of the place some people call paradise…

Part travelogue, part mystery, Island in the Clouds takes a long, hard look at the reality of living in a place that seems perfect — from the outside, anyway.


 What made you decide to write this book? 

I’d had a run-in with someone on Bequia and decided to write out my anger and frustration. I took a pad of paper and pen to our neighbour’s house and sat down next to the pool. That’s when I imagined seeing a dead body floating in the water, and the rest of the story just flowed out after that.


Where did you find the characters?

My partner is a property manager who looks after foreign-owned homes on the island of Bequia,  and while the main character of the novel is not exactly based on my partner, he certainly seems to have a lot of the same experiences. The good characters in my novel are all based on real people I’ve met on the island; the bad characters are composites or imagined. I do want those who think they are in my novel to know about this T-shirt, though. http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/just-to-be-clear/


Do you find the characters help write the stories? Planner or Panster?

I am a total planner. I will create characters to fit the story; I am always in control of them. And I never begin writing a story unless I know how it’s going to end.


Share with the readers one little known fact about yourself.

I have it in mind to put forward the notion of measuring a book’s success not by the number of new copies that have sold, but by the number of times the book is actually read. I think that would be a far better indication as to how popular a book is or how good the author’s writing is considered to be. By basing success on number of reads, this then brings libraries and the borrowing of books into the equation. And used books bought from bookstores could also be included. The problem with my idea is how would we gauge the number of times a book IS read. That’s something I’m still mulling over.


Are you traditionally published or an Indie author?

I am an Indie Author with very deep Traditional roots. Because I’ve worked in the book biz all my life, and worked closely with many people on the publishing side, I took a very professional approach to my own publishing. The manuscript had actually been read by a publisher who was interested, but wanted me to pay for a professional edit before they offered a contract. I decided that, if I was going to have to pay for the edit anyway, and since I had many ideas on the direction publishing was heading that I wished to pursue, I might as well go through the entire process myself. I brought in professionals every step of the way and received the best advice I could obtain from colleagues. I began by ePublishing the novel, and used the eBook to build up a customer base, to which I pre-sold print copies to pay for the cost of printing. I was successful, because I really did know what I was doing, or at least I brought in other people who I could trust to work in my best interest. I always tell other writers who wish to go this route to learn something about the publishing business first before they take the plunge.  They should never pay others more money than they need to spend just to see their name in print when the knowledge and information is already there for them to use.


If you could make one change to the world, what would it be?

I always liked this bumper sticker:   peas

Because I doubt we will ever see World Peace in our lifetimes. But if I could just convince one person to be good to the one beside them, and that one person treat well the one beside them, and so on and so on, I think I would feel I had made a worthwhile change, albeit small, in the world. But then any kind of positive change begins with just one person, doesn’t it?

I so agree with you. A little kindness can go a long way. I’m all for HUGS in the World as you can’t hug properly while holding a weapon.


Do you have a website to share? 

My blogsite lists everything about me and my books, writing, publishing:http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/


Any Link to the Book?

Where the eBook and Print book are available to purchase:http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/

What people are saying about Island in the Clouds:http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-in-the-world-can-you-purchase-island-in-the-clouds/ (Scroll down for links to reviews)


Please feel free to share an excerpt.

Here’s the link to a sampler FlipBook I created so you may read the first chapter: http://www.flipsnack.com/9A6CDD97C6F/fh327e0f


Thanks very much for joining us Susan. I wish you every success with the book.




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49 responses to “Welcome to an Interview with Susan M. Toy

  1. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, David!

  2. Reblogged this on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing and commented:
    Here’s another interview for me, this time with David Prosser on his blog, Barsetshire Diaries!

  3. David, that was a delightful interview. The story sounds absolutely beguiling.

  4. Thanks for reading and for your comment, teagan!

  5. Hi, David. Susan, I love the inspiration for starting this story. Not that a run-in is a good thing, but it got you a book! The cover says it all, too, and the gun on the table tops it off to let you know this is serious.

  6. Author Rebecca Heishman

    Reblogged this on Dancing With The MS MonSter.

  7. carolewyer

    Great interview and I am now intrigued enough to go and buy a copy of your book, Susan. Hugs to you both.

  8. I agree, great interview, hope to see some more like this.

  9. Interesting read David.

    Book sounds good, but I was also interested in the comments about going it alone to self-pub.

    I was confused about her being charged for an edit with a trad pub co but she ended up paying anyway. What’s the difference. Not knocking it but either way you pay.

    Does she do review copies? I’d be happy to look at one.

    • Hi, I think it likely she just wasn’t expecting a trad publisher to be asking for a paid edit through themselves. It’s not the usual way….though having said that it’s becoming quite common for them to be offering all kinds of paid services these days with no promise of publication at the end.
      I have no idea about the review copies but no doubt she’ll give you a direct answer when she reaches morning in her time zone.
      xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx

    • Thank you, roughseainthemud! In Canada, many of the smaller trad. publishers just don’t have enough money to be able to offer the usual services to every author they publish. Many have been cutting corners and authors are now expected to do much of their own promotion and publicity. In my case, the publisher was hoping to work with a clean copy and, if I had offered to take on the expense of working with my own editor then I believe they may have been more inclined to offer me the publishing contract – but there was no guarantee that would be the case. I just decided to go it alone completely, since I already had the professional connections and was able to put a complete support network in place. For me, self-publishing wasn’t so much about having control over the project, but being able to address my own ideas I’d developed about publishing successfully. I hope that explains my actions.

      I will send you a private message about the review copy. Thanks for your offer!

      • Sorry!! roughseaintheMED, not the MUD. Wish we could edit our own comments …

      • Haha re the mud. Half of my blogging pals just call me rough which is equally as bad 😀

        Thanks for the explanation. I know other people who have edited their works and then gone to trad publishers, who may also edit it – or may not.

        I think self-publshing has made such a big difference to the publishing industry. As you say, if you have the contacts, why not do it yourself? I noticed you listed all the people you had used at the front of your book (yes I did take a peek, but not had time to read yet).

        From my point of view as a writer/editor/PR manager, it’s probably better that authors are expected to do their own work.

        But the world has really been turned upside down. Very different to when you sent a MS off to umpteen publishers waited for acceptance/rejectiion, and then sat back while they did all the work.

        Thank you for your PM and the PDF. I’ll let you know when I’ve read and reviewed.


      • Thanks for your further comments!

  10. Reblogged this on blindoggbooks and commented:
    Another interview with my friend Susan Toy – she’s beoming quite popular…maybe you should read her book!

  11. Pingback: Most Read vs. Best Sold – my purple cow | Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

  12. What a great interview, David. I love the way the book came about and it sounds highly intriguing! 😀

  13. Just wanted to stop by and say a HUGE thank you for your support this month with my A-Z Challenge 🙂

    Sorry its been a while since i visited, but I’m BACK! lol 🙂


  14. Excellent introduction and interview, David! Susan Toy’s book sounds like just the kind I love reading. I’ll be checking this out!
    Well done.

  15. Kev

    Good interview David…I like your approach. 🙂

  16. Great interview. The right questions, answers of interest and not too long.

  17. What a terrific interview, David. I’ll be delighted to read the story. Cheers to you!

  18. Great interview David and Susan! I enjoyed the read and Island in the Clouds sounds intriguing.

  19. Loved the interview…and the hugs! Can’t wait to read Susan Toy’s book. Great publishing info in this post. David, thanks for the follow. What a fantastic group of folks.

  20. Pingback: David Prosser | Reading Recommendations

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