Welcome to an Interview with: Susan M. Toy
Author of: Island in the Clouds, a Bequia perspectives novel
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?
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.