Thursday, March 3, 2011

Interview with Author Susan Whitfield

Susan Whitfield is a mystery author. Her newest work is available from L&L Dreamspell.

What is the name of your latest book and how did you come up with the title?
The latest book in the Logan Hunter Mystery series is entitled Sin Creek. The title began as Gator Creek because the book is set around Alligator Creek near Wilmington, North Carolina but I later changed the name to Sin Creek because it fits the book’s content much better.

What is about?
Here’s the blurb: The Cape Fear River snakes through eastern North Carolina past the stunning port city of Wilmington, and sidling up next to it is Gator Creek. Some call it “Sin Creek”, a sliver of water where wickedness and decadence take precedence over decency.

When SBI Agent Logan Hunter discovers a dead UNC-Wilmington co-ed used porn to pay tuition, she tracks down and questions other co-eds, learning that far too many of them have been coerced into the raunchy business and have scars to prove it. Hunter battles dens of iniquity, zeroing in on a brazen but somehow illusive ferry to find a deranged killer and bring down the porn operations while trying to keep her recent marriage to Agent Chase Railey from falling apart. Even though she succeeds in finding the killer, the investigation changes her life in ways she could never have imagined.

At the front of the book, I’ve written a letter to readers about what inspired the book. I’ll share it with you:

Dear Reader,

Inspiration for the book you’re holding in your hands is based
on a repulsive truth I fashioned into fiction to raise public awareness
about the seamy side of some young lives, and the monetary
lures that plunge far too many into Internet notoriety, terminal
disease, and sometimes, violent death.

Back when I was a high school administrator, I asked a student
of mine how her sister coped with college life. She told me
her sister found a lucrative way to raise tuition and live “the high
life.” What this student said next left me shaken, and I’ve never
been quite the same since.

I went home that night and searched for Internet information the student
had casually given me, hoping to find no truth in what she
said. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I still shiver that some
among us are so willing to be part of the filthy underbelly that
runs beneath many of our towns and cities.

Research for this book challenged me to search my soul, and
I stopped on many occasions not certain if I should continue. But
someone needs to tell this story—as ugly and offensive as it may be.

SIN CREEK is truly a work of fiction. However, the seed
that started it is alive and spreading like a lethal dose of poison
throughout society.

“Porn is a multi-billion dollar business in the USA.”

“Five million new cases of STDs surface every year around the world.”

What books have influenced your life most? I loved Little Women and other books about strong women when I was a child, but I really became a mystery fan when I picked up a James Patterson book. I love the Cross series and have read every one of them. I’m also a big fan of Scottoline, Gerritsen, Hoag, Cornwell, and Sandra Brown.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Patterson, I suppose.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently writing a non-series book about two menopausal women who’ve been friends since infancy. Their misadventures include shopping for sex toys, using a cheating husband’s belongings for target practice, and coping with cruelty to animals and a debilitating illness.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Focusing. I think I have adult ADD. Seriously.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Persevere! Believe in yourself! And for Pete’s sake, edit thoroughly before you publish it.

Excerpt from Sin Creek:

But Taryn saved the day in the sweetest way. She stood beside
us and presented Chase and me with the Mason jar filled
with rainwater, now wrapped in ribbon. Everyone looked on
with great curiosity.

“Logan and Chase, as you begin your life together, know
that we all love you and wish you many happy and healthy years
together. And when you have your first child, use this rainwater—
which I caught on the first day of your life as husband and
wife—to baptize him. The water has been boiled and the jar sealed
until that day. May you both be blessed.”

Taryn got a standing ovation and I cried. I’d never heard of
such a charming gesture, and Chase and I would cherish the gift
until we had the opportunity to use it some years down the road.


  1. Bobbye, thanks for the interview. I hope folks will ask me a few questions.

  2. Sorry for not being here earlier--car trouble and have been gone. Susan, this subject really interests me because this is far more prevalent in society than people realize or want to believe, I think setting it where you did is pure genius!

  3. Susan and Bobbye,
    I enjoyed the interview and learning more about "Sin Creek". The title and cover have always caught my eye, being a southern gal myself:)
    Knowing the interior story makes it even more interesting. It's going on my "list" of reads:)
    And Susan, kudo's for tackling such a much needed story. Awareness is always the first step to redemption.

  4. Your book sounds interesting.I spent a summer working in Fayetteville, Wilmington, and Pine Hurst, I know the area. Would have never guessed college students were into that when I was there. The city of fayetteville had just purchased a block of strip joints when I was there some years ago. Times change and it is sad to see the morals of young people in our society decline so.
    But I think if you watch TV today, it's all too evident how the language, and sexual scenes in prime time have changed and anyone can watch even unsupervised young children. With cable channels full of hardcore porn, it' not any wonder people are numb to what they are seeing and reading. Many erotica books would have been considered porn 20+ years ago, but they sell like hotcakes in the e-book market and in this economy, everyone is trying to make a dollar.
    Good luck on writing a much needed book

  5. Hi, Susan and Bobbye,

    Sin Creek sounds like a worthy continuation of this mystery series. It's wonderful that you are tackling serious social problems via your novels.
    I've recently mystery novels by Sara Paretsky and Jacqueline Winspear that do as well. Very impressive!

  6. My 19 yr old daughter just went to college and it scares me to death to think of the things she's going to be faced with, this just cemented that fear and made me realize how desperate some young people are. Thank you for shedding light on a serious problem.

  7. Great interview, Susan. My to-be-read list has grown another notch. Kudos for tackling a little-known scourge.

  8. Susan, I commend you for tackling a very serious issue that is becoming far too prevalent in our society. Sin Creek is definitely a must read for any college age woman.

  9. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by. I appreciate it and know Susan does as well.

  10. Sounds like a book I'll have to read. What does it say about our society, that college-aged women even think of doing this? A classmate of mine, in one college class, was an exotic dancer. She did this to pay for college. She wanted to get out of that but the tip money was too good for her to stop. She was supporting her daughter besides needing money for school. Thanks for the interview.

  11. Your investigations stuns me. I knew porn existed, of course, since I do live in the 21st century, but I had no idea it spread into our universities to that extent. When my daughter was in college and took a film class, she told me about snuff movies, which scared the bejeesus out of me. I had thought the date rape drug was bad, but it's just the foot in the door. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I admire your courage in writing such a book. The research must have given you nightmares.