Tell us a bit about HIDDEN OBSESSION. To start with, I was on Echo Cliff Point—that’s in Dragon Harbor, Maine—to investigate a suspicious death. In the fog, naturally. I don’t ever seem to get called out on sunny days. When I went to interview the only witness at her grandmother’s house, I met Sheri, um, Sheridan Harte. She was there to ghostwrite the grandmother’s memoir. Couldn’t take my eyes off her. I can’t tell you more about the case until the Major Crimes Unit releases the details. Sorry.
Let’s get back to Sheri then. What did you think the first time you saw her? First thing I noticed was those long legs and her full mouth. Hair the color of honey. I—oh, wait, you asked what I thought? She was damned buttoned up—except later when she laughed. Then she loosened up. Smart and observant, saw that from the beginning.
Is that all? How else would you describe her? Conscientious and loyal, and too independent sometimes for her own good. But I’ve said enough about that.
Then how would she describe you? She tells her friends I’m protective, too protective in her book, but that’s her independent streak talking. Maybe also that I’m focused on ferreting out the truth, making things right and just. Down side of that is I find it hard to trust people. Hazard of being a Maine state detective, being suspicious.
Understood, suspicion must go with the turf. Then, how do you relax? I like a game of softball. Used to play baseball in high school, but injured my knee. Sheri and I like to jog along the shore. My brother and I go fishing. In truth, I don’t get much time to relax, another hazard of the profession.
Thanks for this, Justin. Now, we'd like to chat with Susan.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? I began knowing that Sheridan Harte would be ghostwriting the memoir of an elderly woman. I’ve read very few memoirs, so I researched first how a memoir differs from a biography. Then I wanted to know how ghostwriters worked. I know someone who has done this, so I began by asking her a ton of questions. My next step was online, where I found several sites with advice on how to work with a client and how to structure a memoir. And although the story begins with Sheri and her client beginning to work on the project, that’s only a vehicle to put Sheri on that peninsula. It’s where she grew up and the place she has avoided for years.
What in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I’ve lived on the coast of Maine for over forty years, so building the story world on a Maine peninsula, similar to many I know was a natural. I feel it enabled me to set a mood and an atmosphere that enriched both the setting and the characters.
What books currently rest on your TBR pile? Whoa, I have too many, but here are three. Anne Gracie’s Captive Lady, an historical romance, not her newest, but a series I just discovered; Michael Connelly’s The Late Show, the start of a new mystery series for him; and Kat Martin’s The Conspiracy, a romantic suspense by one of my favorite authors.
Readers can contact me at www.susanvaughan.com. My books are in both print and digital formats, but the digital are only on Amazon.
Hidden Obsession is at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XFGJ6YF