Sunday, May 31, 2020


I'm so happy to be a stop on the book tour for
Book 6 in the Dodie O'Dell Mysteries
by Suzanne Trauth

With Halloween just around the corner, Dodie O’Dell is making preparations to transform the Windjammer Restaurant on the Jersey Shore into a haunted house, while the Etonville Little Theatre is staging Dracula. But casting the titular Transylvanian is proving challenging. The amateur actors in the company are not shy about chewing the scenery, but who among them can convincingly sink their fangs into a victim's neck? When a mysterious newcomer with a transfixing Eastern European accent lands the part, rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who's recently been spotted in the town park.
But everyone’s blood really runs cold when a stranger is found in the cemetery with a real stake in his heart. Dodie decides to put her Halloween theme menu on the back burner and stick her neck out to bring the killer into the light of day. She'd better keep her wits about her, though—or Dodie may be the next one to go down for the Count . . .



3 lucky readers will each win a print copy of 


Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

Winner will be chosen after June 1 at the end of the tour.

This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours, not Lisa Ks Book Reviews.

LKBR:  Thank you for joining us today, Suzanne. Please tell us a bit about your book.

ST: KILLING TIME, is the sixth book in the Dodie O’Dell mystery series.

With Halloween coming later this week, Dodie, manager of the Windjammer restaurant in Etonville, New Jersey,  is making plans for a town costume party in the church basement. Next door to the restaurant, the Etonville Little Theatre is rehearsing Dracula, which opens in two days. It’s been a bumpy process since Etonville has developed vampire fever because a mysterious newcomer with a vaguely foreign accent lands the starring role. Rumors that he might be an actual vampire start to take flight—not unlike the bat who's recently been spotted in the town park!

And of course there’s a murder…a stranger found dead in the cemetery on Halloween night. Once more, Dodie needs to step up and follow a twisty trail of clues to flex her amateur sleuth muscles.

LKBR: What are you plans for this series?

ST: I wanted to have an arc to the series for my protagonist and her friends in Etonville, New Jersey. As the series progresses, readers get to see Dodie tackle a variety of challenges solving murders, getting romantically involved with Etonville’s police chief, and deep diving into the world of technology with the help of her teenage tech guru. All the while her best friends and neighbors are producing shows at the Etonville Little Theatre, next door to the Windjammer restaurant. Each book in the series features a different play so part of the fun is witnessing the members of the theatre struggle with the production process, as well as each other!

LKBR: Are you working on any new projects?

ST: I am. I have started a new standalone mystery novel, very different from the Dodie O’Dell series; I am also revising an historical novel that I began many, many years ago. Because I also write plays, I am working on a new script I hope to finish in the coming months.

LKBR: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

ST: I knew I wanted to be a writer at a very young age. In grade school I was already writing short stories and short plays. They were probably very bad! But by high school I was entering writing contests and actually winning prizes for an essay and a short story. I was hooked! So writing was something I did pretty consistently even as I pursued a career at a university teaching theatre classes in acting and directing. Eventually I wrote full time—fiction, plays, and screenplays.

LKBR: Was getting your first book published everything you thought it would be? The feelings? The process?

ST: I had been submitting and querying for so long (persistence is paramount!) that when Kensington Publishing offered me a three book contract I was ecstatic. From contract offer to the appearance of the first mystery was thirteen months so while I was learning the promotion and marketing process for that first book, I was writing the second book in the series. It kept me busy! There was a period when I was promoting the first, reading copyedits and page proofs of the second, and drafting the third. Writing a mystery series taught me the importance of deadlines, discipline, and a daily work ethic.

LKBR: How did you handle it when changes were made to your first manuscript? I don’t have a thick skin, so I know how I would have felt.

 ST: That’s a great question. I hired an editor once I had a manuscript of the first mystery – SHOW TIME – and he was extremely helpful. However, he did both developmental editing as well as line editing. Some days it felt as if he was writing my novel! I know other writers who have felt this way, too. However, I discovered that because he was so detailed with feedback on my first novel and helped me shape character, voice, plot etc., I was much better equipped to tackle books two through six when I was no longer working with him. So those initial changes really paid off for me and I was grateful for his advice.

LKBR: What is your favorite part of being a writer?

ST: I love the early part of the process once I know generally what a book is about, after I’ve done a lot of thinking and maybe a little outlining, and can let my imagination run wild. I know that whatever I produce will need to be revised, maybe heavily, but at this point I silence my inner critic and just go for it!

LKBR: Have you ever read a book that has stayed with you long after reading it?

ST: Lots…if I can only remember their titles! Seriously, there are a few that have stayed with me: ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, BELOVED, and the Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley series. All terrific reads, beautiful writing, specific, haunting settings. Totally captivating.

LKBR: Why are reviews, good or bad, so important to authors?

ST: I think reviews provide insights for the writer…what works, what doesn’t, where could the writer improve story/character/plot/setting. How could the writing be more engaging, appealing. Knowledge is power! Reviews provide usable information for the writer. That said, I think writers need to develop the aforementioned “thick skin”!

LKBR: On what sites do you recommend readers leave their reviews?

ST: I appreciate readers leaving their reviews on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And of course I love comments on the blog sites of the Great Escapes Tour so that I can comment as well!

LKBR: If you could spend one hour with a reader, what would you want to talk about?

ST: I’d like to ask any of my readers what they enjoyed about the series and what they wished to see more of. Which characters were appealing to them, where they could imagine the series going. I’d also like to ask them what other mystery writers they particularly enjoy…the answers would be illuminating for me.

LKBR: Thank you so much, Suzanne, for letting us get to know you better!

“It sure looks haunted,” Edna murmured to no one in particular, to the cast of Dracula in general. They were grouped around her on the sidewalk that ran past the old Hanratty place that Carlos and Bella had rented. I’d never been inside though once I’d driven by it when I first moved to Etonville on my way out of town. The house stood on half an acre of scruffy lawn with patches of dried dirt, surrounded by a few straggly trees—minus leaves at this time of the year—and no neighbors. The nearest houses were on a side street some distance away. The three-story building looked as if it might collapse at any moment, its outer walls covered with weathered, gray shakes, the steps to the front door supported by concrete building blocks. There was no handrail. Light leaked out of windows on the first floor. Curtains covering small, circular panes on the third story—an attic room?—quivered. Was someone up there watching us? I shivered. A turret rose upward from the right side of the structure, giving the house a smidge of outdated dignity. A drain pipe dangled loosely from the gutter.
“Let’s go.” Penny corralled actors and nudged everyone forward to the front door. There were six company members, Renfield saying he’d be along later, plus Penny, Lola, Pauli, and me. Strength in numbers.
We crept across the porch cautiously, aware of the creaking beneath us as the flooring shifted with each individual’s footsteps. Penny put out a hand to knock on the door. Before she could hit knuckles to wood, it flew open. “Welcome everyone!” Bella stood in the doorway, a silhouette backlit by muted foyer lighting.
Behind her Carlos stood silently, observing the group huddled in his entryway, like deer caught in headlights.
Lola took the lead, moving graciously into the house. “Thank you. So nice of you to invite us to your home.”
I’m not sure what the members of the Etonville Little Theatre were expecting. Given the exterior and location of the Hanratty homestead, I anticipated something out of a late-night classic horror film. 

About Suzanne Trauth

Suzanne Trauth, Harvard Studio, Montclair, NJ. 06/27/2014 Photo by Steve Hockstein/
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

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May 19 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT
May 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 20 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW
May 21 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Laura's Interests- CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 22 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
May 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 23 – Christy's Cozy Corners- CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
May 25 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
May 27 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
May 28 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW
May 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
May 30 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW
May 31 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
May 31 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 1 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

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  1. Thank you for the interview with Suzanne Trauth and for being part of the book tour for "KILLING TIME".

    Reading the excerpt confirms why this book is on my TBR list. Can't wait for the opportunity to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Thanks so much for including me on your blog as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour! Much appreciated!