Susan Furlong grew up in North Dakota where she spent long winters at her local library scouring the shelves for mysteries to read. Now, she lives in Illinois with her husband and children and writes mysteries of all types, from cozies to dark suspense. She has over a dozen published novels and her work has earned a spot in the New York Times list of top crime fiction books of the year. When not writing, she volunteers at her church and spends time with her family hiking, fishing, and playing board games.
Harlequin: Tell us about yourself. Our readers want to know!
Susan Furlong: I grew up as part of a close-knit family, and my favorite childhood memories were made in our kitchen as my grandmother, mom and her sisters prepared family meals. Stories and laughter always filled the house. Those happy memories from family get-togethers inspire my writing and are a big part of why family relationships play an important role in every story I write.
H: Why did you want to become a romance writer?
SF: I write across genres: mystery, thrillers and romantic suspense. My goal is to write a powerful story with relatable characters who face unusual challenges. I strive to place my characters in a vice grip of conflict, push them to the brink of good vs. evil, and watch the moral fallout of their decisions. The story is even better when romance is a part of the characters’ journeys, because what is more motivating and compelling than love?
H: What were the big steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
SF: When our children were young, I wrote on contract for an academic publisher, developing and editing online resources for middle schoolers. I enjoyed my work, but always had the desire to write fiction. I finally tried writing a short story, and with my husband’s encouragement, submitted it. It was accepted! That gave me the confidence to try writing novels. My manuscripts received many years of rejections, but in 2013, a small press picked up two of my books. Then another manuscript caught the eye of an agent. That novel was never published, but it earned a work-for-hire contract with Penguin Random House under a penname. Since then, I’ve been blessed to be able to continue writing stories.
H: What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
SF: Read a lot. Write a lot. And keep submitting your stories.
H: What did you do when you got the call from Harlequin?
SF: My agent called with the good news, and I tried to remain calm on the phone, but as soon as I hung up, I did a happy dance. Then I told my family, and they were thrilled for me. We celebrated with a special dinner.
Now let’s hear from the editor, Kathryn Lye:
Susan’s writing stood out immediately. Her ability to capture all elements of the scene and make her characters relatable made me feel as if I was part of the story. Instantly engaging, the story drew me into the action from the first few sentences. That is a truly unique gift in a writer. I couldn’t pass up reading more and knew right then that we had to acquire this book and have Susan as a Harlequin author.