Monday, December 16, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Susan Miura

Is there a story behind Show Me a Sign?
I live by a school where all the students learn to sign, so there are a lot of hearing impaired children who attend. I thought it was a great concept, and started developing a plot with a deaf heroine. My books always have characters of varied cultures because I want my writing to reflect God’s love for all people, so it just makes sense to also include characters with different physical or mental abilities, skills and talents, strengths and weaknesses, etc.  

What started you on your writing journey?
In school, writing was the one assignment I loved more than any other. In third or fourth grade, I won an Arbor Day poetry award (do we still celebrate Arbor Day?), which got me hooked. In high school and college, I worked on the school newspapers, then got a job as a reporter a week after graduating. Eventually, I went into public relations. Writing has been a great way to earn money, but I wanted to write stories that captivate, inspire, and honor God. I hope my books and short stories accomplish that.    

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
I’d say my favorite all-time book (very hard to choose) is Catching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent, which is actually third in a series and I still haven’t read the first two. Thanks to my side job as a reviewer for, I’ve come to appreciate many genres I previously didn’t read. (Though horror is still off the table because I’m a scaredy cat.) Still, my favorites tend to be young adult, (which probably speaks to my maturity level). I also love Biblical fiction and have enjoyed reviewing books by Jill Eileen Smith, like the Wives of King David series and the Wives of the Patriarch’s series. I love the imagery and flow of books by Lisa Samson and Patti Lacy. And I still derive great pleasure from anything by John Steinbeck, a master storyteller. Michael Crichton books really captivate me, too. Once I started reading Prey I couldn’t put it down. As you see, my faves are all over the place!   

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
When I was working at a restaurant on Sandia Peak Mountain in New Mexico, I managed to convince one of the tram operators to let me ride ON TOP of the tram, where I held onto the metal piece that attaches to the cable. The tram car goes from an elevation of about 6,500 feet to more 10,000 feet over the Cibola National Forest. It was an incredibly scary and exciting experience. Probably stupid, too, but I was 22 and indestructible.     

What is your favorite season of the year? 
Autumn, hands down. The colors of the leaves just blow my mind. I love nature, and I think autumn is when God does some of His best work.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Nope – I usually do those things first so I can scratch them off the “to do” list. My one downfall is probably the papers and junkmail that sometimes accumulate on our kitchen counter. Hate that stuff. If I were president, junk mail would be illegal. (And yes…I realize I might have to tackle more pressing issues first.)

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
LOVE this question because another side job I have is giving travel presentations. In the past few years I’ve been to Sicily and Greece, which both provided opportunities to experience breathtaking beauty. Sitting on a cliff top, open-air restaurant in Santorini with my sister, looking out at the remnants of an ancient volcano in the bay, will be forever etched into my memory. But…of all the gorgeous places I’ve been, there’s a special place in my heart for Wisconsin, where we’ve had so many fun family vacations. I think it’s really important for parents to take vacations with kids, and it doesn’t matter if it’s somewhere exotic or a few days at a hotel in the next town. Just getting away as a family and having playtime together creates a wonderful bond and great memories. My kids are 16 and 21, and we all still love our trips.  

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
I visited the Valley of Temples in Sicily and plan on using it in a young adult novel I’m writing. The Valley is an archeological site in Agrigento where there are remnants from seven temples built about 2,500 years ago. It’s an amazing place.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
For reflecting and praying, the path around my lake is number one. (Okay, it’s not really “my” lake, but my house is on the lake, so in my head, it’s mine.) There’s a nice walking path where I can just think and pray as I look out at the sky and water. The best time is when it’s raining, because there’s nobody else around. Or sunset, because the water reflect the beautiful colors of the sky.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I don’t have an official contract, but my OakTara editor for Show Me a Sign is interested in Healer, another young adult novel. A few more tweaks and it will be on its way. I wrote the first draft about seven years ago and thought it was wonderful. It was not, but has been through a gazillion revisions and I do believe it’s ready. In it, 16-year-old Shilo discovers she has the spiritual gift of healing. While she wants to honor God, she also wants desperately to hold onto her boyfriend and normal teen life. 

Back Cover

Seventeen-year-old Nathan Boliva is under investigation by the FBI for a kidnapping he didn’t commit. Deaf and beautiful Haylie Summers agree to go on a date with him, then disappeared the day before. When the Feds discover a text was sent from Nathan’s cell phone, asking Haylie to meet him behind her garage, Nathan becomes a prime suspect.
Tied and blindfolded, Haylie struggles to grasp Nathan’s role in her captivity. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would kidnap her. Then again, if  he didn’t, who is holding her hostage, and why?

Desperate to solve the crime and rescue Haylie, Nathan and his best friend, Alec, set out at midnight to gather intel…and end up with far more than they bargained for.

To buy her book

About Susan:
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, longing for a horse and reading books by Marguerite Henry, Walter Farley and Anna Sewell. After attaining my goal of becoming a newspaper reporter, I moved to New Mexico, until my heart led me back home to Illinois. Love, marriage, children and a career in public relations made for a challenging and satisfying life, but I still needed a release for the stories in my head. When they wouldn’t stay captive any longer, I began a fiction journey, rough and rocky, but blessed with people who loved, mentored, cheered, taught, critiqued and believed in me.

In addition to my full-time job and writing fiction, I write a column for a daily newspaper, review books for and give travel presentations. I am a member of Willow Creek Community Church and the American Christian Fiction Writers. My lakeside home, where I live with my husband, children and Cleo-the-cat, is located near the school that inspired Show Me a Sign’s Beethoven High School. Additionally, my large, multicultural family serves as an inspiration for all of my stories. 

To connect with Susan:

Susan Miura is giving away a copy of Show Me a Sign. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


Jackie McNutt said...

So nice learning about Susan and her book Show Me a Sign. Looks like a good story line and characters sound intriguing.
Thank you

cjajsmommy said...

I like young adult fiction also. It is lighter and always guaranteed to be clean. I'd love to read "Show Me a Sign" and then share it with a homeschooling family that is learning ASL. cjajsmommy [at] gmail [dot] com

Patricia Bradley said...

Were you crazy? Riding on the top of a tram? :-) It's probably something I would've done at 22. Not so much anymore. My sister is deaf, and even though she never learned sign, she did learn to read lips and I often forget she can't hear. Would love to win your book! pat at ptbradley dot com

Linda Kish said...

I have a serious problem with junk mail, too. I need to slog through it later today. I just keep putting it off.

The book sounds wonderful. I'd love to read it.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

sm said...

Like your book plot with a deaf heroine. It should be good. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Susan Johnson said...

This looks like an interesting book.

Jennifer Valent said...

Susan, what a blessing this was for me. Your review of Catching Moondrops has been a huge encouragement to me, and I wish you the very best in your writing career! Can't wait to read the book!

susan miura said...

Just saw all these great comments! In answer to "were you crazy?" -- that would be a resounding YES. Thank you to everyone for your encouragement and kind words. I wish I could give you all a copy of the book. And Jennifer, I was excited to see a comment from one of my favorite authors!

Michelle Welsh said...

I'd love to read this book and to share it with my kids also. I enjoyed learning about the author. It sounds like she has lots of material for future books if she includes the places that she has travelled and some of her adventures like riding the top of the tram. Congratulations!

Merry Christmas!

Michelle Welsh

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