It’s time for another edition of Forensic Lenses
An investigative and exploratory approach into the minds of voracious readers everywhere.
Today we’ll be spending time with award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair.
Suzanne is an award-winning author of historical crime fiction set during the American Revolution. She is also one of our talented participating authors in this years Mystery Thriller Week event Feb. 12-22. Don’t miss it!
Suzanne currently has two series:
The Blacksmith’s Daughter
Regulated for Murder
A Hostage to Heritage
When you read a book, what is your perception? What do you really see?
We all perceive things a bit differently. The subtle shifts in perception makes all the difference from person to person. The faculty of sight may be the same, however the interpretation and reflection is quite different. Different indeed.
Now come, let us see through the eyes of yet another talented author…
*Who shaped your reading experience as a child?
Preschool, my reading experience was shaped by my mother, a schoolteacher. After that it was shaped by peers, popular television shows like Star Trek, and the Space Program. (I’m a native of Florida.)
I really appreciate how important early reading experiences are. They help sow the seeds that develop much later in life.
*Which books had the most impact on you in the early years?
In elementary school I devoured books in the Nancy Drew series. I also enjoyed biographies of women like Sacajawea and Abigail Adams. Later I shifted to reading classic science fiction, horror, historical fiction, and mysteries.
I’ve heard many authors begin with the Nancy Drew series! Sounds like you have a wide ranging interest in books.
*How did you develop a love for history?
That didn’t happen until I’d graduated from high school—where I had to memorize dates and details of long-ago battles without much context—and had the room to appreciate Florida’s fascinating history. When I studied history on my own, I discovered how horribly biased high-school history had been. History became fascinating because it was no longer sanitized.
Oh wow. You had quite an eye opening experience. I wonder why history books are biased? I’m sure that would open up a few can of worms!!
*Did you read historical fiction or texts in high school?
Yes, I read biographies of people who’d lived centuries earlier. I tried reading historical romances, but although the historical periods often inspired me to research them on my own, the characters did not appeal to me.
Wow. Not too many teenagers read historical biographies. This is rather impressive. If I were to start with biographies it’d be deathly boring. Reading historical fiction would have the reverse effect however.
*Which books developed your love for science fiction?
Most fiction written by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, H.P. Lovecraft, and Poul Anderson. Andre Norton’s “Witchworld.” Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern.” Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Darkover.”
Great group of authors!!
*What sources do you read for American history?
In the last twenty years, there’s been a surge of research published by scholars and historians on the Southern theater of the American Revolution. That’s the setting for my series, and in the back of each of my novels, I include a one-page bibliography of those works that were helpful.
Oh good. I hope to get a copy of a few of your books soon.
*Name 3 of your favorite historical people.
Enheduanna, Hannibal Barca, Dag Hammarskjöld
Yikes. Never heard of these guys.
*Name 3 things you hate about American history education.
Only three? Gee. It downplays or omits the successes of the “enemy” while downplaying or omitting American mistakes. It offers almost no hands-on interaction with historical elements, so it’s boring. And you don’t learn specific examples of how history repeats itself.
Now I can smell the bias there. It’s amazing what we willingly omit from the truth.
*What draws you to the American Revolution?
Religion was losing its stranglehold over people’s thinking as well as the running of governments during that time. Scientific thinking and processes were emerging as acceptable. Women also had more freedoms during the Revolution than they did prior to the war or for more than a century afterward. And with industry gaining momentum, the average person was no longer totally dependent upon handmade items.
*Besides the revolution what are your favorite parts of history?
I’m fascinated with early civilizations, such as the people of the Indus Valley, Anatolia, and Sumer. However some periods of history I avoid because they’ve been done to death: Tudor, Elizabethan, Regency, Victorian, and recently WW1.
I have interest in the early civilizations as well. Most recently, the early native Americans.
“History is formed by the people, those who have power and those without power. Each one of us makes history.”-Anselm Kiefer
*Name historical fiction authors or books you enjoy.
Ellis Peters, Mary Stewart, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ashley Gardner, Daphne du Maurier.
Thanks! I always love good recommendations.
*Who are your favorite science fiction characters?
I have a soft spot for many of the characters (guests and regulars) of Star Trek: the Original Series as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also Lois McMaster Bujold’s protagonist Cordelia Naismith in Shards of Honor and Barrayar; and Maggie Black, protagonist in Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife. And, of course, Princess Leia.
Hard not to like the old Star Trek classics. I love what they’ve done with the new series too. I’m a big fan of the Fringe, Star Wars, 100 etc. The list go on and on…
At the Scene of the Crime…
*Name 3-5 pet peeves as a reader.
o Breaking a promise to the reader or otherwise not playing fair
o Creating a stupid villain or antagonist
o Dumping in pages of description or backstory that can easily be skipped
o Giving a protagonist unmerited rewards
*If you were a time traveler where would you go?
One that would bother me the most would be a stupid villain. I personally believe that ruins the entire story.
*Which historical customs would you bring into our society?
o Courtesy and politeness. In my lifetime, I’ve seen people become outrageously rude.
Instead of finding it appalling, society now considers rudeness entertainment.
o A thirst for knowledge. Where have all the critical thinkers gone?
I always enjoy seeing the different responses to this question. Your last response is rather intriguing.
*If you had to marry someone in the American Revolution who would it be?
It would be someone with many of John Adams’s qualities, but he needn’t necessarily be a patriot. In addition to being intelligent, Adams recognized and appreciated the intelligence of women. He didn’t chase petticoats like Ben Franklin did. He wasn’t a party animal like his cousin Sam, or Paul Revere, or John Hancock. (Wow, get those three together, and they’d drink all your booze.) He wasn’t weird, like Thomas Jefferson was. He also didn’t allow sentiment to derail his logic, demonstrated by his ability to successfully represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston “Massacre.”
Wonderful. I need to learn more about John Adams. I have a book about him buried deep in my TBR list.
Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in North Carolina. Her mysteries transport readers to the Southern theater of the American Revolution, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and hiking.
Social media links:
Universal buy link for Deadly Occupation: Click here
Description for Deadly Occupation:
A wayward wife, a weapons trafficker, and a woman with “second sight”—it’s a puzzle that would have daunted any investigator. But Michael Stoddard wasn’t just any investigator. Late January 1781, in coastal North Carolina, patriots flee before the approach of the Eighty-Second Regiment, leaving behind defenseless civilians to surrender the town of Wilmington to the Crown. The regiment’s commander assigns Lieutenant Michael Stoddard the tasks of tracking down a missing woman and probing into the suspicious activities of an unusual church. But as soon as Michael starts sniffing around, he discovers that some of those not-so- defenseless civilians are desperately hiding a history of evil.
Thanks for stopping by!!! Don’t be a stranger…