Susan Coryell, Author of Red, Red Rose

Happy holidays to all!  Give a big welcome to Susan Coryell, author of Red, Red Rose, first cozy mystery/Southern Gothic in the Overhome Trilogy.

Have a seat and grab an insulated mug. I’ve got hot chocolate, hot cider and coffee. Choose your pot, they’re labeled. Pick your choice of a Snicker-doodle, Chocolate Chip or Peanut butter cookie from the plate. Yep, I baked them myself. Susan, tell us a little about yourself and writing Red, Red Rose.  Thanks for joining us!

What inspired this particular story?

A RED, RED ROSE is the first cozy mystery/Southern Gothic in the Overhome Trilogy. I was inspired to write it after viewing an old plantation property in Virginia rumored to be haunted. The other two novels evolved from there.

What secret do you use to blast through writer’s block?

If I feel unmotivated to write, I usually take a break—meander down to my dock to enjoy the lake view. If I am STUCK, I usually keep writing. I may delete a lot next day, but at least I have words on paper.

Who is your favorite character of all of the books you’ve written and Why?

Ashby Overton is my favorite character because she matures from a self-centered big city girl into a loving and caring family woman rooted in historic authenticity of the Old South. In the first book she is a twenty-something in search of self. BENEATH THE STONES finds Ashby five years later starting a writing career, planning to marry, and the owner of the family estate. NOBODY KNOWS culminates as Ashby, now thirty, faces such adult situations as marriage problems, career identity, and inclusion of extended family in need.

What inspired you to write?

I was born a writer. Actually, I think it is in my DNA as my grandfather was a published poet and two of my sibs are also published. All three of my children are authors and a few grand kids are already showing signs of writer-hood.

How long have you been writing?

I cannot remember a time when I did not write. I began with poems and diary entries, short stories and film scripts and moved on to novels.

What do you want your readers to take away from your books?

I feel theme is very important for quality literature (yes, I am an English major and a 30-year career English teacher). The ghosts that haunt my Overhome Trilogy are representative of the horrors of slavery that will forever prey on the minds and souls of Southerners. My writings contain multiple themes: the importance of family; the healing power of nature; the culture in the South as we deal with hard-felt, long-held ideals that clash with modernity.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I have always been physically active, even though reading and writing consume much of my time. I love yoga, kayaking, golf, boating, swimming and walking for exercise.

You’ve got a time machine, a cloak of invisibility, and one hour. Where would you go, and what eavesdropping would you do?

Without any doubt, I would go back to the 1600’s in England and sit in a seat at the Globe to watch a Shakespearean play and observe the other theater-goers. The best of all possible worlds would be to meet the Bard and try to fathom what he was all about.

Now what’s Red, Red Rose all about?

20-year-old Ashby Overton travels to her family’s historic estate in southern Virginia to spend the summer, hoping to unearth her ancestral roots and the cause of a mysterious family rift. Overhome, an imposing mansion, is an idyllic setting for Ashby, the aspiring romance writer. From her first night in her room in the oldest wing Ashby feels an enfolding presence, a force she never sees, only feels. Candles light themselves, notes from an old lullaby fall from the ceiling, the radio tunes itself daily. And roses meant for Ashby appear in unlikely places—a symbol of love? Or something dark, deep and evil? The summer leads Ashby on a suspenseful, sometimes terrifying journey as she navigates centuries of family strife along the puzzling parameters of the spirit world.

Can we have a peek between the pages of Red, Red Rose?

My reaching fingers brushed across a grainy surface and crumbling powder dusted my fingertips. Instantly, I recognized the metallic smell of rusting screens. I knew then I must be on the ancient screened porch tucked between the wings of the house, the crumbling porch with the antique rocking chairs. The ancient part of the house, reached only by the door in the keeping room. The music had led me here. Again the strains wafted over and around me, holding me captive as I stood, shivering, gazing at the dim light of my flickering candle.

The music stopped as abruptly as it had begun. Struggling to clear the cobwebs of sound spinning in my brain, I took a deep breath and looked around. I sensed rather than saw a movement in my periphery. When I turned I became aware of one of the rocking chairs. Gently, so as to be barely perceptive, the chair rocked itself back and forth as though someone invisible sat in it, enjoying the languorous, rhythmic motion. Rocking, rocking, rocking, without any sound of all.

Someone or something had led me here to witness it. Led me with the music. I had the evidence. On the decaying cane seat lay a single fresh rose just out of the bud.

A Red, Red Rose:

About the Author, Susan Coryell:

A career educator, Susan Coryell has taught students from 7th grade through college-level. She earned a BA degree in English from Carson-Newman College and a Masters from George Mason University. She is listed in several different volumes of Who’s Who in Education and Who’s Who in Teaching.  Coryell belongs to Author’s Guild, Virginia Writers, and Lake Writers. She loves to talk with budding writers at schools, writers’ conferences and workshops. Her young adult anti-bully novel EAGLEBAIT is in its third edition for print and e-book, updated with cyber-bullying. EAGLEBAIT won the NY Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age,” and the International Reading Association’s “Young Adult Choice.”

A RED, RED ROSE, first in a cozy mystery/Southern Gothic series, was nominated for a literary award with the Library of Virginia. BENEATH THE STONES, the sequel, was released in April of 2015. NOBODY KNOWS, the final novel in the Overhome Trilogy was published October, 2016.

A MURDER OF PRINCIPLE is under contract with The Wild Rose Press and will release in spring of 2018.

The author has long been interested in concerns about culture and society in the South, where hard-felt, long-held feelings battle with modern ideas.  The ghosts slipped in, to her surprise.

When not writing, Ms. Coryell enjoys boating, kayaking, golf and yoga. She and her husband, Ned, love to travel, especially when any of their seven grandchildren are involved.

Please visit Susan Coryell’s website: and her blog: or contact her on Facebook and Twitter.

Amazon Links:

A Red, Red Rose:

Beneath the Stones:

Nobody Knows:

It was wonderful having you with us today.  Please feel free to stop by anytime. Good Luck with Red, Red Rose!

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