Book Beat Babes

Book Beat Babes

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Visit with Denise Swanson, NYT Best Selling Author, by DL Larson

Please welcome New York Times Best Selling Author, Denise Swanson!

Denise Swanson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Scumble River and the Devereaux’s Dime Store mystery series. Denise writes from her experiences as a school psychologist, small town girl, and snoop. Her most recent book is Murder of a Stacked Librarian (September 2013) featuring Skye Denison, school psychologist. Up next, is Dead Between the Lines (March 2014) featuring Devereaux Sinclair financial advisor turned dime store owner and now reluctant hostess to the Stepping Out Book Club.

Denise lives in Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr, and their cool black cat Boomerang.!/DeniseSwansonAuthor had the chance to interview Denise about her writing career ...

. What inspired you to become a writer?
I really don’t know that there was any one incident that inspired me. I’ve been a voracious reader all my life and I often ran out of books to read before the next trip to the library. (I lived in the country and only was able to go into town once a week) So I started writing my own stories, mostly to entertain myself.

2. What part of the writing process do you enjoy most?
Having written. Okay, really, I like the second draft. Once I get the bare bones of the story written in the first draft and have a beginning, middle, and end, I love adding the details, the emotions, the clues, and the humor.

3. You're a NYT best seller! Tell us about that ~ how did you celebrate ~ how did you find out ~ how did that change your life as an author?
~ The first time, editor called me, told me to sit down, and then told me that Murder of a Wedding Belle had made the NYT list. I thought she was joking since that book was number 12 in the series it was virtually unheard of for such a late book in a series to make the list. My husband was out of town on business and my mother was away on a day trip, so I had to wait nearly 24 hours before I could share the news with them, or anyone else since I wanted them to be the first to know. My husband and I celebrated by going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. The biggest change is that both my publisher and my agent seem to take me more seriously. Moving up from a midlist author to an NYT bestselling author is a huge career boost.

4. What are you working on now? Another series? Please share what you can!
I’m currently writing two books a year—Murder of a Needled Knitter, #17 in the Scumble River, series comes out next September and Dead Between the Lines, #3 in the Devereaux’s Dime Store series, comes out in March. I’m working #4 in the Dime Store series right now. I’m also writing a contemporary romance with the intention of indie publishing it and two others, when all three are complete.

5. What is your writing regimen? Do you use an outline or let your characters take you on a journey?
I write seven days a week from 8AM until midafternoon. I use a loose outline, but sometimes the characters have other ideas, and I allow them to take over.

6. How do you reward yourself for your accomplishments?
This is going to sound corny, but being able to make a living doing what I love is really all the reward I need. Hearing from readers whose lives’ I’ve influenced is icing on the cake.

7. What are you reading right now?
No Easy Hope by James Cook, which is a zombie novel, and The Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor, which is women’s fiction.

8. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Overall, Charlaine Harris. In mystery, Carolyn Hart, Margaret Maron, Heather Blake, Marcia Talley, Sara Rosett. In romance, Margaret Watson, Ann Macela, Adrienne Giordano, Bella Andre, Susan Mallery, Jenny Crusie, Rachel Gibson. In horror, Stephen King. In urban fantasy, Kim Harrison, Kelly Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Rachel Cain. In women’s fiction Mary Kay Andrews.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
The slogan I have taped over my computer is: It’s not how good you are. It’s how bad you want it.

I love that! "It's not how good you are, it's how bad you want it!"

Thank you, Denise, for being with us today.

DL Larson


  1. Welcome to BBB, Denise! Thanks for the interview and I wish you much success on your new release! I love your advice for writers: how good you are vs. how badly you want it. Priceless!

    1. Thanks, Deb! Love that quote myself!

  2. It couldn't happen to a nicer person! I'm so glad you made the NY Times Bestseller list. I can imagine it would be so surprising after 11 previous books in the series.

    Morgan Mandel

    1. Thank you, Morgan! It was an unbelievable moment.

  3. Hi Denise!

    I met you at our Spring Fling writers' conference last time around. I was sitting next to you at the book signing. Gotta love alphabetical order, right? I picked up a bookmark for "Little Shop of Homicide". I read it and was immediately addicted! I can't wait for the new one in the series coming soon.

    I've also devoured all of the Scumble River books. All of your books are must reads for me: I even write their release dates in my planner so I can grab them as soon as they come out!

    So nice to have you here!