Sunday 26 February 2023

The Story Behind the Story with Susan Bernhardt of Wisconsin, US.


Let’s welcome Susan back.

This is not her first visit to the Scribbler and we are always happy to share her latest news.


If you missed her earlier visit, please go HERE.


Over to you, Susan.



Susan's town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of her Kay Driscoll novels. Like Kay Driscoll in her cozy mysteries, Susan is a retired nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. She also writes the Irina Curtius mysteries which take place in Manhattan.

An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc., and the Wisconsin Writers Association.

Her published works include: The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1), Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2), Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3), Paradise Can Be Murder (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 4), Murder Misunderstood (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 5), The Neighborhood (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 6), A Manhattan Murder Mystery (An Irina Curtius Mystery), Dress to Kill (An Irina Curtius Mystery), "October 31st", "Midsummer", and "John and Madeline.



Working Title: The Neighborhood 



Synopsis: A new City Planner and his "Stepford wife" move into Kay Driscoll's neighborhood. The city of Sudbury Falls has a planning committee headed by this newly hired city planner intent on building a dam in the Sudbury River. The purpose, to create a lake for waterfront property featuring high-priced, luxury condominiums that the locals could never afford.

An uproar arises among the citizens who are passionate about the natural beauty of the Sudbury River. A newly formed Sudbury River Protection Society attracts Kay Driscoll and her friends with their “Save the River” movement.

When a murder occurs in the neighborhood, the unexpected happens. Chief Kirk asks Kay for her help in investigating the crime. What is up his sleeve? In the meantime Elizabeth's ex-husband shows up at her book signing after a five-year absence, Deirdre has a community feng shui-inspired May Day celebration at Planetary Herbals, and Janey goes on her first date.

Welcome back to Kay's world.



The Story Behind the Story: Why did I write this mystery? The truthful reason I wrote this sixth Kay Driscoll mystery is simply because writing seems to be in my blood. I can't imagine not writing. And I write to entertain, mostly through the characters, the plot of the story, and dry humor.

My first book was released in January 2014 by a Canadian publisher. I started writing the mystery five years previous to the publication date taking a number of writing classes.

What inspired the book? The environment is important for everyone. And not to be destroyed for the chosen rich. This idea became a focus for The Neighborhood. The book focuses on a small, but important level, on the lives of those living in the fictional Sudbury Falls. In real life, big companies, businesses, and industries are creating havoc in our environment and on the world.



Author Page on Facebook:



A question before you go, Susan: Can you tell us the perfect setting you have, or desire, for writing? Music or quiet? Coffee or tequila? Neat or notes everywhere?


I've always been fascinated with romantic ideas of where authors write. Perhaps I had seen too many movies, but when I became an author, I pictured myself looking out of a second floor palazzo window onto the Grande Canal in Venice, with a glass of Prosecco beside my desk, pounding away on the keyboard.

Three years ago my husband and I did visit Venice and we stayed in a palazzo but there wasn't a balcony and if there had been, it wouldn't have looked out over the Grande Canal. But we did share a bottle of Prosecco in our room. If only I had brought my writing along.

Or I might be in NYC working in an Upper West Side Brownstone where I could practically touch the tree outside of my window. In between paragraphs, I'd watch the hustle and bustle of the street below with the only things on my mind being my novel and trying to decide which neighborhood eatery I would try that evening, Indian, Thai or Italian.

I've sort of lived out this a mystery where part of it takes place in this exact setting, a Brownstone on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

A Victorian home, a "Painted Lady" in San Francisco would be cool, looking out over the San Francisco Bay, hearing the cable cars in the distance and the seagulls above. I'd try to finish a chapter before meeting friends in North Beach at a coffee bar.

We have lived in the San Francisco Bay area and often times walked the different parts of the city including North Beach. But I wasn't writing then.

I recently was able to live out one of my romantic ideas of where to write. I went on holiday with my husband to the Caribbean and wrote on the powdery, white beach where I could look up and view the surreal, blue-green water. Between writing, I went for a swim and saw dozens of beautiful tropical fish in the crystal clear waters. Now that is romantic and I lived it completely! Paradise Can Be Murder (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 4) is the result.

But most of the time, I'm at home sitting on my sofa in our living room with my laptop on my lap typing away. There's a wall-sized window where I can look out over our neighborhood or watch the birds build their nests in our yew tree in the spring. I have a little make-shift side table, a Red Wing crock where I keep my teacup filled throughout the day. And when I'm not watching my carbs, I often have a scone sitting next to the teacup slathered in lemon curd and clotted cream.




These all sound like enjoyable creative settings, Susan. Thanks for being our guest this week. Wishing you the best of luck with the new novel and wishing you continued success with your writing.




And as usual, a tremendous thank you to our visitors and readers.


A question for you: What is your all-time favorite book you’ve read many times?


  1. Thank you so much, Allan, for having me as your guest on The Scribbler. I appreciate your support.

  2. Janice J. Richardson26 February 2023 at 16:06

    Great interview, Susan!

    1. Thank you for visiting, Janice. And your nice comment. It's always fun having Susan as a guest.

  3. Thank you so much, Janice! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  4. I believe the title of the blog is perfect. Scribbling is a necessity for writers. Yes, Susan, I thought #5 was the last book! Ha...a writer forever. I enjoyed this book about the Neighborhood. The ending caught me off guard! Best wishes for success with The Neighborhood! J Q Rose

    1. Thank you so much, J Q. I'm happy you enjoyed The Neighborhood. It was great fun to write the mystery. It's kind of hard to stop writing. I thought for a while the 6th Kay Driscoll might be the last as well. I didn't have it in me to leave my characters. :)

    2. Thanks for visiting and your nice comment.


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