Susan Holmes penned her first story at the age of four. Despite the brevity (three pages of crayoned text) and the title (“Three Bears Visit New York City”) her father gave it the same careful consideration he gave to C. F. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series. When he finished the story he announced, “You are going to be a writer.”
To be a writer, of course, one must also be a reader. In the pre-digital world that meant a trip to the local library (a very long walk across town, requiring an escort/bodyguard in the form of her older brother) where a new world awaited. By the fifth grade she’d progressed to Shakespeare, an experience that came in handy when she was stationed in England at the start of her military career. For the next twenty years, she wrote stories about the lands and the people she met around the world.
She spent much of her military years writing and editing all sorts of materials, tailoring the voice and content to the target audience. She produced the books Quality Approach and the Process Improvement Guide as part of the Air Force’s Total Quality initiatives. That proved great training when she moved into academic publishing and then into poetry and fiction. Today, she lives in northwest Arkansas where she works as a writer, editor, and college professor.
Her third book, Deadly Ties is the first in the Waterside Kennels mystery series. The series is set in northwest Arkansas using both real and fictional settings. In pursuit of authentic material for the series, she joined Search and Rescue exercises, ventured deep into caves, and followed the trail of Ozark legends. Years working as a publicist for professional artists provided the background for the art elements of the story. Technical details came from experts in the fields of bioarcheology, forensic anthropology, and even fire sciences. She worked closely with dog trainers, kennel owners, and veterinarians to create an environment that dog lovers are sure to recognize and appreciate.