In a community college writing course taught by poet and novelist Frank Gaspar, I submitted a one-page assignment that led to an invitation to his novel-writing workshop. The dark historical tale of two characters with psychic powers became my first published book in 1989 when St. Martin’s Press released RAPTURE’S LEGACY by Susan Phillips (not the same author as Susan Elizabeth Phillips). Under the name Susan Leslie Liepitz, I wrote time-travel romances for Jove Time Passages and a contemporary romance for Harlequin Temptation.
I have now taken my paranormal interests into the realm of supernatural suspense as well as narrative nonfiction, collaborating with private investigator, Deanne Acuña to write LOSING LISA: Intuitive Investigator, Book One and FINDING FAYE: Intuitive Investigator, Book Two.
Recently moving into Indie Publishing with the creation of Sweetbriar Creek Publishing Company, I released the Intuitive Investigator books and my backlist of novels, with plans to continue publishing new work in the future.
I have been a member of Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America since 1985, serving on the executive board for a number of years, including Co-President and Treasurer. I am also a member of Novelists, Inc., Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Las Vegas Romance Writers.
To read more about how I started writing, please see my blog post, “How Writing Has Influenced My Life”
A lifelong Californian, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada last year with my husband and a menagerie of dogs, cats, birds and fish.
Q & A
Q: Where were you born and raised?
A: I was born in San Diego, California and have lived in three different areas of the state—-El Cajon (east of San Diego), Dunsmuir (small railroad town in Southern Cascade Mountains), Downey, (suburb of Los Angeles) and Long Beach (15 minutes from Disneyland!). I now live in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: Playing “make-believe” that a huge boulder was a stagecoach!
Q: Where is your favorite vacation destination?
A: My friend and fellow writer, Jill Marie Landis, introduced me to the north shore of Kauai, Hawaii.
Q: Where is your favorite place that you have visited for researching a book?
A: Key West, Florida! I still hope to publish the supernatural suspense set there. When I was writing the book, I realized Key West is not a place that can be researched from a book or website. You must experience it!
Q: What is your favorite writing location?
A: My home office.
Q: Do you have a favorite teacher?
A: I have two —
First was my English teacher at Dunsmuir Junior High, Mrs. Grace Harris. She was the first person to encourage me to write. Years later, she traveled eight hundred miles to attend my first book-signing. I am also grateful for her gift of the Dunsmuir Centennial Book which led to my time-travel, This Time Together.
Second is my first writing instructor at Long Beach Community College, Frank X. Gaspar (author of Leaving Pico). After reading one of my assignments, he told me that it needed to be a book and invited me to join his novel-writing workshop. That single page became the first page of the first chapter of my first book, Dark Covenant. Three years later, the book was published by St. Martin’s Press under a new title, Rapture’s Legacy.
Q: What is your favorite novel?
A: It is hard to pick! I have so many friends who have written fabulous books that I can’t pick just one. In all fairness, if I don’t count my friends’ books, I have to say it is What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. (The movie with Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding, Jr. was great but it couldn’t begin to cover all of the metaphysical/spiritual connotations of the afterlife that Matheson handled so beautifully in the novel.)
Q: What is your favorite nonfiction book on writing?
A: Again…there are so many! I’d have to say it is a tie —
Q: What is your favorite music for writing?
A: Anything from composer John Barry who is best known for his film scores (Somewhere In Time, Dances With Wolves, Out of Africa, Midnight Cowboy)
Q: What is your favorite music for meditation?
A: “Dream Suite” CD by Suzanne Ciani
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: Somewhere In Time.
Q: What was your first job?
A: A department store clerk during Christmas while I was attending college.
Q: What was your first fun job?
A: Working an aerobics instructor/weight loss motivator at Richard Simmons’ Anatomy Asylum
Q: What was the oddest job that you’ve had?
A: Well, it wasn’t a paid job because I was a volunteer. I was a Whalewatch Naturalist—a fancy name for a trained narrator for boat tours to view whales & dolphins in the wild. Our compensation from the tour boats went to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Q: What is on your “bucket list”?
A: To scuba dive in Fiji. I was very close to getting my diving certification but had to quit due to an injury. I haven’t made it back yet but I will!
Q: What is your daily schedule?
A: My ideal schedule—when I am able to follow it!—is to get up at 5:30 a.m., walk my two dogs, Ben and Maile, breakfast, exercise/strength-training, run errands, lunch, write, dinner, work on laptop while watching TV with my husband, 11 p.m. bedtime.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: I’m looking forward to completing the task of re-issuing my previously published books so I can be free to pursue new projects. I am particularly eager to write the sequel to MYSTIC MEMORIES. Please sign up for my newsletter to receive notices of the dates. I promise I will not fill your email box with continuous newsletters. I plan to limit them to publication news only. Thanks for visiting me here at my website!