Susan Bernhardt is an author living in Wisconsin. Like Kay Driscoll in her cozy mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy, Susan is a retired public health nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc. Her other published works include "October 31st", "Midsummer", and "John and Madeline."
Susan's town in northern Wisconsin was an inspiration for the quaint setting of her novel. She lives with her husband, William, and has two sons, Peter and David.
When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained-glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.
Visit Susan on the web at the Susan Bernhardt Website.
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A Personal Challenge by Susan Bernhardt
I have been an avid reader of mysteries from the time I was a young girl reading the Nancy Drew series. One of my favorite cozy mystery authors is M.C. Beaton. She writes the Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series. Several years ago while reading one of her novels, I thought I could do this...I could write a cozy mystery. And that moment was my seed of Inspiration. It was a personal challenge.
I came up with the idea of writing about ginseng. Ninety-five percent of American cultivated ginseng is grown in Wisconsin where I live. Living close to a college, I decided that a professor who was researching the local ginseng crop, would discover some alarming findings in the analysis of the ginseng samples resulting in his murder.
I draw from real life experiences so I decided that the protagonist would be Kay Driscoll a newcomer to Sudbury Falls who volunteered at her local free clinic, much like I was a newcomer to an insular town in northern Wisconsin and also volunteered at the local free clinic.
When I decided to indeed write this cozy mystery, I took several writing courses over two years. I joined writing groups and wrote a manuscript that I revised five times before enlisting my son, Peter and friend, Lorenzo to be co-editors of my cozy mystery. I queried a number of agents and then decided to go directly to publishing houses. I queried MuseItUp Publishing. They accepted my manuscript, and the rest is history.
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Back of the Cover of The Ginseng Conspiracy:
On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls.
With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.
Buy Links for The Ginseng Conspiracy by Susan Bernhardt:
I had no idea ginseng was grown in Wisconsin. Did you? Do you have a crop, a product, a landmark, a famous person (besides you) in your area? Leave a comment here and tell us about it. Your comment will automatically enter you in the drawing to win Susan's cozy mystery.