Welcome Back Susan Santangelo

I am so delighted to welcome Susan back. I was lucky to read an advanced copy of Politics Can Be Murder. I said this: Reading Susan Santangelo’s books is like taking a masterclass in voice. Local politics, dogs, and the always funny Carol Andrews make the ninth book in the Baby Boomer Mystery series, Politics Can Be Murder, a clear winner. Susan will give away a Kindle copy to one reader who leaves a comment.

Here’s a bit about the book: The hit-and-run death of a schoolmate rocks Carol Andrews’ world. The tragic accident, still unsolved, soon becomes a rallying cry for pedestrian safety in an upcoming town council election. Ignoring the advice of her husband, who points out that she knows nothing at all about the political arena, Carol eagerly signs on to manage the election campaign of a new-to-politics female candidate. But when the always nosy Carol goes beyond her job description and starts asking too many questions, she discovers that politics can be a murky world of hidden secrets, greed, and murder.

Susan: I’m often asked by readers how I come up with ideas for my Baby Boomer mysteries. I always start with a title in mind, and the plot develops from there.  “Politics Can Be Murder” had been rolling around in my brain for a long time, and I finally decided to write the book to coincide with the presidential election year.  

I’ve always been interested in politics. I remember watching the 1956 Democratic and Republican conventions on a small black and while television in my parents’ living room when I was a little girl. The Republican party nominated Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon as their candidates for a second term. The real drama was at the Democratic convention. Former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson won the presidential nomination on the first ballot, but the fight for vice president took several ballots to decide. The contest was between Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver and Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy. Watching the intense lobbying on the convention floor was like watching a dramatic play, except it was real life.

When it came time to select a major course of study in college, I chose history and political science, and minored in creative writing. I wanted to become a political reporter, like my heroes, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Of course, life never happens the way you expect it to. I never became political reporter, realizing pretty early that my writing style was more appropriate to feature writing for magazines and newspapers than reporting “hard news.” But I got a chance to be in the thick of a real political campaign when my husband, a reporter assigned to cover the New Jersey statehouse, was tapped to be press secretary for the incumbent gubernatorial candidate who was, at the time, not favored to win. Our whole family got involved in the campaign, and to our utter amazement, our candidate pulled off an amazing victory. My husband was then appointed the governor’s permanent press secretary, and I began working on what turned out to be a losing U.S. Senate campaign. My next foray into politics, in the 1980s as deputy campaign manager in a congressional campaign, was more successful. It even included my becoming the temporary liaison between the Governor’s office and the White House when President Carter made a trip to New Jersey to campaign for my candidate. I still have my Secret Service i.d. pin.

The protagonist in “Politics Can Be Murder,” Carol Andrews, gets involved in a local political campaign because of the unsolved hit and run death of a school friend. Her candidate is a local businesswoman whose platform is all about pedestrian safety in town – more crosswalks, traffic lights etc. She has no previous political experience, but is determined to help her candidate win. As Carol learns, politics can be a seductive, murky world. “What you see” is not always “what you’ll get” once the votes are counted and a winner is declared. And some people will resort to anything – even murder – to win an election.           

Readers: If you’re retired (or when you retire) what new activities do you look forward to?

Bio: Susan Santangelo is the author of the best-selling Baby Boomer mystery series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cape Cod Writers Center, and also reviews mysteries for Suspense magazine. She divides her time between Clearwater, Florida and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and shares her life with her husband Joe and two very spoiled English cocker spaniels, Boomer and Lilly. Boomer also serves as the model for the books’ front covers, and Lilly is featured on the back. She is also a proud, lucky two-time breast cancer survivor, and credits early detection by regular mammograms with saving her life twice.   

34 Thoughts

  1. My husband retired early at 59 in 2017 so we moved to Florida. We love the sunny weather and no snow and ice. We get to use our pool year long and go to the beach which is only 2 miles away. Hoping to see a launch at Cape Kennedy some day. Except for this year year, we pretty much do what we want to do when we want to do it with minimal planning as we have 3 cats. We volunteered to get involved for the candidate of our choice but haven’t heard back from them yet. Thank you so much for this chance. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. We have a lot in common — my husband and I spend our winters in Florida too. I’m very surprised that you reached out to help a candidate and haven’t yet received a response from the campaign. Maybe your offer to help never reached the appropriate staff person. If the candidate is someone you believe in, please try again. This is such a crazy time, and volunteers are needed more than ever. Good luck!

  2. Congratulations on the new book, Susan. I had no idea about your political background! Great fodder for stories.

    Author friends were asking me a couple of days ago if I ever think about retiring. I said no!

    1. Hi Edith. No way could you ever retire. All the fans of your many series would never allow it! Thanks for saying hello, and congratulations on your new book!

  3. You know, I think at one time I saw a car (possibly a minivan of some sort) on the road while out running errands that had the website for Susan’s books on the bumper of said car. Susan, was that you? I’m sure my memory isn’t failing me.

    Anyway, congratulations on the new book. I’m not retired so I can’t say what “new” activities I’m doing. Sadly, even if I thought about retiring and new things to do with all this extra time on my hands, it is something I’m likely never to experience. I’m going to have to work until I die and still show up to work 10 days after that.

    Even if I was able to retire, I’m not sure that I would be adding any new experiences to my life. I had a small sample of what retirement MIGHT feel like when I was off work for 2 1/2 months because of the pandemic and all I really did was the same stuff I do anyway. I just had more time to do it.

    1. Hi Jay. How funny! I’ve never driven a minivan, but if it was an SUV, it had to be me. I can’t imagine anyone else with a bumper sticker for Baby Boomer mysteries. Do you remember where you saw it? I hope I wasn’t speeding at the time! I hope you enjoy the new book.

  4. At almost 72, I am pretty much retired; especially as more and more of my usual activities are slipping away from me. I think the only obligation I have left is putting up a Senior Center Christmas tree (and with Covid, I’m not sure if the center will even be open in December). I have a quilt waiting for me to finish, hanging in the OTHER senior center, which is also closed for the foreseeable future. Ukulele club has been meeting when weather has allowed, but I am being SUPER responsible and staying home. Still busy with ARCs and winnowing unread emails, back up to 15,353. SIGH…

    1. Hi Barbara. This is such a hard time. But it sounds like you’re certainly keeping yourself busy. Just reading all those emails would wipe me out completely! Stay safe and positive. That’s all we can do.

  5. ” Politics Can Be Murder” sounds like a wonderful book!

    Hubby retired just as he said he would – at the age of 55. Since we were 24/7 full time caregivers for Mom with Alzheimer, I was thrilled when he did. Skip forward a few years and we shocked everyone by selling out, downsizing and moving to our dream destination of the Ozark Mountains were we built our dream home. We’ve always loved it here in the northern part of our state of Arkansas. Now during this stay at home, I’m even happier that we made that move. We have a vast and wide array of daily critter visitors which not only keeps us entertained, but also helps with our favorite activity – photography. Plus they give us hours of enjoyment as well as keeping us from being bored. Hubby picked up a camera during the time we were caring for Mom. I was slower in taking up this most pleasant activity using mostly a point and shoot camera until 2 years ago when I got a bigger camera in order to take better and clearer photos more consistently. We love it – retirement, living in the Ozarks and photography!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. HI Kay. What a wonderful post! You and your husband have discovered a creative activity that gives you both so much joy, and you are now in your dream location doing what you love. Congratulations! And blessings to both of you for caring for an aging parent. You’re an inspiration to many, and I hope you enjoy my new book.

  6. Fascinating piece, Susan! I had no idea you and your husband became so involved in both state and national politics. Politics is in my blood also, as the granddaughter of Senator Burton K Wheeler, a U.S. Senator from Montana who was in office from the 1920s to right after WW II. The movie, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” was based on his early career, which included exposing the Teapot Dome scandal. I got my own taste of national politics when a publisher I’d worked for asked me to write a biography of Jimmy Carter during the 1976 campaign. It was a heady, but hectic experience as I was given six weeks to put out JIMMY WHO?
    As for retiring, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. As long as I have stories I want to tell, I’ll keep on writing!
    Good luck with POLITICS CAN BE MURDER! Having read it, I know it’s going to be a winner!

    1. Leslie, that is so cool! I had no idea about your family connections. We need to have a chat about this very soon, and thank you for your kind comments about Politics Can Be Murder.

  7. Susan,

    Following up on my initial reply, I’m not a car guy so minivan was the best I could remember but like you said, it was an SUV.

    I can’t remember if I saw the car on the Cape or perhaps either on 195 or 495 when I was heading somewhere. Either way, on the highway, everyone is speeding so I don’t think a lead foot is all that big of a character flaw. Plus, I’m pretty sure that I passed you, not the other way around.

    1. This is so funny. It was definitely me. Thank you for remembering (even if it isn’t really true) that you passed me, not the other way around. It suddenly occurred to me that if by some remote chance my foot happened to step on the gas just a teensy bit over a speed limit, with that bumper sticker, I’d could be traced in a millisecond. So I asked my dear husband to peel it off. Bless him.

    1. Hi Sherry. Thank you so much for hosting me on The Wickeds today, and for your kind words about my new book. This is turning into such an interesting series of blog posts today, and I’m having a great time!

  8. I’m not sure writers are allowed to retire! I have a couple friends who have run in local elections, most recently for school board. Alas, they ended up much like your Senate campaign, but they’ve found other ways to get involved. Congrats on your book!

    1. Thanks Marla. I guess mystery writers don’t ever retire as long as our characters don’t! And Carol Andrews, my protagonist, still has a lot of stories to tell!

  9. Congratulations, Susan! I can’t wait to read Politics Can Be Murder. My husband worked in politics at the state and national level for decades. I love Carol Andrews and the gang.

    1. Barb, we have more in common than we realized! We have to get the guys together one of these days to trade political war stories while we brainstorm new plots. Hope you enjoy my new book. You know how much I love both your series!

  10. I can’t believe I haven’t read any of your books. That is going to change immediately! They sound like just my type of book! I think you are going to have another fan added to your huge following. I would love to win a copy to add to the ones I will be purchasing!

  11. Hi Susan – congratulations on your two time survivor status! My mother was the political animal in the family. She worked the poles annually and was involved with the Republican party when we lived in NJ as well as managing local campaigns in the 1960s.

    Since we came to our Maine home to as COVID-19 refugees, I’m happily spending my time spinning stories full time.

    1. Miss your smiling face in Florida, my friend. I never knew you were from New Jersey. I’m a transplanted Jersey girl myself, although I was born in Connecticut. Thank you for your support, and for liking my books.

  12. I’m looking forward to not setting an alarm and reading as long as I want each day when I retire. Only 20 more years to go, but who’s counting?

  13. I’ve never been a political animal, but when we retired my husband got involved as a political worker and I just sorta joined him for some things. I’m still not as into it as he is, but I will be working the polls this election. But mostly I’m enjoying my retirement by having the time to pursue my many interests even more.

    I would love to win your latest book.

    1. Hi Ginny. Thank you for reaching out, and I applaud you and your husband for working at the polls this year. I’m glad you enjoy my books, and good luck in the drawing for Politics Can Be Murder! Stay safe.

  14. Like so many of our fellow retirees we have been caretakers first for parents and then babysitters for Grands. Life does not really slow down with retirement, at least it has not for us, rather it speeds up since we are doing activities we enjoy, like reading. I have been introduced to new-to-me authors here at the Wicked’s blog and appreciate having books to add to my TBR pile. I like to say that “Librarians don’t ever stop working” since I have such fun recommending books to friends and family or just the person I talk to at the store, in the library, wherever…until COVID. Now I have to contend myself with writing emails and letters full of book recommendations. And, buying books for our Grands is such a joy!

  15. We are retired and I so looked forward to some traveling,at least to Malice Domestic, but my health has declined drastically so it is not possible. I look forward to my husband smiling face and his humor and reading my TBR pile.

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