Questions and Solutions: Susan Cox, creator of “The Man within the Microwave Oven” – The Nerd Day by day

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After the award-winning debut of Susan Cox’s Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America, The Man on the Washing Machine, her next quirky, charming mystery comes with Theo Bogart, the San Francisco shopkeeper.

We chat with author Susan Cox about her new novel The Man in the Microwave Oven, book recommendations, the best writing advice she’s received, and more!

Given the current state of the world, what are you doing to cope with the changes we have had to make in our everyday lives?

To be honest, like many writers, my everyday life hasn’t changed too much. I still spend several hours a day in front of my laptop, writing or participating in social media discussions, still drinking lots of tea, and still spending quite a bit of time talking to the cat. I’m not going to say that I wasn’t affected by the Covid-19 restrictions because I can definitely feel everyone’s increasing levels of anxiety. I will say I was lucky and I hope it stays that way.

When did you discover your love for writing?

I was born and spent my childhood in England, but I received a lot of education here in the US. I had a high school English teacher who encouraged me to write poetry and essays. I thought I liked it and I never stopped.

The man in the microwave oven will be released on November 3, 2020 and is the second novel in the Theo Bogart Mysteries series. If you could only describe it in five words, which would it be?

Partly traditional mystery, part spy novel. Okay, that’s six words, but they’re all really good words.

What can readers expect from those who haven’t read the first novel, The Man on the Washing Machine?

In The Man on the Washing Machine, readers meet my heroine Theo Bogart and learn that she lives undercover in San Francisco. When she witnesses a murder, the investigation nearly reveals her secrets and the secrets of her friends and neighbors in her cramped San Francisco neighborhood. Readers will meet Theo, her indescribable grandfather, the young juvenile delinquent she befriends, and the mysterious stranger destined to play a huge role in her life. Oh, and the man on her washing machine plays his part too.

Well, for those who have, what’s in The Man in the Microwave Oven?

Theo learns that she isn’t the only member of her family who has dangerous secrets, and her life is complicated by a lawyer who turns up dead. A spy who recently came in from the cold and a heartbroken priest. Theo has her own problems – for one, she’s still struggling to keep her identity a secret from her friends – but when her beloved grandfather is suspected of having a second death, she risks anything to clear it up.

Did you have more challenges writing the sequel compared to the first?

The manuscript for The Man in the Microwave Oven was actually stolen and I had to create it from scratch and that was very challenging!

What’s the best and worst written advice you’ve been given?

The best? “Keep your pen moving.” I can’t even remember where I first heard this, but I interpret it to mean that once you’ve set yourself a goal – whether it’s a daily number of words or a certain number of hours at your desk – you keep writing, until you get there.

The worst? Oddly enough, I don’t think I’ve ever received bad advice about writing. I may have ignored good advice at times, but that’s up to me!

What’s next for you

I am writing a third Theo Bogart Mystery and am currently trying to choose between two appropriately sinister devices to build around my property!

Are you reading something and do you have book recommendations for our readers?

I’m a big fan of Peter Lovesey and am reading his latest issue, The Finisher. I also recently enjoyed the books by McGarvey Black (The First Husband) and Caz Frear (Sweet Little Lies) and recently rediscovered Catherine Aird’s secrets. Her Detective Inspector CD Sloan is featured in more than twenty books, starting with The Religious Body.

Are you going to pick the man up in the microwave oven? Tell us in the comments below!

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