S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Monday, November 29, 2010



Before we get started talking about your books, tell us a little about yourself.  Where are you from? What is your occupation outside of writing? 

I was born in the southern Illinois hill country and have lived most of my life in my native state.  I’ve also spent a great deal of time in South Carolina, the home state of my wife Mary, and taught in Texas and Missouri. I began professional life as a newspaper reporter—still my favorite job—but went into public relations for the favorable hours and salary. I’ve been a magazine editor and a university professor and administrator. I retired in 2008 after a long stint on the journalism faculty at the University of Illinois.

Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m probably the classic introvert: not comfortable in social situations, particularly where there are many people I don’t know, but at ease in front of a classroom or lecture hall or among a small gathering of friends.  

Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind and tell us their names.

I’m glad you asked! Technically, we have no pets. But we actually “share” a beautiful and loving male orange tabby cat named Eddie with the family next door. He arrived as a stray a few years ago and chose to adopt us all, although he apparently decided on me as his favorite human. They were able to take him—we couldn’t and shouldn’t have because Mary is seriously allergic to cats—but we play a role similar to nearby grandparents. He spends most of his days with us but usually goes home at night. Yes, Mary suffers. But she says she’d rather die than give up time with Eddie.   

What are your favorite books to read?

I like both fiction and non-fiction and usually read some of each concurrently. For non-fiction, I prefer history and politics and for fiction I like stories with ordinary people in everyday settings as heroes. My favorite contemporary author is Kent Haruf. His novel, Eventide, is among the best published in the last several years.  

Where is the most unique place you have traveled?

Not conventional travel, but I think it would be a tour of the maximum-security United States Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, which was built to replace Alcatraz, just after it was completed and before it was fully populated. Because of a friendship with Merle Alexander, the last Alcatraz warden and the man who planned this new prison, I was allowed to visit every part of the institution and hear from him why it was built the way it was, its strengths and limitations, and all the things that made it the most modern prison in America at that time. I was there again once as a journalist, but fortunately never asked to take up permanent residence.     

Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

Teaching. I’ve been privileged to teach hundreds of the best and brightest young men and women, and there’s nothing more satisfying. I love the interaction with students and take great pleasure in seeing them mature and progress and go on to greater things after they leave the university. I try to stay in contact with them and still keep up with former students from many years ago.    

How many books have you written and how many of those are published?  (Please list the names of your books here)

I’ve written or edited eight books, all published. Four are non-fiction and two of these have been reissued in paperback editions. 

My non-fiction books are G-2: Intelligence for Patton (a collaboration with Gen. Oscar Koch), Country Editor, State Science in Illinois, A Race at Bay, and Editorializing “the Indian Problem.”  The last title is a paperback edition of A Race at Bay, published with a new title.

My fiction includes Early Stories from the Land, an anthology of short stories by other writers which I edited, and three novels: Circles in the Water, The Life and Death of Lizzie Morris, and The Baby River Angel. All three novels are from Vanilla Heart Publishing, where I’ve been privileged to work with the amazing and talented VHP managing editor, Kimberlee Williams.

Do you have one particular genre that all your books fall under (i.e. suspense, romance, etc.)  or do you write in many different genres?

My work would be hard to place in a given genre. Two of the three novels are love stories, but not conventional romance. The Baby River Angel  is tagged as a paranormal romance but includes elements of mystery, humor, romance, perhaps a bit of the paranormal, and even includes a low speed police chase.   

How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser” (fly by the seat of your pants) ?

I start with a mental outline of the story, at least the beginning and the end, and the main characters. How the story develops from there may take several twists and turns I haven’t thought of in advance and almost always includes the addition of new and surprising characters. For me, this is the real fun of writing. I never try to plan in detail because I want the freedom to go where the story takes me.  

Prior to becoming a published author, how many rejections did you receive?  How did you handle the rejections?

My first book was a collaborative work of military history with Gen. Oscar Koch as the authoritative author. I was young and inexperienced and way out of my league. Gen. Koch was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after we began and passed away before the book had a publisher. I had no idea of all the pitfalls that lay ahead, but he was such a hero to me that I was determined to see his book in print. There were rejections, of course, but out of ignorance and determination I managed to overlook them and keep trying. That book is still in print after forty years.  

How and when do you write? Do you keep yourself on a schedule or do you work while the muse is with you?

Because I did my early writing as a reporter, I learned to write virtually any time, anywhere, and under almost any circumstances. Always facing a deadline, of course. I’ve been able to sit down and write whenever I want for a few minutes or for hours at a time. As long as I was teaching I usually did my writing late at night—after class preparation and grading was finished. Now I write when the mood strikes or I have a new idea I want to get down while it’s fresh.  

Of the many books you have written, tell us which is your favorite and why. 

For reasons stated above, G-2: Intelligence for Patton has to be my favorite. I would do a better job with it today than I did at the time, but I still take immense satisfaction in knowing that my contribution was essential to its publication and its publication helped change important misperceptions about events during World War II. This book has become a standard reference for military historians and gained for Gen. Koch at least some of the credit he richly deserves.  

Out of all the books you’ve written and the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite character and why?

This is a hard one. Like most writers, probably, I tend to like all my characters. If I must pick a favorite, though, I think it would be Mack Brown, the used-car salesman in Circles in the Water who gives Jimmie Broder his first job and becomes an important influence. Mack was unplanned.  He came about when I needed another character to help carry the story. Because he was unplanned and lacked a preconceived role, I was able to give him whatever characteristics I wanted and he turned out to be a great guy.

If you could step into the world of anyone else’s novel or meet with any character, which/who would you choose?

I consider To Kill a Mockingbird an almost perfect novel and Atticus Finch an almost perfect character.  I would love to sit with him on his front porch in small-town Alabama for an afternoon, drink sweet tea, and listen to his wisdom.   

If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published, what would that advice be?
Be persistent. Keep writing and keep trying. In today’s publishing world, you have many more alternatives than writers had in the past.

What's up next for you and your writing? 
I always work on more than one story at a time. I’ve started three novels, with beginnings and endings, and as I flesh them out I will decide eventually which one I like best and thus which one gets finished first. At this point I’m inclined to like them all and believe they all merit completion.  
Anything else you'd like to share with my blog readers?

Write for the love of writing. Enjoy words. Write and rewrite and rewrite some more. Never be satisfied with what you write until you are absolutely certain it is as good as you can make it. Even if it’s never published, take pleasure in the fact that you created something of value. And remember, just as a wall is built one brick at a time, your story is built one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. This is why it’s called the creative process and considered by most of us to be a craft more than an art.   

 Where can we read more about you and your work?

And visit my Amazon Author's page: 

Thank you, Robert, for being a SPOTLIGHT AUTHOR on TUESDAY TALKS.  I had a wonderful time getting to know you and your work a little better.   ~

Friday, November 26, 2010

FANtastic Friday FLASH

Spotlight FANtastic Friday FAN
of the week is:

B E C K I     D A V I S

I’d like to introduce you to Becki Davis, a woman who is an inspiration to us all, as she gives of herself to care for others. 

Becki writes:  “It's hard for me to separate myself from my latest challenge. Raising two sons was a piece of cake compared to what I am doing now: full-time caregiver for my 86 year old mother-in-law. What's good about this, though, is I think a book may come out of the experience. Not one of those fawning, "you're such a saint," and "this is a blessing" kind of book. That simply wouldn't be true to who I am. This is more of a snarky, if- I-can-do-this-anyone-can type of book with suggestions, hints and how to get through a minute, a day, six years! (but who's counting?)  No blogs yet, just Facebook, but I'm working on it.”

I hope you do write that book one day and that it becomes a best-seller, inspiring others to be giving, supporting their efforts and motivating them through the tough moments every caregiver endures. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life.

Thank you Becki for being a FANtastic Friday Fan!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HUMP Day Series - God is PRO-Sex: Part II


She pushed him down in the chair and climbed across his lap to straddle him, grinding her hips in slow circular motion.  She could feel the fortitude of his unspoken desire pressing firmly against her.  Chills of satisfaction darted up her spine as he looked in her eyes with a wanting she hadn’t seen in years.  ~

Now that I have your attention, let me pose this question, how long has it been since you felt desired by your spouse?  How long has it been since your spouse has felt this wanting from you?  Can you remember the last time you felt such intensity of passion that you couldn’t rip each other’s clothes off fast enough?  Sadly for most married couples it has been too long.
There is no greater feeling than being wanted.  There is no greater craving than the constancy of wanting to be wanted.  It is a need that is built into the fabric of our nature.  God designed human beings to require touch and intimacy.  We were not created for loneliness; thus marriage struggles to survive when there is lack of physical affection.
Sexual intimacy is the main artery to marital bonding.  Communication is the key to unlock sexual intimacy.  What does that mean?  It means you have to talk about sex with your partner.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to regularly engage in sex with your spouse and remain emotionally, mentally or spiritually disconnected from them.  Sex causes all channels to tune in, static free.  We no longer live in the simplicity of an adjust-the-rabbit-ear world.  We have satellite and cable, with hundreds of viewing options.  Technologically we have evolved and sexually we must do the same.  Twin beds and once a week sex doesn’t cut it in today’s marriage.  Our relationships demand more because our environment offers more; thus we have grown to need more. 
Sexual stimulation in marriage is directly tied to overall communication in marriage so you cannot unplug one without it negatively affecting the output of the other.   You must have something to Input in order to expect Output.  It’s basic wiring.  When you stop having sex the communication conduit becomes clogged and marriage begins to suffer from shrinkage.  It shrivels up like a penis in a cold pool.  Seinfeld fans know what I’m talking about. 
Marriage requires the warmth of physical touch to survive and the constancy of sexual intimacy to thrive.

Monday, November 22, 2010




Before we get started talking about your books, tell us a little about yourself.  Where are you from?  What is your occupation outside of writing? 

I tap danced out of Mom in Chicago in the bad old days. The first girl born into a rowdy gang of male cousins and brothers. Raised to be a homemaker like Mom despite pleas to sing, dance, act for minions. Nay, cried Father. All this had to wait.

Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert?


Do you have any pets?

Pets are all hand-me-ups from my daughter, Amy. Dogs are gone but not forgotten and now I have 3 cats. Jack ,9 years old, found on a highway in NC rescued by Amy; Tony-4, an orange tabby rascal; and Blue-5,who thinks he’s my boyfriend.

What are your favorite books to read?

My kids always made fun of my reading selections when they lived at home. Mercifully, they flew the coop and left me alone with murder, mayhem and the like. I listen to books on tape as I do stuff around the house before sitting down to write.   Some of my favorites: John Sandford, Robert B. Parker, Elmore Leonard, Susan Isaacs, Dennis Lehane, Jeff Lindsay, Julia Spencer Fleming.

Where is the most unique place you have traveled?

East Berlin. At the time, my youngest son, Paul, was part of a dance troupe and he always invited us on tours. We were in Berlin when a friend of his, living in the east, asked me if I’d like to join her for the day. It was an education-unique, strange and sad. I left stones at a monument.

Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

I think watching me grow up has achieved a sense of accomplishment. I was a homemaker, doting on home, family, all the womanly chores back then and ever so slowly, I emerged from that shelter into the cold world and found a niche far from my original comfort zone. Performing on stage in a wonderful play off Broadway to laughter and applause, moving people. Amazing to have strangers stop me in the street to say how much they enjoyed my performance. What a joy.

Okay, now that we have some history on you, let’s turn our attention to your books.  How many books have you written and how many of those are published?

Four published books, one published short story: “ONCE AGAIN, NOW”-first book published by Keene Publishing, no longer in business. “TO BE CONTINUED” followed by “STARTING OVER” and “NOW WHAT?” and short story, “Take Me As I Am,” Passionate Hearts Anthology all published by Vanilla Heart Publishing.

Do you have one particular genre that all your books fall under (i.e. suspense, romance, etc.)  or do you write in many different genres?

I think contemporary. Tried to vision fantasy, time travel and can’t. Romance, Romance w/suspense, and “NOW WHAT?” a paranormal contemporary romance. An ordinary woman who believes loved ones always return. . .plus a psychic baby granddaughter.

How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser” (fly by the seat of your pants) ?

An idea comes in the night. In the morning, I mull it over and begin. I like to see the beginning, middle and end in my head and let the characters do the rest. 

How and when do you write? Do you keep yourself on a schedule or do you work while the muse is with you?

No schedule. I just do it; morning, noon, nighttime, something gets written and then another scene shows up in my sleep and I ‘paint the scenery’ the next day.

If you have a new release coming out, tell us about it.

I’m writing a story titled “RECONSTRUCTING CHARLIE.”   The idea showed up one night and I began to write.
Charlie Costigan has a secret. Home life gone from bad to the worst when she protects her mother from another vicious attack by her drunken father.  Midnight. Clothes thrown into an old suitcase, she races for a bus with a letter to an unknown aunt and uncle. “This is my daughter. Embrace her as if she were your own.”
Determined, Charlie begins again. Alone with her secret.

Out of all the books you’ve written and the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite character and why?

Carly Evans in “NOW WHAT?”- a story close to my heart, mostly fiction but pieces of my life are written in the pages.
 It was 2:30 a.m. when the phone rang. I fumbled for it, my heart starting a race toward bad news. Our doctor’s voice urged me to hurry. I crammed into clothes as if I expected this call. Actually I thought all would be well, or did I? It was only a fever that wouldn’t go down.
Only a fever yet the dogs had curled up next to him on his favorite couch and never left his side all week.  His ruddy complexion drained to gray.  Only a fever.
I cried all the way driving too fast on Eden’s Expressway. Then the slow elevator ride to the  Fourth floor, a sprint down the dim corridor to his room.  He lay on the hospital bed where I’d kissed him not so many hours before. I’d said, “See you tomorrow.” My husband of thirty years replied with words I hadn’t heard in a long time. “I love you.” Not since the heart attack two years before when he began listening to his heart beat and forgot about me. When he said them, other words flashed across my mind, like writing on a sign: Too late, Bobby. Maybe we both sensed the crossroads ahead, the impending doom.
             Settling in beside my Bob, I held his cooling hand and asked the two words spoken many times during our years together.
            “Now what?” This time there was no response. I was on my own for the first time. When my fingers touched his wedding ring, I slipped it off and held it in my fist. The gold band was warm. I clung to him. “Come back to me, dearest.”
           I knew from past experience, loved ones always return.

If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published, what would that advice be?

Write the best you can, edit and revise until it’s tight. Then write a dynamite query and do the research for the agent or publisher interested in your genre. Above all, keep writing and don’t despair over rejections.

Where can we read more about you and your work?

Signed copies of my books are available at Amazon.com.
They can also be purchased at Barnes&Noble.

Thank you Charmaine Gordon for visiting with me today.  It has been a privilage to get to know you and your work better.

Join me tomorrow, November 23, 2010 for

TUESDAY TALKS with Spotlight Author,

in an interview you won't want to miss.



This interview was originally posted on 11/6/10 but was lost in cyberspace due to a technical error.  Thus, it is being re-posted today.

Susan:  Welcome Maureen, and thank you for being our Spotlight Author on TUESDAY TALKS at Feeling The Fiction.
Maureen:  Thanks for inviting me Susan. What a wonderful, and fun, opportunity.

Susan:  Let's get right to it.  I read your latest release, WHAT WOULD NANCY DO, and thoroughly enjoyed the story, which centers around the friendship of two women, who met as young girls and are now in their fifties. Are these characters representative of a real friendship in your life?

Maureen:  Very much so. My best friend and I have known each other over 40 years, and she is, like the character of Kate, a therapist who works with court appointed clients. We have the same bantering relationship as the characters in the book.

Susan:  Do you share any similarities with either of the main characters in your book?

Maureen:  The characters of Maeve and Kate are based on my best friend and myself. I am much more like Maeve. But although I used my relationship with my friend as a jumping off point, neither of us is the character in the book. Maeve does things I would never do.

Susan:  Which character, Maeve Haile or Kate Hanson, is your favorite and why?

Maureen:  I think Kate is. She smart, and accomplished and seems fearless to me. But I would say my favorite character in the book is Ethel Houle, who was the women’s high school English teacher. In her 80s and sort of a “side-kick” to Maeve and Kate, I found her to be a fun character to create and get to know.

Susan:  Basing a story off of the old Nancy Drew Mysteries is such a unique idea… How did you come up with the idea for WHAT WOULD NANCY DO?

Maureen:  Well, when my friend and I were in college I got started writing these mini-stories about Nancy Drew which included the two of us in the adventures. I sort of took it to another level in this book.

Susan:  When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Maureen:  I always wanted to be a writer. I studied journalism in high school and college, worked on small local papers after school, and picked up any opportunity to write on any level.

Susan:  What are your favorite books to read?

Maureen:  I love mysteries because I love to challenge myself to see if I can solve them.

Susan:  Where is the most unique place you have traveled?

Maureen:  Amish country in Pennsylvania. Again, this dates back to my girlhood and Nancy Drew. I’d read “The Witch Tree Symbol” when I was about 9 and always wanted to visit there. I still have some of those symbols in my home from that visit 30 years ago!

Susan:  Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

Maureen:  My family. Being a mother means the world to me, and my husband and children are my greatest joys.

Susan:  How many books have you written and how many of those are published?

Maureen:  I have written three books. WHAT WOULD NANCY DO? is the second one I’ve written and the first published.

Susan:  How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser”?

Maureen:  Here’s where you and I share a similarity...I’m a pantser too! But I do spend a lot of time thinking about the characters and the story so that by the time I actually sit down to start writing I know pretty much the direction the story is going to go. But of course characters tell you differently as you write!

Susan:  What was your most embarrassing moment?

Maureen:  My best friend entered me in a radio contest and I won. I never listened to the station, and the prize was a ride to work in a Rolls Royce. I was interviewed in the car on the way, live, and called the DJ the wrong name on the air. I still get teased about that.

Susan:  What is your greatest regret in your life?

Maureen:  That I stopped writing when my children were small.

Susan:  Prior to becoming a published author, how many rejections did you receive?

Maureen:  Oh my goodness! Probably close to a hundred.

Susan:  How often and when do you write? Are you more creative during certain times of the day? (i.e. morning or night)

Maureen:  I’m better focused in the morning, but when everything is really going I write all day and into the night.

Susan:  If you have a new release coming out, tell us about it.

Maureen:  My next book will be coming out in January. It’s women’s fiction, also set in Colorado, and deals with women and their relationships with each other, and specifically the concept of gratitude and forgiveness.

Susan:  Give us a short synopsis of WHAT WOULD NANCY DO.

Maureen:  It is the story of childhood friends Maeve Haile and Kate Hanson, who are now in their fifties. As young girls they shared a love for the Nancy Drew mystery books often looking for mysteries of their own to solve.When a woman in their small town is killed they take on the case asking "what would Nancy do?" Kate as a therapist and Maeve a stay-at-home mother and volunteer at the library, they pull in all their resources and friends to help them solve the case. They learn they can rely on each other in ways their friendship has never been tested before as they race to find the killer before he strikes again. It is a novel filled with intrigue, humor, love and an interesting set of characters that tell how life can lead you down interesting paths and sometimes starts at fifty.

Susan:  Are you planning on writing a sequel to this novel, i.e. another WHAT WOULD NANCY DO mystery with the same main characters?

Maureen:  Yes, I’m in the middle of writing another Maeve and Kate book. I also have a short story based on the characters available on Smashwords.com, free of charge, to get an idea of what these two are like. It’s called EMAILS if you’d like to read it.

Susan:  If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published, what would that advice be?

Maureen:  Don’t stop believing in yourself. You’ll hear a lot of both good and negative about your work. Use what you can and discard the rest. The only thing that really matters is how you feel about what you’re doing.

Susan:  Anything else you'd like to share with my blog readers?

Maureen:  I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to talk about my books and my writing with you Susan. It’s been great fun to meet a fellow mystery writer and a fellow Coloradan! I love to hear feedback and can be reached at maureenmullis@hotmail.com.

Susan:  Where can we read more about you and your work?

Maureen:  I have a blog at www.maureenmullis.blogspot.com, and I can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Thank you for reading TUESDAY TALKS at FeelingTheFiction.blogspot.com.
Please share this interview with your friends.