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Author’s Luncheon “To Die For”

Susan Santangelo was the featured author at the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club’s Author’s Luncheon on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. The event was held at the Lakewood Ranch Country Club to benefit HOPE Family Services Children’s Reading Library, “The BOOK NOOK”.

Committee with LWRWC President Eileen Buzzard, Patti Wrobel and author Susan Santangelo

LWRWC President, Eileen Buzzard, presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Susan for her excellent presentation and her support of the LWRWC Fundraiser for the Book Nook at HOPE. Eileen also thanked LWRWC members, and local businesses for being book sponsors and donors and expressed her appreciation to the Author’s Luncheon Committee.

Eileen gave special thanks to her Co-Chair, Kathleen Cleveland, Registration Chair, Cheryl Breining, Raffle Chair, Helen Low, book Display Chair, Kathy Wingfield, Decoration Chair, Linda Stone, and Publicity & Graphic Arts Chair, Monika Templeman who designed the program and raffle signs.

L-R, Laura Lynch, Susan Santangelo, Eileen Buzzard, Kathy Cleveland

On behalf of LWRWC, Eileen recognized, Laurel Lynch, CEO of HOPE Family Services, and her staff, including Dawn Bryant and Char Young who were in attendance, for the great work they do to help victims of domestic violence.

Laurel Lynch expressed her gratitude to LWRWC for donating over 350 children’s books and for bringing the joy of reading to children and their mothers at the Shelter at HOPE.

The Baby Boomer Mysteries

Susan’s books feature the adventures of Carol and Jim Andrews as they navigate life’s highway toward their twilight years. Susan is currently working on book number eight and the series is going strong. Susan quipped that “once she started killing people, she just couldn’t stop.” Her humorous titles include, Retirement Can Be Murder, Moving Can Be Murder, Marriage Can Be Murder, Class Reunions Can Be Murder, Funerals Can Be Murder, Second Honeymoons Can Be Murder, Dieting Can Be Murder and a pending mystery, In-laws Can Be Murder.

Susan Santangelo captivated her audience with a mixture of intrigue, pathos, and humor, reminiscent of the great Erma Bombeck. Happily married for 51 years, Susan revealed that she was married on April 1, 1967 (no fooling).

The idea for her Baby Boomer Mysteries began when her husband retired. Her first mystery, entitled “Retirement Can Be Murder,.” was supposed to be a joint project but ended up as Susan’s “baby”. The story focuses on the emotional impact of retirement on a typical Baby Boomer couple, Carol and Jim Andrews.” Susan confirmed that Carol is her alter ego and that the characters in her books appear to exist in an alternate universe where they seem to “invent themselves” as her stories evolve.

She also shared interesting factoids about her books. The murder weapon is always on the cover but is not obvious to the reader until they read the story; her beloved English Cocker Spaniels (Lucy and Ethel) are immortalized on the book covers; and delicious, easy recipes that are relevant to the story, are included in the back of her books.

In each book, a dead body is discovered in the first 10 pages and the rest of the story focuses on solving the mystery. Susan stressed that there is only one dead body per book and no “blood and gore” in keeping with the “cozy mystery” genre. Susan credits her Catholic School education as the reason why all her mysteries are just good, clean, deadly fun. If you liked Nancy Drew as a child (as most of us did), then as an adult you will love the highly entertaining Baby Boomer Mystery series.

Aspiring writers in the audience were delighted with the insights Susan provided about writing and publishing a book, including tips about the help offered by the “Sisters in Crime National Mystery Association.” Susan briefly chronicled her fascinating and rocky journey from editor, drama critic and feature writer for newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan, to successful published novelist. She shared the frustration of rejection, the elation of successful book sales, and the joy of receiving positive feedback from her readers. Although she is a favorite of the Baby Boomer Generation, Susan is an impressive role model for women of all ages. After hearing Susan speak, most of the audience clamored to get copies of her wonderful murder mystery books that Susan graciously agreed to autograph.