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Posted By Susan Bernhardt

We are very happy to welcome Susan Bernhardt today, all the way from Wisconsin! Ken had an uncle, aunt and cousin from the Lake Como area of Wisconsin and has many wonderful memories of summer trips  — swimming and fishing in the lakes, playing golf, and generally having a great time.

Susan is the author of The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under The Tree, two excellent cozy mysteries involving the amateur sleuth, Kay Driscoll, in the fictional town of Sudbury Falls, Wisconsin. Her third Kay Driscoll mystery, Murder By Fireworks, is due out in the fall of this year.  Susan enjoys many activities.  Among other things, she rides her bike (on twenty mile jaunts) and hikes, sometimes to considerable heights, as witnessed by the following photo.

She also enjoys some more modest climbs that are no less rewarding.

Please share with us a memory of visiting the library or of reading, preferably as a young child. The public library has played an important part in my life, from childhood as you will read below to high school where I would visit the downtown library obsessed with my book topic of the month, to college where I studied for tests until 2 a.m. I took my children to story hour and knew all the best children’s authors. It was a place to escape to at times, a place that I worked at for a short period and where I volunteered. I still visit the library each week. When I was old enough as a child, I would walk to the library throughout the summer, which was about a mile away and would choose books to read for that week. Then I’d return the next week and tell the librarian what each book was about and then bring home another ten or twelve. I belonged to the reading club.

(This answer has evoked such nice memories of all the libraries we have enjoyed over the years. They have a spiritual quality.)

Which book have you read and has stayed with you and made you reread it in whole or in part? What about the book created this attraction?  I met two friends in a writing group who literally changed my life by introducing me to an entirely new world of literature. I had mostly read mysteries books and even though my new interests were still mostly mysteries, they were vastly different. The first book was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. To this day, it is my favorite book. And to sum it up in one sentence, it is a novel about the love of literature. I read other books by this author, and went on to Gabriel García Márquez, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Donna Leon, and many others.

(This looks like a book we will want to read!  It is now on hold for us at the public library.  Yes, we use and enjoy the library!)

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? (NOT one of the books you’ve written).  Since the rules are that I can’t choose to leave The Ginseng Conspiracy…lol…I would say Anne of Green Gables. The book was sweet and delightful. It told of a more simple life and had great lessons about love, friendship, and family.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

We have read and enjoyed The Ginseng Conspiracy and Murder Under the Tree is already on our TBR pile – can you tell about your murder mystery set in New York City?  Right now the story is all over the place. I’m still writing the first draft, so I don’t know where I’ll all go with it. The main story is about Irina, a retired ballet dancer living in Manhattan who runs a ballet studio for young children. A normally healthy neighbor becomes ill over time, dies, and Irina sets out to prove it wasn’t from natural causes. There’s a bit about Lithuania in the Cold War, subplots include a lover from the Irina’s college years at NYU who suddenly reenters her life, a stranger obsessed with Irina who moves into her neighborhood on the Upper West Side.

(Sounds great. Hurry up and finish it!)

Are there any genres that you have never written in that you would like to try? Why or why not?  I wrote a middle grade short story that was published in an ezine in the style of Ray Bradbury, who I admire and consider a creative genius. The story was part mystery, part fantasy and sci-fi, part horror. I would like to some day expand this short story into a full sized novel. At this time those are the only genres besides mysteries that I would be interested in writing.

Attach a photo of you (preferably one that we have not seen before!) It is always nice to have a photo of you doing something you enjoy like hiking or travelling. A short description would be great.  We moved to Wisconsin from Boulder County in Colorado. A couple of years ago my husband and I went on a road trip with our youngest son and his wife to Colorado. I wrote part of The Ginseng Conspiracy while travelling. In this photo I’m hiking/climbing in the Flatirons at Chautauqua Park in Boulder.

(This was a great photo, but we stole it and printed it above!)

The complete interview can be found on Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman Hicks blog:

The Ginseng Conspiracy(A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1) 

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.

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2)

While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate.

Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims. Kay’s first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. ‘Tis the season to be sleuthing!




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Susan Bernhardt


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