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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New Book Release and Review of Healer by Susan Miura

Healer by Susan Miura
Young Adult Christian paranormal
Releasing January 31, 2018
330 pp
Print $16.99
Ebook $2.99

Buy on Amazon US

Read Lisa's review after this interview with our new John 316 Marketing Network friend.

Welcome to John 316 marketing network. Tell us about yourself Susan.
I’m cursed or blessed with wanderlust – not sure which, but I always long to be anywhere but here. Beaches, mountains, deserts, caves, and canyons…I love them all! When wandering isn’t an option, I work at the Schaumburg Library (public relations) and have a side business giving presentations on travel, writing, and human trafficking. Born in Chicago, I grew up in Berwyn, Illinois and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in journalism and a determination to become a reporter. From a newsroom in Berwyn to a television station in Albuquerque, New Mexico, my dream became a reality. Eventually, I found my way back home and ended up in Schaumburg, IL. I’m a member of Willow Creek Community Church, vice president of the ACFW’s Chicago Chapter, and a new member of SCBWI. On the homefront, I’m happily married to a police sergeant and the proud mom of a daughter, son, stepdaughter, and one incredibly adorable Cleo cat.

How long have you been writing and what’s your biggest reward?
I won the Arbor Day poetry contest at school in fourth grade, so I guess I’ve been writing awhile. I loved being a reporter for my high school and college newspapers, and was so excited to see my first byline after getting hired by my hometown newspaper. From there I went into television, then public relations, but always had a longing to write fiction. Healer was my first attempt. It began as an opening scene, which was based on a childhood memory of seeing a dog get hit by a car. I couldn’t help that dog, but the dog in my book has a much better ending to his story. Biggest reward? Getting my first book published (Show Me a Sign) and having a high school teacher tell me she had some reluctant readers who loved it and hoped I’d write more books.

What kind of material do you write?
My published works include two young adult novels, Healer and Show Me a Sign, and three short stories in anthologies (two nonfiction, one fiction). Last spring, I indie-published a children’s animal poetry book which I co-wrote with my sister, Patt Nicholls. It includes full page wildlife photos that were taken by me and nature photographer Robert Kramer.

I see that you work in a library. How does that come alongside your journey as an author?
It’s been a great asset. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many authors who visited the library, which has facilitated some good connections. Two of the guys I work with are great with technology, so one helps with my website, and the other with book trailers. My office-mate is the library’s graphic designer and has provided great assistance with posters, flyers, bookmarks, etc. My librarian co-workers have helped with all kinds of things, from research to social media to helping me understand what teens want in a book. And they’ve been wonderfully supportive. Additionally, I work in public relations, which means I have many local media contacts. That comes in handy when it’s time to market a book. The library job has been a blessing, no doubt about it.

Tell us about Healer.
   Hovering just below the surface of Shilo Giannelli’s average existence lays an amazing spiritual power. Late one night, her world erupts with the revelation that, like her great-grandmother, she has The Gift. But the power to heal isn’t something she can share with the soccer team, her genius little sister, or her boyfriend, Kenji. Definitely not Kenji.
   Deep beneath Misty Morning’s tough fa├žade is a lifetime of abandonment, foster homes and broken dreams. When her two-year-old son is abused by her boyfriend, her fragile world shatters…until Shilo prays for Tyler, and he is healed, leaving Misty grateful but incredibly curious.
Shilo can’t give Misty the answers she needs; she only knows she has a God-given destiny, and despite facing strained relationships, impossible decisions, and the threat of being hounded day and night for her abilities, she will fulfill it.
   The journey Misty and Shilo take together unites them as friends but invites danger into their lives. And it will take a miracle for these unlikely friends to elude a gang bent on revenge, keep The Gift a secret, trust God in extraordinary circumstances, and hold on to the people they love.

What would you like readers to tell others when they’ve finished reading?
Well I’d love for them to say “Read this amazing book and write a review,” but I’m pretty sure every author wants that. In truth, I hope readers will say they were drawn to the characters, gripped by the plot, and touched by the messages of faith, forgiveness, and using whatever God gives you to make a difference in this world.

Who’s been your biggest influence on your writing?
Some awesome dead people: John Steinbeck, Michael Crichton and Marguerite Henry (my favorite childhood author), to name a few. And some who are still alive and well: Lisa Samson and Patti Lacy, both of whom helped enormously when Healer was in its infancy – not only with excellent critiques, but also by example. You learn a lot by reading great writing. Since I’m a fan of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, I have to include Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling, who provided good examples of how to keep teens captivated and wanting more.

What are you reading now?
This Invitational Life, by Steve Carter, and whatever The Book Report sends me to review. (I’ve been a reviewer for them for about eight years or so.) The last one was Debbie Macomber’s Merry and Bright.

What’s coming up for you?
Healer, Book 2…I hope! But I’m also writing my first young adult sci/fi and I have a women’s fiction manuscript that is near and dear to my heart. It’s about a woman who accidentally kills her best friend’s five-year-old daughter, so it starts out with a pretty hard tug on the reader’s heart.

Can you share your favorite marketing tool?
Twitter. A few years ago, I would never have believed I’d say that, but I’ve really gotten into it for marketing and sharing nature and wildlife photos. 

Thanks for sharing, Susan. 


Lisa's Review of Healer, by Susan Miura
A young lady on the verge of adulthood is thrust into a lifestyle of secrets at a vulnerable time. Just when she can see an inviting future filled with college, music, faith, and especially a wonderful, almost too-good-to-be-true boyfriend, Kenji, Shilo learns of a fearsome and awe-inspiring family secret that’s been passed down through the generations. Under dire warning from her mother, Shilo must never, ever tell anyone. But it’s a secret Shilo can’t hide.

Sixteen, ready for the best summer of her life, Shilo experiences her second use of a God-given Gift when she accidentally heals a child. She learns early on, though, that the Gift cannot be taken lightly or for granted. Despite her mother’s warnings of becoming a media frenzy or even delusional with power, Shilo is put in an uncompromising position when her boyfriend’s life is at stake. Under the influence of enormous family stress, Shilo has pushed Kenji away, something that’s tearing her apart. Their reunion and subsequent revelations may not result in all that she or her family wish, but the words and actions cannot be undone.

Miura’s story is a nicely shaped and paced young adult story that’s well defined. The real angst of teenagers and tweens is lovingly created with a cast of characters that will leave a mark on the reader. Told through multiple first-person viewpoints, Shilo’s appeal as a young lady in love, mature, yet vulnerable, is a great story to share with young people. This is a lengthy book for young adult, so although I recommend for seventh grade and up, younger readers should be good readers. Younger readers should have parental supervision regarding some mature situations (teenage pregnancy, abuse, drug running, some violence, and serious injury).

The theme of obedience running through the story, speaking to trust, conscience, responsibility, obedience to authority figures such as teachers and pastor, parents, and especially to faith in God and acting on that faith, is wonderfully illustrated.

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