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Interview: Suzanne Jenkins, Author of The Greeks of Beaubien Street

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Suzanne Jenkins is the author of the ‘Pam of Babylon Series.’ The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a new series about a Greek homicide detective who grew up above the family grocery store in Greektown, Detroit.   Ms. Jenkins, herself, has fond memories of growing up in a Greek American household in the suburbs of Detroit.

Ms. Jenkins currently resides in the west Michigan lakeshore area with her husband, two dogs and two sheep.

Readers can learn more about Suzanne Jenkins and her work by visiting the following links:

Website ~  Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon

If you had to describe your book in two sentences, what would they be?

Jill’s story is about a strong, Greek American woman who is able to traverse the streets of Detroit, while keeping one foot in the traditions set by her family. She is a no-nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition, inherited from her mystic grandmother that acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your current work?

I like the dialogue between Andy and his mother, with their thoughts juxtaposed.

“We’re coming in tomorrow for the market. Want to go with?” Anna Zannos asked her son. “You should bring the kids with you. School will be starting soon and then we won’t see them until Christmas.” The unspoken, ‘Your wife hates us and doesn’t want her kids influenced by us.’

“We’ll see, Mom. Dana may have something planned for them.” The unspoken, ‘Dana and I are on the verge of divorce and making waves with her is the last thing I need to do right now.’

“Maybe next week? We can wait until next Tuesday to do our shopping, can’t we Papa?” The unspoken, ‘Your father is almost dead. He should see his grandchildren one last time.’

“Next week might be better, Mom,” Andy said. “But don’t change your shopping day for us.” The unspoken, ‘I would rather poke out my eyes than ask you to shop next week. Do you think I have a death wish?’

“Then you’ll shop with us tomorrow?” Anna asked. The unspoken, ‘This is what happens when you have just one child. Oh God, why are you punishing me?’

“Sure, I’ll shop with you tomorrow. I need to go for the store anyway.” The unspoken, ‘Why is God punishing me? Why didn’t they have more than one kid?’

Andy hugged his silent, long-suffering father and gave his mother a kiss goodbye. His parents were young, his father was just sixty-seven and still as virile as when he was a young man, and Anna was only sixty. She acted like they were ready to die.

What are five important things that you take into consideration while writing your story?

1. I try to make at least one quality about a character likable.

2. Would the story be as interesting if I left a certain character out? Or event?

3. As much as I try not to censor myself when I write, I don’t want to be completely insulting to anyone. For instance, in The Greeks of Beaubien Street, Jill has a brother with Down Syndrome. I have a sister with mental retardation. I had to be really careful to add some painful truths. It was a fine line to traverse.

4. Do I know enough about a topic to make it realistic without spending a year researching? I love people who share their expert knowledge.

5. Although I realize I’m writing fiction, I don’t want it to be so off the wall that it becomes sci-fi. For instance, the Detroit in The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a conglomeration of the Detroit of my youth, in the 1950’s and 60’s, and post riot Detroit. I haven’t been there in thirty years, so it really is a product of my imagination.

What was the turning point when you realized you wanted to write and share your voice with the world?

I was lucky enough to be at a place where there was no longer any excuse not to write.

What genres do you prefer to read? Which do you enjoy writing in?

I love Contemporary Fiction. My favorite authors are Pearl Buck, Paul Theroux, Maeve Binchy and PD James. I definitely prefer to write fiction.

What five things would you have with you at all times if you had to be prepared to take a trip at the drop of a hat?

Rune stones, computer, makeup, bra, toothbrush.

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About April Pohren

  • Ms Phillips

    I understand now. I’m sorry.