Friday, December 5, 2014

Bad-Mouthed by Susan J. Kroupa Interview and Giveaway

by Susan J. Kroupa

Bad-Mouthed by Susan Kroupa
Genre Cozy Mystery
Number of Pages 175 (approximately)
Who knew chasing a rat in the middle of a Christmas pageant could cause so much trouble? Certainly not Doodle, the obedience-impaired labradoodle who works for “the boss,” Josh Hunter of Hunter Bed Bug Detection, nor Molly, the boss’s ten-year-old daughter. But then Doodle’s the first to admit he doesn’t quite get Christmas.
Doodle’s antics during the pageant draw the attention of a popular video-blogger, who asks to do a feature his on sniffer-dog skills. But when the blog airs, pretty much the opposite of what Molly and the boss expected, the boss’s phone rings off the hook with distraught customers who think Doodle’s bed bug “finds” can’t be trusted.  Molly, searching for a way to set things right, befriends the blogger’s son, a boy alienated from his mother who wants only to go live with his father.
Throw in a handful of threatening letters, some lost dogs, and a devastating fire, and Molly and Doodle have their hands—well, in Doodle’s case, his paws—full finding out just who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
A charming cozy for all seasons and for dog lovers of all ages.
About This Author
Susan J. Kroupa is the award-winning author of the Doodlebugged mysteries, which have been called, “. . . the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and laugh-out-loud doggy observations” by best-selling author Virginia Smith, and which feature Doodle, the irrepressible canine narrator of the series.
She is also a dog lover, currently owned by a 70 pound labradoodle whose superpower is bringing home dead possums and raccoons, and who just happens to be the inspiration for some of Doodle’s more obedience-challenged behavior.
She now lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwestern Virginia, where she’s busy taking photos and writing the next Doodlebugged mystery. You can see samples of both on her webpage,


Where are you from?
I grew up in Southern California except, from ages 4-8, when I lived in Saudi Arabia. My father worked as an engineer for ARAMCO, which stands for Arabian-American Oil Company. We might have been there many more years, but while we were on vacation in the U.S., the Suez Canal Crisis erupted, and my mother was afraid to return, worried that there might be violence against Americans living in the country. I’m grateful for years we had in Arabia, for that early childhood introduction to other cultures and people.

Tell us your latest news?
What can I say? I lead a dull, but extremely scenic life, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in southwestern Virginia. “I saw a flock of vultures in a tree on my daily walk” is what passes for entertainment around here. But, in writing news, I’m excited that Bad-Mouthed, the fourth Doodlebugged Mystery, has just been released from Laurel Fork Press. Narrated from the point of view of Doodle, a cheeky, obedience-impaired labradoodle, the book features, besides a mystery, a dog’s take on Christmas.

When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been inventing stories for as long as I can remember, and, around fourth grade of so, wrote a host of ghost stories that I thought were inordinately clever. My mother suggested, not tactfully, that they needed a plot. J A life-long avid reader, I didn’t seriously start writing until I was a parent with four young children at home—a challenging endeavor at best. I began writing non-fiction and didn’t dip my toe into fiction until some years later. And when I did begin writing fiction, it was mostly science fiction and fantasy even though I mostly read mysteries. I think I was intimidated about plotting a mystery and (foolishly) thought writing a fantasy would be easier.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got a job as a music reviewer, columnist and feature writer for the Bloomington Herald Times in Bloomington, Indiana. I happened to be perhaps the only person with a music degree in Bloomington who wasn’t affiliated with the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, one of the top rated music schools in the country, and the newspaper needed someone to review the concerts from students and faculty at the school. Bloomington residents are well educated musically and took the reviews seriously, so at times it was a stressful job, but it taught me a great deal about writing and journalism and about meeting deadlines.
In fiction, I felt like a “real” writer when I won first place in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest for my speculative fiction story set in Hopi Indian culture, “The Healer.” I went on to publish several stories in that setting in Realms of Fantasy.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Perhaps the biggest reason I started on the Doodlebugged mysteries was that I wanted to write something light and fun. My mother passed away the year before I started Bed-Bugged, the first book in the series. I needed something to make me laugh, to take me away from grief. What better thing than to dwell in the mind of a dog?  
More specific inspiration came from an impossibly energetic, independent labradoodle puppy that we adopted in 2008, and from my son’s unfortunate discovery of bed bugs in his apartment. When my son’s apartment manager sent an exterminator, the man arrived with a sniffer dog. The two ideas—an obedience-challenged labradoodle and bed bug dogs--came together to form a series about a service-dog flunkee who starts a new career as a bed bug dog.

Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, but the style is book-specific. The writing in my Hopi stories has been called “lyrical”, “clear and forceful.” It’s much different than the style in these mysteries, because, for me, narrating from the point of view of a dog demands a sense of living in the present, not getting overly descriptive—unless describing scents!—and having a conversational tone. Doodle’s voice has been described as “breezy” and “cheeky.”

How did you come up with the title?
After Bed-Bugged was published, I realized that for consistency I was stuck in a pattern using a three-letter word and then a past tense word ending in “ed.” Out-Sniffed was the second book, then Dog-Nabbed. Bad-Mouthed actually came to me as I worked to find titles that fit that formula, and in this case, the title gave me the idea for the book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I’m fairly allergic to books and films that hit the audience with “The Message,” and I hope that the values I have come through the actions of the characters and the story. That said, the books deal with issues such as immigration, being a single parent, dog training techniques, and, in Bad-Mouthed, the power of the media to make or break a business or a career.

What would you like my readers to know?
That these books are fun and appeal to both mystery readers and dog lovers of all ages. And that I’d love to have them visit my webpage at, where they can find out more about my books and about the beautiful area where I live.

Author Links:
            Twitter                       @susankroupa
            Amazon Author Page:

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Tour Participants
December 3 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! - Guest Post , Giveaway
December 4 – A Blue Million Books -  Guest Post, Giveaway
December 5 – readalot - Review
December 6 – deal sharing aunt - Interview
December 7 – Community Bookstop - Review
December 8 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows - Interview, Giveaway
December 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy - Interview

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  1. thank you for the chance to win :)

  2. I want to "meet" the pup--he sounds mighty special.