Music and Mayhem! (Guest Blogger: Susan Fleet)

Music and mayhem . . . the story of my life. Sound incredible? It’s true. I began playing trumpet when I was eight, joined the musicians’ union at fifteen and later studied with two Boston Symphony trumpeters. For more than three decades I played an eclectic mix of gigs ranging from the Ringling Brothers Circus to opera, symphonies and solo trumpet recitals.

There were heart-stopping moments. Would the trapeze artist make that quadruple summersault or would he fall? And nothing beats the drama of an operatic diva in all her glory, interrupting a dress rehearsal of La Traviata to demand a cup of hot tea.

The mayhem began in the mid-1980s. I took a course at Emerson College, fell in love with fiction writing and discovered my dark side. My print-journalist father might be responsible for my fascination with crime. When I was a teenager he would take me to fires and tell me stories about the murder cases he covered. He even taught me how to play pool at the police station. How cool is that?

Between 1990 and 2000, while I was gigging and teaching part time at Brown University, Wheaton College, and Berklee College of Music, I managed to write three novels. And threw them away. They weren’t ready for prime time. In 2001, determined to be published, I moved to New Orleans to focus on writing. The Big Easy became the setting for my first suspense thriller. Inspired by an actual serial killer that terrorized women in the Baton Rouge area, ABSOLUTION was named Best Mystery-Suspense-Thriller of 2009 by the Premier Book Awards.

So how did a nice trumpet player like me become a vicious killer? And why do I do such nasty things to women? Some dismiss crime fiction as cheap entertainment. I disagree. Crime fiction reflects real life, with its moral dilemmas and hard choices. Many women read crime fiction to manage their fear of real-life violence. It’s only a book, only a movie. In real life, violent criminals often go unpunished. Not in my novels.

On my website you can hear samples of my trumpet CD and read a sample of ABSOLUTION: My love of music and passion for touting talented female musicians is as strong as ever. Based on a course I created at Berklee, I gave jazzwomen lectures at the New Orleans Jazz Visitor Center and the Public Library, Dillard University and the Louis Armstrong Festival. I now spotlight talented women on my website. March is Women’s History Month, so I hope you’ll read about them in my Archives:

Click Cover to Buy Now!

Although I moved back to Boston in 2010, the mayhem continues. My next novel is due out in June, 2011. Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, DIVA features my series protagonist NOPD detective Frank Renzi. A diabolical ex-military man is stalking a beautiful young flute soloist. He’ll do anything to have her … even commit murder. Stay tuned!

You can find Susan at:





8 responses to “Music and Mayhem! (Guest Blogger: Susan Fleet)

  1. Wow! You must be loaded with creative juices. Both writing and making music take discipline and you’ve managed to fit time in for both. Hope you sell a lot of books.

  2. What interesting tidbits, Susan. You’ve packed a lot into your life.

    Not only are you a talented musician but also a great writer. Your fans are eagerly awaiting your next book!

  3. Atta Girl. Gad, you’ve led an exciting life and accomplished so much. Who knew????

  4. Susan’s fascinating two-career life should provide an inspiration for all of us to follow our dreams wherever they may lead. So often we are told that it is necessary to focus on only one goal if we wish to be successful. Susan’s bio amply demonstrates that if a person is sufficiently talented and motivated, they can succeed at whatever they chose to put their mind to.

  5. I enjoyed that. Good food for thought.

  6. Wow what a great bio and post. Can’t wait to read Asolution. Is it about a priest? Love the concept of a musician writing novels. Usually it is the other way around. All of us envy the musician, the stage, the glory. Writing seems dull in comparison. Except for that story in our heads that is keeping us up all night trying to get out and on paper. Great success with your novels and we will be watching and listening. Reggie at Get Safe Haven today. Oops had to plug one in here.

    • Thanks Reggie! Yes, being a musician can be exciting, but it’s also a lot of work. I still practice my trumpet every day. Best of luck with your writing as well!
      As for ABSOLUTION, yes there’s a priest involved, more than one in fact. My next novel features a beautiful young flute soloist, and the diabolical man who’s stalking her.

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