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Interview with Susan Miura

Susan’s newest young adult novel, Shards of Light, received a 5-star award from Midwest Book Review and was a #1 Amazon new release. It is the second book in the Healer series. The first book, Healer, was released in 2018 and tells the story of 17-year-old Shilo Giannelli, who discovers she has the spiritual gift of healing.

Susan's other books include Show Me a Sign (young adult fiction), Pawprints in the Snow (wildlife photos & animal poems for children) and short stories in three anthologies: Falling in Love with You (true romance); The Spirit of Christmas: with a foreword by Debbie Macomber (true Christmas stories); and Missing (fiction, stories of people and things that went missing).

Welcome Susan, I am so excited to interview another Christian YA author who explores spiritual gifts in a fantastical way. How did you decide to explore the gift of healing in your most recent two novels?
It really began with the memory of something I experienced as a child. A dog had been hit by a car, and a handful of people had gathered around it. I joined them and started to cry, wishing I could heal it. Fast forward a couple of decades and I attended a class on spiritual gifts and was fascinated by the somewhat controversial gift of healing. That interest morphed into a plot, and that childhood memory became my opening scene.

You have an obvious passion for travel, given your presentations on travel that you offer. Did this influence where you decided to set Shards of Light? Did you include favorite places you have actually visited in your story?
Absolutely! I am Italian-American and my grandparents came from Sicily – an incredibly beautiful place I was fortunate enough to visit. The combination of Sicily’s dramatic landscape of mountains, sea, orchards, vineyards, and ancient ruins, and its rich history of being conquered by…well, a whole lot of other countries, made it a fantastic setting for a novel. There’s no shortage of great imagery when Sicily is your backdrop!

Beyond travel, what hobbies do you have outside of writing?
I love nature photography and often share photos on social media. My other hobby is baking, but it’s been hard to do much of that lately with writing, marketing my books, and my public relations job. I also love reading, of course, and sometimes review books for

You include a lot of detail around dance and ballet in your character Melody. Did you learn about this through personal experience or research?
Definitely research, as I have no ballet experience. I began with a bunch of Google searches to get the basics, then received help from the director of a local ballet academy. It’s always best to go to a real live person when you don’t have the experience yourself. She provided great insight that I couldn’t get off the Internet.

What inspired you to start writing novels instead of news articles?
I’ve really been blessed to have a career in journalism and public relations, but I’ve always wanted to write books. I chose the craziest time to start. I was working full time with two young children and my husband, a police sergeant, was working evenings. My first manuscript took years to complete and more years of work before it was ready to be pitched. All worth it, though!

How has a career in public relations assisted you with your career as an author?
Having a PR background has helped tremendously, especially since my last 20 years has been in PR for a library - an added bonus! I have media contacts, know how to write press releases, know who to contact at schools and libraries, and have skills in using InDesign, PhotoShop, and other software conducive to creating bookmarks, posters, and personalized giveaways. I’m also a travel presenter and writing workshop leader, so I can also use those opportunities to promote books.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I believe God wants us to use our gifts to honor Him. In regard to writing, I try to create characters with qualities that will inspire readers to be respectful and kind, to encourage others and not be judgmental, to put others first. And I always include at least a reference, and sometimes a subplot, regarding modern day slavery and human trafficking – horrific issues that I’m sure break God’s heart. It astounds me that social media focuses on so many insignificant topics when 40 million people are in slavery, and a huge percentage of them are children. In Shards of Light, which is told from the POV of two main characters, human trafficking plays a key role in both girls’ stories.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
I think joining ACFW and attending conference made a huge impact in moving me forward. Networking with fellow writers, talking to agents and editors, attending writing workshops – it all combined to make me a better writer and taught me how to approach agents and editors, how to market my books, and much more. Now I’m using what I’ve learned to help rookie writers, and I love it.

If you could have coffee with an author, dead or alive, whose work you admire, who would that be? What would you ask him or her?
When my first novel was released and I was featured on Fiction Finder, I answered that question with the name Lisa Samson. Earlier this year, my wish came true! I knew she was living in the town where my daughter was attending grad school, so we met for breakfast. She was just as brilliant and interesting as I’d imagined. This time I’ll answer with John Steinbeck, who died in 1968. Like me, he had a passion for travel and loved hearing other people’s stories. He was remarkable at character development and an unsurpassed storyteller. He would have been an amazing person to meet.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I write in first person, my favorite style, and tell each story from two main characters POV in alternating chapters. Using first person enables me to become that character while I’m writing, which I believe really helps express their thoughts and emotions.

Is there a third story in your mind for Shilo or the other characters from the Healer novels?
Very likely! It’s going to be awhile though, because I just signed a contract for Signs in the Dark, which is not part of the Healer series, and hope to be signing a contract for a women’s fiction novel this year (key word “hope”).

What advice do you have for someone else who is just starting out in their writing career?
New writers need to know that writing the book is really just half of what’s necessary to have any degree of success. There is a lot of marketing required, and a good chunk of that begins long before the book is released. Even those who don’t have a contract yet should start building up their social media contacts (which means actually engaging with readers and writers, not just following), and learning how to promote books through presentations, press releases, reviews, book award contests, etc. Networking with fellow writers, as well as agents and editors, is also very important. And I’d definitely recommend attending writers' conferences – a great way to improve writing skills (through workshops), and gain valuable insight on writing and publishing.

What message do you hope readers take away from the Healer Series?
We all have God-given gifts, even if they’re not as dramatic as Shilo’s gift of healing. When people read the Healer books, I hope they’re inspired to pay attention to other people’s needs and to do what they can to lift up others - encourage, inspire, lend a listening ear, notice the world around them and figure out what they can do to make it better. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose. Sometimes it’s just a kind word or gesture, other times it may require a sacrifice of time, money, or even personal safety. These things can change people’s hearts or even the trajectory of their lives. You never know the impact you have, but God knows and He’s pleased when we use the gifts He gave us to help others. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.


As a teen, Tara Ross first discovered how hope-filled prose can change the entire trajectory of a person's life. Case in point: her life. She now has the joy of sharing this truth with youth every day - as a Speech-Language Pathologist, youth ministry worker and YA author.

Her soon to be released debut novel and blog, were created to ignite sparks of faith for Generation Z. You can follow Tara on instagram (tara.k.ross) or twitter (tara_k_ross) for more book reviews, tattoo worthy quotes and updates on her publishing journey.

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