Crime Writer’s Interview…A New Misterio Author, Sasscer Hill!

We are delighted to announce that we have a new misterio author, Sasscer Hill. Please help us welcome her to our happy band of mystery writers! (She was already scheduled for a crime writer’s interview when we invited her to join us.)

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a new misterio press author, Sasscer Hill

Sasscer Hill was involved in horse racing as an amateur jockey and racehorse breeder for most of her life. She sets many of her novels against a background of big money, gambling, and horse racing. Her mystery and suspense thrillers have won multiple awards and many award nominations.

Her newest title and first non-horse racing mystery, is Travels of Quinn, a mystery-thriller based on a real American group of gypsy con artists.

Kass (on behalf of the whole gang: I am so pleased to welcome you to misterio press, Sasscer! What can you tell our readers to help them get to know you better?

Sasscer Hill: I was born with horses in my veins and started galloping about the family farm on a stick horse when I was four years old. By the time I was seven or eight, I was sneaking rides on the Belgian plow horses. I did this because my father didn’t like horses and considered ponies dangerous. So instead, I drummed my heels on the sides of a 2,000-pound draft mare, while grasping whatever string or rope I managed to tie to her halter.

a new misterio press author, Sasscer Hill

When I was sixteen, my father passed away. Shortly after that, a wealthy banker and racehorse breeder, Alfred H. Smith, Sr. took me under his wing and gave me a right-off-the-track steeplechase horse to ride.

At sixteen, I was fearless, and by the time I was thirty-six, I was breeding racehorses on my family farm and even rode in and won a timber race in Potomac, Maryland.

Because I had so much experience breeding, raising, training, and racing my horses, writing a horse racing mystery seemed logical. My first book, Full Mortality was nominated for both Agatha and Macavity Best First Book Awards.

Kass: What subgenre of mysteries do you write—cozies, traditional whodunnits, historical?

a new misterio press author, Sasscer Hill
Sasscer’s first book

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Sasscer: I call my subgenre, “Edgy Cozies.” Some of my characters swear every so often, and sex fires a bit of heat in some of my books.

Not the kind of graphic, gratuitous sex you find in some romance novels, but if there’s a particularly handsome and sexy male in the story my heroine will always look twice, and sometimes more if it moves the plot forward.

Kass: What was your favorite book/author as a child? Why was it your favorite?

Sasscer: My favorite childhood book was The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I loved all his wonderful action-adventure horse stories and devoured them, starting with a picture book of The Black Stallion given to me when I was three or four.

I’ve always loved books filled with mystery, action, and adventure. After reading everything by Walter Farley, I graduated to the Dick Francis horse racing mysteries. As I got older, I read everything by Robert Parker, then went through all the Dorothy Sayer, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, and other excellent writers of British mysteries.

The spare writing style of Francis and Parker is what I loved best, and my style tends to go in that direction. I’ve never liked books where the author wanders off into tangents and long descriptions. Anything that slows the pace down too much is a turn off for me.

Kass: So, you already have several books out, most traditionally published. With the latest book, what led to your decision to become an indie author?

I never fit in all that well in the work world. I much prefer self-employment. Novel writing is wonderful; if you write a good story, the readers don’t care if you’re the independent type.

I’ve been with two traditional publishers, one a very small press and the other a larger, better known one. I loved my editor there, but neither publisher did much in the way of marketing—despite the fact that Flamingo Road (my first book with the second publisher) received excellent reviews, including an editor’s pick in the Toronto Star, a starred Booklist review, and it won the $10,000 Ryan Award for Best Book in Horseracing Literature.

When I started working on Travels of Quinn, I suspected it was different enough that traditional publishers wouldn’t be interested. My agent did make an effort to sell it to several of them, but I became tired of the waiting game and self-published it in February of 2020.

Kass: And I read it and loved it, and that started the whole process that culminated with you joining us here at misterio. By the way, huge congrats for winning the Ryan Award!

Tell us, has there been anything particularly interesting you’ve ever had to research for your books?

Sasscer: The oddest thing I’ve ever researched was for the first Fia McKee book, Flamingo Road. There is a drug called Demorphin that was first used at Remington Park racetrack in Oklahoma. It is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and a few of the shoddiest and most horrible trainers were using it. Their sore or injured horses would run through the pain and win—if they didn’t break down before the finish line. The drug was made from enzymes and peptides collected off the skin of a certain South American tree frog. Race trackers referred to the drug as “frog juice.” 

a new misterio press author, Sasscer Hill

I got a tip from a former trainer that I should call Dr. Craig Stevens, a professor of pharmacology at Oklahoma State University. I did and he was delightful. We talked about everything from frog juice to how much we loved the series, “Breaking Bad.” Stevens was the doctor who produced the first test for Demorphin. Thanks to him, trainers were stopped from using this drug. 

But I needed frog juice for my book and asked him what if there was a different South American tree frog which also produced a Demorphin-like substance? And what if the chemical makeup was different enough that Stevens’s test wouldn’t catch it in a horse’s bloodstream? He said it was possible, and I almost did a happy dance knowing I had my drug for Flamingo Road.

In the recent Travels of Quinn, I had to write about Quinn’s time in prison. The novel takes place here in Aiken, SC, and I was lucky enough to meet with Capt. Nick Gallam, who runs the Aiken County detention center. He took me on a tour of the entire facility and answered every question I had.

Armed with accurate information and mental images of the women I’d seen in this prison, I was confident and enthusiastic as I wrote about Quinn’s experience in jail.

Kass: What are you working on now?

Sasscer: I was able to get the rights back for my Nikki Latrelle series. I’ve re-released them with new covers. My novel in progress, Shooting Star, will be my fifth Nikki Latrelle book, and I am delighted to be bringing it out with misterio press!

Kass: And we are delighted to have you as a misterio author!! Folks, see Sasscer’s new book, Travels of Quinn, below…and you can see my review of it on BookBub HERE.

You can connect with Sasscer on her website, or on Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram, and you can follow her on BookBub and/or Amazon for updates on new releases.

Travels of Quinn

Born into a subculture of American gypsies, Quinn’s father and stepfamily raise her to be a con artist. Can she escape a binding marriage contract and a life of crime?

Jailed for theft, Quinn pays restitution working on a horse farm. Unfamiliar with horses, her love for them surprises her. They make her hope for a better world.

Until the farm’s owner is brutally murdered and Quinn is the prime suspect.

On the run, Quinn uses every scam and con she knows to save herself. Can she find the real killer before she’s imprisoned for life or murdered because she knows too much?

A mystery-thriller of deceit, murder, greed and hope, by multiple award-winning author, Sasscer Hill.

Available at:

AMAZON ~ NOOK ~ APPLE ~ KOBO

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23 thoughts on “Crime Writer’s Interview…A New Misterio Author, Sasscer Hill!

    1. Hillerroo

      Thank you, Rhonda! Afraid that eight replies from my buddies initially got caught in a spam folder. You have now been released! Probably not for good behavior, but at least you’ve escaped from spam jail!
      Sasscer

      Reply
  1. Hillerroo

    I am delighted and honored to join this group of talented and successful authors. Thank you all for taking me under Misterio Press’s wing!

    Reply
  2. K.B. Owen

    Welcome, Sasscer! So happy you’re joining our group. The Black Stallion was a favorite of mine as a child, too!

    Congrats on the release of TRAVELS OF QUINN…I have it in my TBR stack and am looking forward to reading it. Great news that you got your rights back for the Nikki Latrelle series…we’re thrilled you’ll be releasing SHOOTING STAR with Misterio!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply
  3. Shannon Esposito

    So excited to have you join us, Sasscer! Seems like you found your passion early in life with horses, and then pairing that with your writing is a win win. How did your mom feel about you riding a steeplechase horse at 16? I’m a bit overprotective, but I would’ve been a nervous wreck as a mom lol!

    Best of luck with the Travels of Quinn release. She sounds like an interesting character and can’t wait to read her story. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Hillerroo

      I never told my mom, until I’d hunted the horse three or four times, that he was right off the track. I have to admit I committed the sin of racing past the master a few times until we fitted the horse with a stronger bit!

      I am so impressed by the authors of this group! Which reminds me. I’d better get to work on Shooting Star!

      Reply
  4. Thalia Stoddard

    Thank you for adding Lynda Sasscer Hill to your mystery writer “stable” (pun intended). She is the only one of your authors with whom I am familiar, but I look forward to reading what the other ladies write. Sasscer is a wonderfully entertaining author. Write faster, Sasscer!

    Reply
    1. Kassandra Lamb Post author

      Thalia, I resisted the temptation to use that pun, and now you’ve gone there…LOL 😀

      Seriously, we’re delighted to have Sasscer in our “stable.” I hope you enjoy our other goodies, while waiting for the next Nikki saga.

      Reply
    2. Hillerroo

      Thalia, thank you so much for your comment! Afraid that eight replies from my buddies initially got caught in a spam folder. But you’re out now and I’m so pleased to hear from you. So appreciated!
      Sasscer

      Reply
  5. Candace Carter

    Great interview! Congrats on joining the Misterio group. I’m looking forward to the next Nikki novel.

    Reply
    1. Kassandra Lamb Post author

      Thank you, Candace. It’s easy to do a great interview when the interviewee is as interesting as Sasscer is. We’re so lucky to have her join us!

      Reply
    2. Hillerroo

      Thanks Candace! Afraid that eight replies from my buddies initially got caught in a spam folder. But consider yourself released on good behavior. Miss seeing you and bye for now,
      Sasscer

      Reply
    1. Kassandra Lamb Post author

      I’ve been a huge fan too, Irene, for quite some time. When I heard that she was a “free agent,” I jumped on the chance to invite her to join us.

      Reply
    2. Hillerroo

      And, Irene, I am hugely grateful for you kind words! Stay safe and be well. Hope to see you soon.
      Sasscer

      Reply
  6. Vinnie Hansen

    Welcome, Sasscer! I just followed you on BookBub and Goodreads, and I’m off to put Travels of Quinn on my Goodreads TBR. The plot sounds great, and just as a little aside, I was born in Quinn.

    Reply
  7. Kassandra Lamb

    I’ve read all of the Nikki Latrelle books and loved them, so I’m extra excited to have the new one coming out under our imprint, Sasscer.

    And I just added the Dark Side of Town to my kindle. Can’t wait to see what Fia is up to.

    Reply
    1. Hillerroo

      Sleuthing, a hot romance, murder, deceit, duplicity, and a courageous heart. All the ingredients of Misterio Killer Fiction!

      Reply

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