Susan Hogan is the protagonist of my Oak Grove Mystery series. I meant her to be a bit different than the stereotypical cozy heroine. To some extent, I succeeded, because my main beta reader confessed he didn’t like her as well as the women in my other series, and one reviewer called her “prickly.” With this list, I give readers a chance to judge for themselves, but I hope the list will make you want to read about Susan’s crime-solving adventures.
Susan Hogan, associate professor of English at the fictional Oak Grove University, is thirty-five, single, and never married; she has, in fact, a bit of a fear of commitment that sometimes gets in the way of her relationship with Jake Phillips, chief of campus security.
Susan Hogan’s romance with Jake- a cop (pardon, law enforcement officer) falls into the cozy cliché trap of heroine and police officer but works well for plot purposes.
Susan is an energetic, stimulating classroom teacher; her field is American literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Raised by a maiden aunt in Wichita Falls, Texas Susan would like to feel she’s a free spirit, but she clings to many of Aunt Jenny’s preachings about life, morals, and manners.
She can cut up a salad and set a proper table, but don’t ask Susan to cook. Jake is a master at the grill, and Aunt Jenny cooks everything from pots of soup to King Ranch chicken, but Susan can’t figure out Hollandaise sauce.
Susan wears her hair in a spikey cut and runs her hands through it all the time. She can’t be bothered with hair-styling and prefers jeans or, at the least, slacks, hasn’t worn a skirt in years.
Susan is not status conscious. She drives a battered, old Honda but would really love to go back and forth to campus on Jake’s moped. Since she once wrecked it, Jake fears for the safety of both Susan and his moped and has forbidden her to ride it.
Susan was at odds with the former chair of the English department, and she finds university rules and regulations cumbersome and restrictive. Professors whose field is Renaiisance literature seem to irritate her.
Susan is cautious about warming up to people—the city police lieutenant, the sheriff—and she can get crosswise, as she does with Marge the waitress who thinks she’s guilty of murder, but she’s fiercely loyal to those she loves—Jake, Aunt Jenny and her paramour Judge John Jackson, her fellow teacher Ellen Peck, and newcomer to the series, Gus Conroy.
Susan Hogan is, at best a free spirit, representing contemporary feminist thinking in moderation and without the extremes, but tempering her freedom with a bit of the traditional role of women.
In short, Susan Hogan is someone I’d like to meet and hang out with.