By Rachel M. Anderson, Freelance WriterWEB---A-Dead-Womans-Mirror

(Decorah, Iowa) – When you think of books featuring animals as main characters, the first stories to come to mind may be titles like Lassie and Old Yeller, but there are countless other books in which animals play key roles.


In Agatha Christie’s Dumb Witness, for example, a dog named Bob is the key to a murder mystery; a three-headed dog named Fluffy plays an important role in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; and had it not been for what happened to China, a caramel-gold colored Golden Retriever, in A Dead Woman’s Mirror by Susan M. Nelson, a 100 plus year-old-mystery may never have been solved.


The one thing the authors of all of these books have in common is a love for animals. In Susan M. Nelson’s case, her animals were her children. China, in fact, is a character inspired by a real dog by the same name.


“Susan loved her dogs dearly and treated them very well, cared for them very much. She loved to talk about dogs, loved to groom dogs. She was fixated on dogs,” said one of Susan’s best friends, Bill Musser of Decorah, Iowa.


“She was an absolute animal person,” agrees Susan’s husband, Steven. “Pets were a big part of her life. We had as many as five dogs at one time.” Over the years, Susan had Long Haired Dachshunds, Great Pyrenees and Golden Retrievers. She also had a number of birds.


Susan M. Nelson died of complications from diabetes in Jan. 2011, but her life, legacy, and love for animals will live on through her books. Before her death in Jan. 2011, Susan had written six novels, all of which feature her pets prominently. Prior to becoming an author, she spent a 20 plus year career working at a pet hospital in Decorah, Iowa.


“All of Susan’s novels were written during a four year period of time, and I was often amazed by her dedication,” explains her husband, who played a key role in the production of the books. Steven says he and Susan bounced ideas around and read the book aloud to each other practically every day. “I guess you could say I was the detail guy. I was a stickler for details and if I saw something that didn’t make sense I would call her on it.”


Before his wife died in early 2011, Steven promised he’d do everything in his power to make sure her books get published. After losing her, he began the process of editing A Dead Woman’s Mirror. "It has been difficult at times, but don't we all do difficult things for our spouses and best friends?” asks Steven.


The editing process took more than six months. Now that the book is out, Steven is planning to spend the next several months promoting it. He is already in the process of getting books into several regional bookstores, gift shops and retailers in Decorah, Iowa.


“I admire Steven’s fortitude. It’s a huge thing to do what he’s doing and he’s doing it alone now,” said Musser. “He is a very loyal person. He follows through when he makes a commitment.”


A Dead Woman’s Mirror and Susan M. Nelson’s first mystery, In Search of Emily, are both available for purchase online at The books each retail for $15.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is being offered to you cost free and copyright free. Photography is also available for free upon request. For review copies or to arrange an interview  of your own with Steven R. Nelson, contact Rachel M. Anderson, Publicist at  952-240-2513 or via e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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