Susan, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a syndicated columnist and mother of two with four best-selling humorous non-fiction books, including “Not Tonight Honey: Wait Til I’m a Size 6.” I’m a Sarah Palin impersonator who can still ride a unicycle as a middle-aged mom of two. I’ve won many journalism and writing awards, including Excellent in Writing from Gannett Newspapers and my book “Don’t Sleep With a Bubba” won the January Magazine Book of the Year.
Can you tell us about your latest release?
This is my first novel, “Chimes from a Cracked Southern Belle,” and it was named a Top Summer Read by the University of Georgia and a Pulpwood Queens selection for 2013. The novel has also received accolades from Sara Gruen, “Water for Elephants” and great reviews from other best-selling authors.
Do you have a day job as well?
I work from home as a columnist and feature writer, based in Asheville, N.C., for the Asheville Citizen-Times. I grew up in LaGrange, George and attended the University of Georgia where I majored and graduated with a degree in journalism.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
This novel was first accepted by several New York top agents about 8 years ago, but it was “Not Tonight Honey” that sold first. I then did a two-book deal with Kensington Publishing in New York, and my agent, during the Recession, took on the novel but didn’t sell it.I was so disappointed, but encouraged by many to keep at it, so I signed with a small publisher and we worked for three years to get it ready for print. Grateful Steps, a non-profit publisher, did a great job with editing this novel, so I encourage all writers to never give up. I didn’t think, after so many years, I’d see this finally come to fruition, but so far it’s getting so many good reviews and I’m glad I didn’t just shove it under the bed.
The title was my idea. Having been with large New York publishers, some of which preferred their own titles to my work, I really was set on this because it’s so fitting of the main character, who despite all odds, manages to survive the unthinkable and build a wonderful life, paved with so many quirky characters along her journey.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m taxing my 15-year-old daughter or taking her to the ATM, thus depleting all resources until she can gain employment! I also have a son, 20, and he keeps me on guard daily, proving your kids never really grow up and leave the nest. I also volunteer and work for non-profits.
Is there a question you’d love someone to ask you, but they haven’t? If so, what is it, and how would you answer it?
The question I wish someone would ask is, “Do you want a free facelift?” to which I’d reply, “Sign me up right now.” I’m not about aging all that gracefully, unless Ulta at the mall or the Estee Lauder counter is considered grace.
Give us the 140 character TWEET description of your book.
I don’t tweet, I’m so sorry. I’m low tech. But if I tweeted, I’d say, “You need to buy this book now. It’s some good reading and crazy shit happens in this book that you won’t believe until you read it. It’s really about character development. Kind of like that movie where Natalie Portman gives birth at Wal-Mart.” (I guess you better edit the Tweet)
What would the theme song be for your book?
The theme song, as if picturing a book as a movie (which there has been some interest), would be Peter Frampton singing “Baby I Love Your Way” or James Taylor’s “Carolina on my Mind,” since it’s set in the Carolinas.
Read the synopsis and an excerpt from about Susan’s latest novel, Chimes from a Cracked Southern Belle