Unlike many other writers, I didn't always know that was what I wanted to do. I grew up in a small farming community in the middle of Minnesota, the daughter of a minister and a librarian. It was quite conducive to growing up a dedicated reader -- there weren't a whole lot of distractions! -- but becoming a writer just seemed like too big a dream to admit to, even to myself. But somewhere in the middle of junior high school, a dear friend shoved a copy of The Flame and the Flower in my hands and said "you gotta read this!" and my life was never quite the same... in more ways than one.
I went off to college in the glamorous environs of Fargo, North Dakota, certain that I was going to be a research scientist, fully planning to go off to Alaska and band polar bears or some other grand adventure. Then, however, I was assigned my first big research project, which entailed getting up at an ungodly hour of the morning, tromping out to the swamp in forty-degree weather, all by my lonesome, and writing down every move these not-even-nearly-extinct birds made. I changed my major rather quickly, but I did acquire something of lasting value at that college -- my husband. (My husband was born in China and raised in Hong Kong. And here is where I used to tell my slightly exaggerated green-card marriage story. However, despite the fact that I make up romantic lies for a living, people had a tendency to believe every word. I decided I really didn't relish the thought of being investigated by the INS, even for a really good story, and so I've reluctantly given it up.)
I spent the next several years studying wildlife of another sort entirely. I taught and tutored high school students in science and math, not to mention producing a few wild and wonderful young men of my own. Somewhere in there, in the ten years it took me to talk my husband into having our third son, I decided to take a stab at writing one of the stories I loved so much. In 1991, my New Year's resolution was to write a book. (This, by the way, is the only resolution in my entire life I've ever kept.) It took me fourteen months to write that first book (Journey Home) and it was a charmed book from the beginning. The first agent I sent it to took it only two days after she received it, and she sold it under a week to HarperPaperbacks. It won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart and was named Waldenbooks Bestselling Debut Romance of 1992. I mean seriously, talk about a fairy tale!
I went on to write twelve more historical romances, the most recent of which, A Wanted Man, won RWAís RITA Award for best short historical.(For those of you who don't know, the RITA is romance's Oscar, complete with an all-star, sequin-studded ceremony.) But life is full of curves, and a few big sweeping ones have nudged me into writing books that donít fit quite so neatly into genre fiction. So, until the next curve, Iíll be writing books that explore the crazy, intense years of a womanís life when she finds herself squeezed between children and parents, spouses and careers, all the while trying to hang on to herself and discover what she really wants out of life.
Me, what I really want out of life is to be a ski bum. Especially if my family can be up there on that mountain with me.
But Iíve got a few more books to write first.
Every summer Romance Writers of America's host their annual "Readers for Life" booksigning benefit, and Susan is often there! The event features hundreds of romance authors, all signing their latest titles. The booksigning is always free and open to the public, and every year the benefit raises thousands of dollars.