Susan’s first YA novel, the END OF NORMAL, will be available October 6, 2014 by Champagne Books and can be purchased through any online bookstore. I am in the process of developing a new, and much better website, but until it’s ready, you can check out my current, rather pitiful site. It has my bi-weekly blog and books I’m working on. My new site will be much better, so bookmark my web address and check back in a few weeks.
You can find out more about Susan at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest
After spending much of my early life loving books, I decided to switch from reading, reading, and more reading to writing, reading, and more writing. I love young adult and middle grade books and am excited about my first full length YA novel The End of Normal's release on October 6.
It's funny how my new book, End of Normal, came about, well maybe funny’s not the word I'm looking for, maybe circuitous and tortuous and winding are more apt. Let me start earlier and then the origin of Normal will make more sense. After working as a high school math teacher (truly the hardest job I've even done), I moved on to grant writing and fund raising for various community colleges. I'm a huge fan of community colleges because they open their doors to everyone. What's not to love about equal opportunity education? After spending several years writing everything and anything that would bring in money for the colleges and attending what seemed, to me at least, every social event in southeast Harris County in an effort to mingle with possible donors, I realized how much I enjoyed writing, just not the boring Give us Money stuff I was doing. I wanted to write fiction, children and young adult fiction to be precise.
Why such an urge, you might ask. Simple, as a long time reader (I grew up in a big family--4 sisters and 3 brothers--and the only way I got any peace was to read because my parents encouraged reading and they wouldn't bug me to do other things such as chores if I was reading. Needless to say, I read every chance I got; I really, really hated housework, still do.) Thanks to all my early reading, I have a serious love affair with the written word of the made up kind, in other words fiction. So, thanks to the support both emotionally and financially from my family, I quite my fund raising job and enrolled in Spalding University's limited residency MFA in Creative Writing, specializing in writing for children and young adults.
The first semester I did little more than realize how much I didn't know about the craft of writing after that I began absorbing everything. I now understand I will always need to be learning. Yeah I've got the basics, but you can always improve and I want to get better and better because my ultimate dream (besides winning the Newbery--come on what children's author doesn't dream of that?) is that somewhere, sometime, a boy or girl will put down my book and let the surprise or beauty or wonder of my words swim around inside his or her head and maybe, just maybe, give a little sigh of pleasure. That is my goal and I hope to achieve it.
Now, back to how I came up with the initial concept of End of Normal. It was my first semester at Spalding and I was trying to decide what story to focus on. Picture the scene, it was a rainy, cold (for us on the Texas Gulf Coast) afternoon and I was listening to one of my favorite books, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which if you haven't read it, you should. Anyway, there I was totally immersed in this chilly, dreary world when I pulled into the Walgreens parking lot near my home. And there, right smack in front of me were two deaf men arguing, using no words, only grunts, violent gestures, and angry facial expressions. It was compelling and I was drawn in, thinking about deafness and the inability to speak with words. I knew right then I wanted to write a YA or MG book about the end-of-the-world and have one of the main characters be deaf. So I did. The story stayed with me through my time at Spalding, it changed from dark and brooding, to light and funny, to sort of mixture of both with a lot of action, a smidge of romance of the PG kind, and sci-fi thrown in for good measure, including the discovery of a second earth and the moon landing hoax. How fun is that?
Champagne's YA Imprint Burst Books picked up End of Normal and now, after more revision than I thought humanly possible, my book is ready for you. I hope you enjoy it.
If you would like to receive an advance copy of the END OF NORMAL for review, please fill out this form.
Olivia’s normal world also includes her gentle astrophysicist father and her twin brother Charlie, who is deaf. Despite proclaiming that his deafness is no big deal, deep inside Olivia feels it is a big deal and that it’s her duty to protect him.
Olivia’s normal ends that night when strange lights shoot out of the sky and turn into stinging drones, killing their parents, or at least they think their parents die, but do they? Forced to flee, the twins join forces with friends Axel, Clara, and Sawyer, to search for answers to the strange invasion. Discovering a conspiracy to hide the discovery of a second earth, they search for a way to stop the destruction of their world.