An Illinois native, Susan grew up on a small farm near Danville, where she loved walking through the fields, bicycling and–of course–reading. She read the Little House books so often that she practically memorized them, and was a devoted fan of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. So it’s no great surprise that she began her writing career when she was still in her teens, selling short stories for young readers to magazines like Calling All Girls, Jack and Jill, and American Girl.
But that writing career had to wait almost three decades. Marriage, kids (two boys and a girl), college and graduate school, and appointments as an English professor and university administrator intervened. It wasn’t until midlife that Susan decided that it was high time to do what she loved most. She left the university, returned to writing, and never looked back. A prolific writer who is always exploring and experimenting with form and style, she is the author or co-author of over 130 mysteries, historical and biographical fiction, memoir, and nonfiction. Her books have sold nearly five million copies.
A longtime member of Women Writing the West and Sisters in Crime, Susan believes passionately in the power and importance of women’s stories. In 1997, she founded the Story Circle Network, an international membership organization that supports women writers. She has been honored by membership in the Texas Institute of Letters and the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. Always interested in the business side of the publishing world, in 2013 she began publishing under her own imprint, Persevero Press.
Watch “Central Texas Gardener” on KLRU/TV. Susan and show host Tom Spencer talk about Mourning Gloria and the effects of psychoactive plants that wake us up, make us drowsy, and make us high.
Listen to Susan talk with author-publisher-documentarian Liz McMullen about Loving Eleanor and fact-based fiction.