Welcome back to Writer Wednesday, my favorite day of the week.
Today, we take a break from the romance writing world to welcome Susan Mary Malone, author of literary fiction and editor of numerous works.
I hope you enjoy this chance to get to know Susan and her work a little bit better!
What inspires you to write?
Just about everything, really. I can see a bent, elderly man shuffling with a cane, and my imagination runs to:
- What was his life like when young, strong, and in full vigor?
- Did someone love him once?
- Does someone still?
And then a fictional world comes to life.
Which type of genre do you love most, and why?
Literary Fiction, for sure. It’s what I love to read, and what I write. It’s the stuff about what makes people tick, making some sort of sense (however chaotic) of this crazy experience we call life.
Name one interesting thing you learned in researching/writing your last book:
My latest novel is a myth within a myth. As Paula listens to that myth told on the rickety otherworldliness of Diana’s porch (who is known as the white witch of Sociable), she first thinks it’s silly.
But the story of Vasalisa won’t leave her, and weaves through the plot, as Paula begins to understand the essence of it—that true guidance via the intuition lives within all of us.
Name two things people don’t know about you:
1) I’m actually quite an introvert. Even though I’m often speaking or out doing authorly things (I gave the keynote at the East Texas Writers Conference in April 2016), I have to watch for not just staying home with my dogs all the time!
2) I’m a true Poly wonk. I love, love, love the study of politics. It contains within it who we are as a people. This is so deeply ingrained in me that my ideal date would be with Chuck Todd! (Apologies to his wife.) But what a fabulous thing to sit down with him of an evening and ask, “What did you learn today, honey?”
What fellow literary fiction author do you recommend reading, and why?
Oh, dear—do I have to narrow it to one? Lol. Okay, if forced . . . I’d have to say Norman Maclean. Truer, deeper, more beautiful prose I have never known.
And good to note that he taught college literature for decades before penning A River Runs Through It (he was in his 70s when it was published).
Writing to such a level takes a long, long time . . .
What one piece of advice do you wish you’d had when first starting out?
That would circle back to the previous question. All writers tend to want success to be quick, painless (laughing here!); the genius within us recognized early on.
But again, I’ve never read more beautiful prose than Maclean’s—which took decades and decades to perfect.
Settle in. Keep working on your craft. No matter what.
What’s your favorite novel of all time, and why?
A River Runs Through It, in such a tiny span of space, goes straight to the depths of what love means to us, of how we can love people without understanding them. And does it in the most breathtaking language . . .
A Bit on I Just Came here to Dance:
Paula Anne Fairbanks understands all about the unexamined life. And she likes hers that way—until her world gets ripped smooth apart.
Running from reality, Paula falls under the mythological yarns being spun on Diana Maclean’s porch. Surely Paula’s own choices aren’t to blame for the summer of insanity she spends under the spells of Diana…who is, after all, known as the White Witch of Sociable, Texas.
I Just Came Here to Dance, a modern allegory, waltzes atop the line between the creative and the crazy, the sacred and the maligned. Through myths it weaves together the multi-layers of personal Self with that of the collective whole. And finally, Paula Anne and the townsfolk learn the simplest of truths: that the fire’s ashes produce wisdom and courage, just as the stories say.
A Bit on Susan:
Texas native Susan Mary Malone has published two novels, co-authored four nonfiction books, and written many short stories.
Her happiness is fiction, wine, and Labrador Retrievers, the latter of which she raises, trains, and shows. Literature is her love.
In addition to writing, she edits; fifty-plus Malone-edited books have sold to traditional publishers, and one of them was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame film (while another is in production).
Her stories revolve around the passions and purpose, the myths and meaning of women’s lives. Which often involves wine. She does, however, try to keep the Labradors out of that.
Want to Connect Further With Susan?
Thank you for joining us, Susan! It was a delight to learn more about you.
Hi Margaret and Susan! I’ve been following Susan’s blog for a while now and related to her in so many ways. It’s always fun to read an interview and find out even more tidbits that make up someone you’ve connected with online. BUT…I would never have guessed you liked politics! I certainly get the dogs and wine but politics? I suppose that is just one of those elements that makes you special and unique. Thanks Margaret for showing this side of Susan to all of us! ~Kathy
Thanks so much, Kathy, for popping in – my apologies for the delay in answering. One of those days! Susan’s got quite the following, as I saw in response to this interview on Twitter and the like. Thanks for stopping in to show some love!
Yep, I’m your basic poly-wonk, Kathy! Lol It’s the study of the human animal that tweaks me 🙂
Nice interview, Susan. I once took a college class from Norman McLean. Of course I was too young and dumb to appreciate it.
You’re a lucky duck, Judy! Thanks for stopping in to show Susan some love. 🙂
Oh, Judy! I am green with envy! Was he as fabulous as I dream he was?
He was very low key, non-assuming. As I said, I was young and green and didn’t know what I was being exposed to but I can still hear him discussing Yeats’ Leda and the Swan. At first I thought surely he was wrong–but of course he wasn’t. I’ve loved Yeats ever since that class.
Ah, heaven. You just made my heart sing!
I enjoyed reading about Susan. Nice interview, Margaret. I really identified with the idea to just keep plugging along, improving your craft; success is not instant for most people.
I agree 100%! Thanks for commenting, Kathleen!
Thanks, Kathleen! And so true about success 🙂