Here’s to the future

penguinThis morning I signed my name on the dotted line of a new adventure in my writing career. After several months of behind-the-curtain work, I am thrilled to share with you that my next two  novels will be with Penguin/NAL.  The first one,  A FALL OF MARIGOLDS, will hit bookstore shelves in February 2014.

I am also so happy to say this book will be a blend of historical and contemporary story-lines, just like my last five; a style that  I’ve come to feel very much at home with.

The move is a happy and bittersweet one. I’ve had a wonderful experience with my last publishing house and have had the privilege of working with an amazingly gifted editor. But I feel that each step I’ve taken on this journey– since my very first contract when I was unagented and unknown — has been to broaden my vision for the reader I am writing for.  To think bigger. To reach farther. To find those readers who are looking for the kind of story I like to tell.  My new editor at Penguin is also superbly intuitive and wise and I am already incredibly grateful for her insights on A FALL OF MARIGOLDS.  And the best part is, I am still me. Changing houses does not mean I have to change who I am or how I craft a story.

I’ve always approached the faith element of my novels with a subtle hand, by intention. I liken my style to the Book of Esther, an amazing clutch of pages  in the Old Testament where the faith element is as understated as you will ever see it in the Bible. It’s so subtle that God is never mentioned, and yet the story is an amazing one, full of the moralistic plot elements that make for a memorable story peopled with empathetic characters. I write for the reader who wants that kind of story.

May I just whet your appetite with a few of the details of A FALL OF MARIGOLDS? The historical thread is this: It’s 1911 and Clara Wood is at last living the New York City life that she’s always wanted. She is not expecting to fall in love with Edward Brim on her first day at her new job as a nurse, nor is she ready for that love to be shattered when Edward is one of the dozens who jump to their deaths in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire only two weeks later. She exiles herself to a place where the life she might’ve had can hang suspended in the in-between world that is Ellis Island’s immigrant hospital. Clara meets Andrew Gwynn, a Welsh immigrant whose new bride Lily – a woman he barely knew before marrying her – died of scarlet fever aboard ship. Clara feels a kinship within their common grief as both she and Andrew loved and lost someone they’d known for mere days. While nursing Andrew back to health, Clara learns Lily is not who Andrew thought she was. Now Clara must decide if she will tell Andrew the truth or let him grieve something he never truly had. The contemporary framing is one hundred years later.  It’s the year 2011 and it’s mere days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Taryn Michaels, a single mother who was made a widow that terrible day, is reunited with a century-old scarf that had been handed to her minutes before the first plane hit the World Trade Center, a scarf that at one time belonged to an Ellis Island immigrant whose wife died aboard the ship that brought him to America…

The story is not about what it is like to lose someone you love; it’s about trusting in love enough to risk embracing it again after grief.  Loss makes us careful. It can also make us fearful.  Fear and love just don’t belong together. Too much of one and the other begins to disappear. I will be sharing more about what I have been learning about this theme, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, 9/11, and  Ellis Island during the writing of this book as the months progress. In the meantime I hope you will be as looking forward to A FALL OF MARIGOLDS as I am to share it with you.

Here’s to the future!


Author: Susan

This post has 24 Comments

  1. Pattie on May 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Happy for you!

  2. Laura McClellan on May 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I am so excited to hear of this next step on your writing journey. One of the things I most admire about your novels is that subtle hand you talk about. What a wonderful opportunity to reach a whole new world of readers!

    And I cannot wait to read A FALL OF MARIGOLDS!


  3. Susan on May 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks, Pattie and Laura!

  4. Anne Mateer on May 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    So proud of and excited for you, Susan! As usual, can’t wait to read your new book. And of course praying great success and blessing in your new journey! 🙂

  5. Susan on May 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you, Lady D’Ann!

  6. Mary Kay on May 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Oh, good news, Susan. Congratulations on another new step and a new audience. I daresay, you won’t be losing any of us–your “old” audience!

    Looking forward to A FALL OF MARIGOLDS. Blessings to you.

  7. Dana McNeely on May 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    That’s exciting news, Susan. Let me know if I can help with influencing when the time comes.

  8. Elizabeth Byler Younts on May 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Amazing news, Susan. So happy for you! I’d read your books if they were written on the back of a napkin…can’t wait for this one!

  9. Patti on May 13, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Whatever publisher you use, I am just looking forward to more books! I picked up your “Why the Sky is Blue’ a year or so ago, and immediately went back looking for more . I have since read and liked all your other books! I am always wondering, ‘how does she come up with these ideas for stories??’ I especially like the ones that intertwine the past and the present. The characters always seem so real…I am always sorry when I have to say goodbye to them! And I very much like how show the spiritual side of your characters, and their struggles with faith. It adds so much more dimension to the character, and has caused me to consider how I would react in similar situations…. Keep the books coming….I will keep reading them!!!

  10. Lane Hill House on May 13, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Time to reach the off-key singers, the ones not in the choir. Count me in as influencer! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  11. Susan on May 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Thank you, thank you,Mary Kay, Dana, Elizabeth, Patti,and Kathleen!

  12. Heather Day Gilbert on May 13, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Susan, I am thrilled that your writing will have an even larger audience. I love your Contemp/Historical blend and this new one sounds interesting! Blessings as you expand your “territory” for the Lord.

  13. Susan on May 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks, Heather!

  14. Cindy Thomson on May 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I’m super excited to read this, Susan. Congrats! Because I’ve also been researching Ellis Island for my stories, I can’t wait!

  15. Melody Harris on May 13, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    How exciting for you Susan! I am already looking forward to February when I can read yet another exciting book by my favorite author! Thank you for posting this and wetting our appetite with a delightful “tease” of what to expect.

  16. Marybeth Whalen on May 14, 2013 at 12:03 am

    So excited for you. The book sounds gripping. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  17. Susan on May 14, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Thanks, Cindy, Melody and Marybeth!

  18. Rebecca Barlow Jordan on May 14, 2013 at 2:16 am

    Susan, I can’t wait to read your new book. It sounds exciting. Thanks for the preview!!I have loved the blend of historical and contemporary in your novels. But then, I’ve enjoyed ALL your novels!

  19. Kellie Coates Gilbert on May 14, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Clap, clap, clap…..wonderful news, Susan. Congratulations.

  20. sharon miller on May 14, 2013 at 6:06 am

    I really enjoy your books, Susan! Great plots and character development. Can’t wait to read this one, too.

  21. Melissa DePasse on May 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    This book sounds fascinating! I love the idea of heirlooms/artifacts connecting the present to the past. (One of my short stories has one of these!) Congratulations and many blessings for your new partnership and novel.

  22. Joanne Bischof on May 16, 2013 at 2:42 am

    “happy and bittersweet”, so well said. Wishing you the absolute BEST on your new writing adventure. I just love your style of blending historical and contemporary. So happy to know that more books are coming!

  23. Arlene Pellicane on May 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    So happy and proud of you! Fall of Marigolds sounds intriguing and beautiful. Way to go! Praying for much success in this new adventure with Penguin!

  24. Beyonce on May 25, 2014 at 8:10 am

    When you think about it, that’s got to be the right anersw.

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