Little did I know I was in the presence of a New York Times best selling author. I knew Susan wrote, but I didn’t know she had books published.
When I was working with her in 2010, she had already published five books, one book in particular, Beauty, was really well received. Published in 1994, it was even made into a CBS Sunday Night Movie.
For all of us who were old enough in the nineties, you’ll remember this night on TV. Beauty was a modern version of Beauty and the Beast. It was a hit. Luckily if you didn’t watch it then, you might see it on the Lifetime network. It’s a rebroadcast staple on the popular channel.
Beauty was actually Susan’s first published book. How do you like that? First book is a success, an author’s dream. Susan wrote four more after that, but none were as well received. She actually had sort of a dry spell for a couple of years.
During this time, she began working at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, in the development office. She had other jobs before and was yet to have her full time gig as author, but something wonderful happened during this timeframe.
It’s 2007. She was on a lunch break one day, walking through the streets of Edgartown, talking with her agent. Susan was yet to be inspired for a new book and her publishing company, wanted another book. During that conversation her agent said, “Dog stories are really popular” as a passing comment.
Little did the world know it but that comment would change the direction of Susan’s writing. It really got Susan thinking. She loved dogs, has a dog (Bonnie), and she knew she could write a damn good dog story.
In 2007 Susan was on a riding vacation in Portugal. Susan loves to ride horses. So, there she is riding in the countryside and during this time she starts to sketch out a concept for a book. There on vacation she has thoughts of humankind and its relationships with dogs and stories of redemption.
Susan began writing. She wrote a story of redemption and how sometimes you have to loose it all to really find your humanity. She showed the story to her agent, who then sold it to an editor, Jennifer Enderlin from St. Martin’s Press. Jennifer loved it, and in 2010 One Good Dog was published.
One Good Dog was an immediate success. Susan was humbled. The book proved to be so powerful for not only dog lovers, but all sorts of people, all over the world. It became a New York Times best seller, Susan’s name was right there with authors like James Patterson, Jodi Picoult, and E.L. James. That’s beyond cool, and an amazing achievement. This Island is full of people doing incredible things!
Susan then went on to write The Dog Who Danced, published in 2012 and A Man of His Own, published in 2013. Two more books about the human struggle and the love and support of a canine pal. Stories of being lost and being found, of self-realization. These are books that might just make you laugh and cry.
Susan is currently working on her D.S. #4 as she likes to call it, dog story number four. This book is about a former K-9 unit police officer whose life comes unraveled. That’s the only tease I can give you for now. The title might be The Dog Who Saved Me, but chances are it will change. I think this one will definitely make you hug your pooch a little tighter.
It’s so interesting how one statement during a phone call can change one’s life. What if Susan never had that call? What would she be writing about I wonder. However, it did happen, and Susan is a full-time author with many more stories up her sleeves or should I say paws? In her writing room in her house in Oak Bluffs, along with her dog, Bonnie, she continues to create stories that capture the human experience.
Not surprising, Susan always wanted to be a writer. She was that shy child who liked to spend her free time in the library. When she wasn’t reading, she was writing. When she was a little girl, Susan loved to write stories based on her favorite TV shows and insert herself in the plot. She would be aboard the Star Ship Enterprise one day and be on an adventure in a big city the next.
Though Susan has worn many hats over the years, writing always found her. Before Susan lived on Martha’s Vineyard, she and her two girls Liz and Alison, and her husband, David, lived in Connecticut. There Susan dabbled in writing here and there but it wasn’t an art that was really supported there at the time.
In 1988, Susan and her family moved to Martha’s Vineyard. She had summered here for years. Her family owned a house in the Campgrounds in Oak Bluffs, and it was like home. David had grown up here. They met in 1970 during a summer on the Vineyard and the rest is history. David always knew he’d bring her back her.
Moving to the Island ended up being an amazing opportunity for Susan as a writer. Here, everywhere she went people were creating music, writing, painting, it was a mecca for the arts. People talked about it.
Susan joined a mom’s writing group. We all know what that means — chatting about kids and our husbands with a sprinkle of what we’re really supposed to be focusing on. However, this group actually did do some writing, and as fate would have it, Holly Nadler was in the group. Holly really liked one of Susan’s pieces, and suggested she get in touch with Holly’s former agent.
This was the in that Susan needed. She published Beauty and never gave up her dream and passion of writing. She now is a successful, Island author. Susan Wilson is living and working her dream. She is always touched by how her words, her stories, evoke so much emotion from people.
In a way, Susan can teach us all a lesson or two. If you have a dream, go for it, even if it happens after a number of jobs and children. Your dream will wait for you. If you win and then fall, don’t give up. True passion can bring you success and happiness, and of course, if you spend a little time on Martha’s Vineyard, chances are fate might work in your favor.
D.S. #4 is coming out in 2015. Look for it at book sellers everywhere. In the meantime, you can go to Bunch of Grapes or Edgartown Books (when it re-opens), visit Amazon or Barnes and Noble for Susan Wilson’s collection of books.
Also, I should mention that Susan is the editor of the Dukes County Intelligencer, a publication of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.