This last Sunday I had the opportunity to hear Susan Wittig Albert speak at my local bookstore. Being a cozy writer in Texas, I was tickled to get to see the woman I consider to be THE cozy writer of Texas. She writes the China Bayles Series, as well as the Darling Dahlias. I’ve read one of the China Bayle’s books and am really intrigued by her other series being set in Alabama. I lived in Alabama for a short time after I graduated from college, excuse me–lower Alabama. It is fertile ground for small towns and cozy mystery.
The author was there with her husband, Bill Albert who is her co-writer for the pseudonym Robin Paige. Here are some interesting facts I learned about Susan.
1. She started out writing young adult fiction. She wanted to grow up to be Nancy Drew or Carolyn Keene, and she actually became of the many Carolyn Keene writers. Her husband wrote Hardy Boys novels.
2. She is fascinated by history. Her Darling Dahlias series is set in the 1930’s in Alabama. I loved listening to her talk about history and could almost hear it weaving into a story in her head. She is working on a book about Eleanor Roosevelt and her connection to an AP reporter.
3. She didn’t start writing until midlife. You know I love this fact, because it was the same for me. I think it takes that long to figure out if you really want to do something you’re going to have to work at it. Well, that and it’s a lot easier to write when you’re not trying to produce the great American novel in the span of a toddler’s nap.
When I was there I picked up her China Bayles Book of Days which Susan says is all the research that didn’t get into the books. I use this type of book for journaling and love working in the garden, so I’m know I will enjoy this collection. Watch out for an herbal poisoning somewhere in my literary future 🙂
Oh, and one more thing. She has written a book about Rose Wilder and her collaboration with her mother. It is self-published right now, but I think there is a publisher in the wings. If you loved the Little House books–it’s a must read. Here is some of the description:
A Wilder Rose tells the surprising true story of the often strained collaboration that produced the Little House books—a collaboration that Rose and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, concealed from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers. Acclaimed author Susan Wittig Albert follows the clues that take us straight to the heart of this fascinating literary mystery.
If you ever get a chance to hear a writer talk about his or her work, don’t pass it up. Hearing about someone else’s creative process, publishing experiences, and research is fascinating and inspiring.