When I see a photo of me, it never looks like I think I do. From the inside looking out, I'm always surprised my life doesn't reflect in my features. To start with, I know how old I'm supposed to be. I look a lot older than I feel. Although I'm looking 70 in the eye, I don't feel much older than thirty-five. I've been accused of acting even younger.

Been a busy life though. Tell you this much; I've never been bored. I knew I was a writer before I knew what writing was or how to do it. By four my mom told me, in answer to my question, that books happen because someone writes a story. Okay.

That four-year old thought, I'm gonna find out how to write, then I'm gonna make books. I already told stories to myself, every single night. Just in my head, no talking after I'm in bed. My mother's rules were very strict. Perhaps that's why I don't like rules. Well, I like rules just fine as long as I'm making them.

 At eight years old, I went to my first library. Whoooo boy! All those BOOKS! Instant decision: after I make a book, I want it in a library!   By the end of this month I should have a book on my local library's shelf.

Between there and here, I've lived in Maine, my birth state (Long Island, Limerick, Limington, Portland, Scarborough and Kezar Falls) Florida, (Tampa and Citrus Park) Pennsylvania, (Clearville and Everett) and now, Virginia (Richmond and Amelia County).

I've always written, just never could get the stories in my head on paper fast enough. Therefore, I did what I could do. Newspaper articles, advertising, even had a couple of regular columns in the Bedford County (PA) paper. Won second prize in a short story contest honoring Alfred Hitchcock's favorite writer, Henry Slezar, for his TV series. It was published in Futures Magazine in 2003. While writing for the Bedford (PA) Gazette I was given the honor of researching and writing an entire section of the paper for a celebration of the town's birthday.

That's when Kate started getting into my head. I was using a computer so I could keep up with what I saw behind my eyes. She wanted to steal my skills and have we ever had fun since then! I've had people suggest that Katherine Anne Tucker and I are the same.

Nope. The stories are not about me. Besides my skills, she's been given snippets of people I know, backed up with traits and habits I've seen in still other people. Kate needed, at her age, to have a background, so I gave her an ex-husband and two sons. Kate's ex-husband isn't one of mine; he's the personification of the evil that creates abusive spouses--regardless of gender. Kate's sons aren't mine, but I've stolen some of the jobs and hobbies they've had. My sons are wonderful, supportive men, who produce the best looking grand-kids in the entire world.

These two sons in the books are all the boys and young men I watched grow up. The foster daughter? The girls I enjoyed watching grow into women. I won't tell you which one, but one of them is in this story as herself--name and all. We've been friends since she was a preteen.

I'm enjoying my life. I live with two beagles and two cats. I belong to Grace United Methodist Church in Wilsons, VA and am an active member. The church is the centerpiece of my life. The members and pastor of the church are very special, and are a wonderful group of kind and caring people.

                                                                                                                H. Susan Shaw 

 

No, I'm not going to tell you what the H. stands for!

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