Author, Author! — Susie Finkbeiner

4 Jun

I am so excited to have Susie Finkbeiner on the blog today. I fell in love with young Pearl Spence in A Cup of Dust, and that experience started me on the road to reading everything that Susie writes. Susie’s books vividly bring to life the place and time in which they are set, but above all else tell stories that resonate with readers. Relatable characters find a way into a reader’s heart. Her newest book, Stories That Bind Us, is set in 1960s America, and promises a very timely read. I cannot wait to dig into it.

Susie shares with us today her writing journey and craft, and a sneak peek into what is up next. Thanks, Susie, for sharing.

Q&A with Susie Finkbeiner

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative who encouraged you to be a writer?

I’ve been fortunate to have many people in my life who have encouraged my writing life. But this time, I’d really like to direct attention to the guy who has been my biggest supporter. When Jeff asked me to marry him he had no idea that I was going to end up writing for my career. Still, at every step (from seeking out agents to dealing with rejections to gaining a readership) he has been the one to prop me up. 

He never doubts that this is a way God chooses to use me. He always believes in my ability. He refuses to let me give up even on the most challenging days. 

He’s my very favorite reader and it means so much to me that I’m his favorite author.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Yes! There were many. I, like all other authors, had to experience rejection from agents and editors. I needed to learn to make time in the day to write. As a matter of fact, I wrote my first two novels while my kids were in between being toddlers and preschoolers. 

The beauty of those obstacles was that they prepared me for the pressures of life in publishing. The rejections built up my thick skin so I could handle less than glowing reviews. Getting back up after hearing another “no thanks” taught me to persevere on the more difficult days of writing. Building a habit of making time to write got me ready for working under a deadline.

It’s no doubt that those difficulties were hard to face, but I am so grateful for every one of them for building me into the writer I am today.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

Years ago, when my first novel released a friend sent me a message to let me know what she thought about the book. She wrote four words that have come to mean so much to me. “It gave me hope.”

My greatest desire in my writing is that readers will reach the end of a story with a new found or refreshed sense of hope. Hope that even in the scariest times, God is our protector and provider. That when the pain is sharpest, hope that God is our healer, drawing near to the broken hearted. And that when the night seems darkest, hope that our Father is prepared to bring the dawn of a new day.

Readers always want to know what’s next for an author. Do you have any works in progress that you can share about?

I’m currently working on a novel that revolves around the happenings at the end of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. The research for this story has been challenging, heartbreaking, and full of hope. I can’t wait for readers to meet the Miller Family in 2021. 

 

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

 

%d bloggers like this: