Question of the Month: Cool People

by Susan Henderson on October 4, 2010

Know some cool people we should hear about? It can be a neighbor, someone who inspires you from afar, an artist who deserves a shout-out, or anyone who’s changed your life for the better.


I’ve been busy traveling and doing readings, and it’s been amazing to see so many of you along the way.

Thank you to all of you who came to readings, who blogged and tweeted about the book, who recommended it to book clubs, who reviewed it over at Amazon, and who participated in the amazing Up from the Blue e-Party. I can’t even tell you how it moved me and what a difference it made to the life of this book.

Here are links to just a sampling of the cool people who said very generous things about my book…

Jessica Keener at Confessions of a Hermit Crab, Robin Slick at In Her Own Write, Tish Cohen, Patry Francis at Simply Wait, Adrienne Crezo at The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog, the Kindle Editors, LargeHearted Boy, Helen’s Reads, Michelle Erin at my books. my life, Laura Benedict at Notes from the Handbasket, Billie Hinton at camera-obscura and mystic-lit, Ellen Meister at Side Dish, Tiffany Harkleroad at Tiffany’s Bookshelf, Sarah Strand at Strand Update, Jennifer at Rundpinne, Grace at Books Like Breathing, Zoë at In the Next Room, Carolyn Burns Bass at LitChat, Carol Fitzgerald at BookReporter, Meredith Gordon Resnick at The Writer’s [Inner] Journey, Maureen Dempsey at Hybrid Mom, Jennifer Haupt at the One True Thing (Psychology Today) blog, Greg Olear at The Nervous Breakdown, Rebecca Rasmussen’s at The Bird Sisters blog, Caroline Leavitt at Caroline Leavittville, Robin Antalek, Ben Opipari at Writers On Process, Chuck Sambuchino at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, and The Nervous Breakdown.

I’m grateful to all of you! Now tell me about some of the cool people in your life….

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Chuck October 4, 2010 at 3:18 am

Rock and roll! So happy to make the list!


Susan Henderson October 4, 2010 at 11:26 am

My pleasure!

And here’s a link to Chuck’s latest:


Nathalie October 4, 2010 at 5:42 am

I nominate Kimberly Whetherell! She Shoots to Conquer


Susan Henderson October 4, 2010 at 11:24 am

Kimberly’s phenomenal. Wildly talented and wildly generous. I’m so glad she’s first to make this list!


Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 4:17 am

Holy cats! I’m about to bust into tears!

That’ll teach me to check in late!!!

I’m just a mirror folks – reflecting the generosity and talent I’m so honored and continually flabbergasted to be surrounded by…


Nathalie October 4, 2010 at 5:43 am

And of course, I mangle her last name in the process. I should have my coffee BEFORE internet. That’s Wetherell. Hem. Sorry…


Billy Bones October 4, 2010 at 11:43 am

The people that I hang out with are beyond cool. Cold, some would say.
Always my best,


Susan Henderson October 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

It’s very hard to get me to laugh this early in the morning, but you just did!


Billy Bones October 4, 2010 at 6:57 pm

You made my day.


billie hinton October 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I LOVE your book. Just wanted to say that! 🙂

My writing group partner (we have a group of 2, but for some reason we call it a group!), Dawn Deanna Wilson, is a very cool writer and person. Our monthly writing weekends have kept me focused for this past year, and because of scheduling this month we aren’t meeting – and I am already missing the energy.

Her website:


Susan Henderson October 4, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Billie, Thank for that! And love where that link took me… Dawn is very cool indeed!


Carolyn Burns Bass October 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Ah, Susan. This is indeed a list of cool people and I’m thrilled (and humbled) to be listed. Even more amazing is how supportive each and every one of these people are to the literary community. I am so excited about your visit to #litchat this Friday and will be spreading the word all week.

I second the nomination for Kimberly Whetherell.

Can I nominate more than one person? I’m going to anyway, because they are both so deserving.

A.S. King, author of PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ (pubs October 12) and DUST OF 100 DOGS (2009). She is so cool she’s has to wear sweats when she writes. Amy follows you as guest host in #litchat next week (October 15). (

Aurelio O’Brien (, author of EVE) is one of the most modest people of great talent I’ve ever met. I know I don’t have to convince you, Susan, of how awesome he is, but some here may not know him. He is a consummate artist whose cauldron of ideas is always bubbling with great stuff and he is generous in professional courtesy and friendship.


Susan Henderson October 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Let me get these links live so everyone can click over:

A.S. King:

Aurelio O’Brien:

And Carolyn, I’m so thrilled to be joining you on LitChat this Friday. I’ll help you get the word out in the next few days… I think you’ve picked a topic that will interest every writer who feels they’re about out of stamina and faith to see their book published.


Aurelio O'Brien October 5, 2010 at 1:50 pm


Carolyn – we’re overdue for a meet-up at Vroman’s. We’ll have to scope out their list and see what’s interesting.

My list is very long – I admire so many people I meet. ALL you LitPark folks are all pretty special to me.

One of my favorite people ever was my partner Chuck’s dad, Lloyd Richardson. (I hope this link works.) He treated me like a son from the start. He was humble, sincere, kind, and knew the value of simple living. He died about 8 years ago, and I miss him a lot. I was never really close to my own dad, so Lloyd became the dad I always wanted–lucky me. 🙂


Susan Henderson October 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm

He sounds wonderful! I’ll link again, just in case:

(Jealous you guys get to hang out at Vroman’s!)


Aurelio O'Brien October 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm

I keep telling ya–you need to do an event there!

Dee Stewart October 4, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Congrats, Carolyn! You are definitely a cool person in my life also.


Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 4:19 am

Okay now. This is just too kind…

And I’ll second Aurelio. Cool doesn’t even BEGIN to describe him.


Elizabeth Crane October 4, 2010 at 2:21 pm

This may be the coolest person I’ve ever come across:
Met him at Yaddo this summer. He’s a sweetheart and he’s insanely talented. Watch some of the video for only a glimpse of what he can do – he’s an incredible singer and piano player as well.


Susan Henderson October 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Wow, what a talent! And I was already sold when I saw his wings!


Elizabeth Crane October 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Awesome! Sue, if you ever get a chance to see him perform, don’t miss it. We were all blown away.


robin antalek October 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Oh, Susan — thanks for the shout out! I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful effort to get the word out for your lovely, lovely book.

The answer to your question would have to be my daughters. My oldest is a breathtakingly talented painter attending RISD and my younger is an elegant, graceful, athlete. They are strong, fierce, proud, loyal, smart, and not afraid of being different, standing up for what is right or speaking their minds. Every minute I’m with them I marvel that I had something, anything, to do with their creation. They are indeed the coolest people I know.


Susan Henderson October 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm

What a tribute to your daughters… and says so much about you!


Jessica Keener October 5, 2010 at 1:47 am

Sue–this is such a fun, happy question, and thank you so much for putting me on your list.

In the book world, the cool people for me are editing and writing for literary magazines and blogging about books and writing. (Like litpark, and you, you & you.)

In animal sciences and neurobiology, Temple Grandin is my cool person.

In my family world–my son and husband–because they challenge and change the way I view the world and myself–like–just-about-every-day.

And, my older sister, Lynne, is cool for her courage and vulnerability, and for speaking the truth.


Susan Henderson October 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I’m in awe of Temple Grandin, too. And I love what you said about your sister. 🙂


Robin Slick October 5, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Aw, what a cool post (ha) and the photo of you signing is absolutely gorgeous.

Thanks for including me in the list of cool people. I try. Or maybe I don’t try, which is why I am cool. 🙂

Big surprise – my candidates are you, Tish, Jessica, Ellen…oh God, now that I’ve started, I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out so let’s just say all of the fabulous writers I’ve met here, at Zoetrope, Backspace, etc.

And yeah, yeah, you know I had to say it — my kids: and

While I’m here – do cool people play Scrabble on Facebook? Ha ha, I just joined and can’t find any worth opponents. xo


Susan Henderson October 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Hee, love it… so cool you don’t have to try. I hope everyone clicks on the links to your amazing kids. And thank you again (the three of you) for just incredible heart and generosity.


Carolyn Burns Bass October 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Robin, I don’t play Scrabble on FB, but Lexulous, which is a Scrabble knock-off. I prefer it to the FB Scrabble because it loads faster and is easier on the eyes. I don’t play many people, but I do enjoy challenging opponents.


Jim Nichols October 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Great signing photo, Sue…they can use that on your next book.

My coolest contemporary person is Kevin Waters…the guy who started our flying service. This profile says it all


Susan Henderson October 6, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Extraordinary. I love that you thought of a pilot. (And I still want to catch a flight with you sometime!)


Jim Nichols October 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm

You can grace our little aircraft any old time.


Susan Henderson October 8, 2010 at 1:11 am

All riiiight!


lance October 7, 2010 at 1:52 am

most certainly going to nominate Kimberly, again!

and…I’m just awed by everyone getting involved with the It Gets Better Project on youtube.

and, Rakesh Satyal ( a fellow nominee and the winner I was thrilled to lose the Lambda Literary Award to) managed to blow my socks off today;


Susan Henderson October 7, 2010 at 2:01 am

The It Gets Better Project is a beautiful thing… wow. And the Deliverance moment is awesome!

And really lovely gesture by Rakesh… though I would have been thrilled if he’d come in second to you. xo


Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 4:21 am

Now I’m just embarrassed. 😉


Rosie October 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I love this idea of sharing inspiring people we know – 4 extremely cool writers deserving a shoutout are Simon Armitage, Lavinia Greenlaw, Joe Dunthorne and Daljit Nagra. They’ve just filmed these videos talking about their inspiration, and giving poetry-writing tips.

Also, Sarah Von of Yes and Yes is joyfully positive and her blog bubbles over with inspiration and encouragement:


Susan Henderson October 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Rosie, Thank you for posting the Yes and Yes link… I really needed that today! And looking forward to watching the poet videos. Glad you’re here.


Kimberly October 19, 2010 at 4:33 am

Okay. Now that I’m completely floored, may I make a comment in return?

Besides the brilliant, generous and talented people who I’ve met through this blog and whom I’m consistently humbled to be in the company (on- or offline) of…

I’m going to nominate someone who, at the time, was the most terrible, horrible, no-good, very worst person I could think of, but without whom, my life would be irrevocably different.

I won’t mention her name (it’s irrelevant), but if that woman had not hired me to manage her podunk opera tour of Taiwan, I would never have met Mr. H. If I had not Mr. H, I not only would have missed meeting my very favorite artistic collaborator, but I would not have met Mrs. H. If I had not met Mrs. H., I would never, EVER, have considered putting words onto paper professionally, nor would my world have been opened up in the way that it has by that magical discovery.

I owe everything that my life has become today to that absolutely horrid woman.

And I think that’s the coolest thing ever.


Susan Henderson October 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Ha!! I’m so grateful to that crazy lady. She completely changed the trajectory of our family, too.


Helen October 25, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for including me in your list of ‘cool people’. Good luck with book!


Susan Henderson October 26, 2010 at 12:52 am

Thanks for stopping by, Helen.


jenny milchman October 30, 2010 at 12:29 am

Hi Susan–congrats on your launch–I look forward to checking out your book! I co-host a writers series at this very cool independent bookstore (my entry for cool) and we love featuring debut authors. Here’s a link, if appearing might at all be a possibility–new events are always being planned Also, I feature authors in the Made It Moments column on my blog (another link and from the essay I read by you today, it sounds like you’ve given the topic of “making it” in this biz lots of thought already. Please drop me a line if you’d be interested in appearing! And again, best of luck with your debut…


Susan Henderson October 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Hi Jenny,

Glad you’re here! I would love to visit both your bookstore and your blog… and am really glad to hear of them!


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