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One Foot in Each Book

by Susan Henderson on September 2, 2018

Ever feel like you’re trying to run in two different directions at once?

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I’ve been heavy into research for my new novel. I’ve interviewed a locksmith, a storehouse manager, a ward charge, a ward attendant, a photographer, a graffiti artist, and more—all to find out about their experiences working at, living in, or exploring a now-abandoned psychiatric hospital.

That’s a picture of a key the locksmith brought to our interview.

But while I’ve been busy with the new novel, I’ve also been doing a number of book clubs and speaking engagements for THE FLICKER OF OLD DREAMS. Here’s a link to my interview with Helen Little at the iHeart Radio studio in Manhattan. And below is a photo from my talk at the Syosset Public Library.

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I’m not a multi-tasker by nature, so this—splitting my attention, sometimes living out of a suitcase or running from back-to-back appointments—can be stressful. But I’m learning how to break out of my comfort zone and appreciate where it takes me.

There have been some wonderful surprises along the way, and I took screenshots so, later, I would know they truly happened.

Like this…

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And, OMG, this…

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I understand they are fleeting moments, gone even as I post this. But I believe in feeling gratitude for all the big and, usually, small delights that happen in a day—a dog wagging its tail, a stranger holding a door open, a neighbor slowing down to chat, a reader posting an enthusiastic review, a cool day after a heat wave.

It all matters.

Some thanks are in order… to The Writer magazine; 7:30 BookClub; My Life, My Books, My EscapeThe Coachella Review; Hers for the Reading; Book Beat; Syosset Library; A. F. Compson; Liz Morgan PR; Andie Behling; Alexa Melliot; Pookapyle; and Marilyn Cole.

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As always, I’ll end by sharing the books I’ve read since my last post… though most of my reading lately is research for Novel #3, and I don’t post my research:

Gabriel Tallent, My Absolute Darling
Tayari Jones, An American Marriage
Mary Morris, Gateway to the Moon 
Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere
Dorothy Bryant, Confessions of Madame Psyche
Ari Folman and David Polonsky, Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation
Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

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That’s it for now. Talk to me in the comments section about something that’s keeping you busy these days.

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Catching My Breath

by Susan Henderson on July 2, 2018

Sometimes life is crazy. Sometimes the whole world is crazy. How are you managing the stress? How are you staying active and engaged, but still caring for your mind and body? I don’t think I’m the only one here who’s struggling with this.

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I’m still doing a lot of events and traveling for THE FLICKER OF OLD DREAMS. Seems like a nutty time to rescue a dog, but… meet Douglas!

These last few weeks have included time with librarians, indie booksellers, fellow writers and readers: Ron Block hosted me at the Cuyahoga County Public Library and showed me all around Cleveland; Carol Ann Tack chatted with me on Merrick Library’s Top Shelf podcast; Joan Galante hosted me at Levittown Library‘s Adult Summer Reading Program (and my favorite bookseller, Carol Hoenig of Turn of the Corkscrew Books & Wine, sold my books there); I read at the KGB Bar with Caroline Leavitt, Jennifer Haupt, and Julie Maloney; the brilliant historical fiction writer, Connie Mayo, hosted a conversation between Amy Wallen, myself, and 40 amazing humans who met to discuss death and dying in Sharon, Massachusetts; Kym Havens, from An Unlikely Story, sold books for us there; I joined up with Books on the T to leave free copies of THE FLICKER OF OLD DREAMS at subway stops throughout Boston and Cambridge; author Karen Stefano curated a fascinating conversation with Amy and me on her Rarebirdlit podcast, where we talked about our death tour; and Jessica Keener moderated a conversation with Amy and me at Porter Square Books.

I’m grateful to every single person who set up and came out to these events!

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I have some fun events coming up at Delaware’s Hockessin Bookshelf, the Syosset Library, Helen Little’s Public Library podcast, and the Montana Book Festival. I’m also starting to find time again for the new book… I’m in research mode, soaking up stories, taking photos, and reading all I can about the setting where my new story will take place!

Oh, and the large print version of my book came out at the end of last month. Very different cover!

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Some thank you’s are in order. Thank you to everyone who snapped photos of my book at airports, including Hollywood Burbank, Pittsburgh International, JFK, and MacArthur.

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And thank you to Wonderlust travel magazine; Little Miss FuneralLydia Cornell; America Reads; The Nervous Breakdown; the brilliant and adorable Brad Listi and his Other People PodcastWriters ReadRanger ReviewBillie HintonBeyond the Book JacketThe Memphis FlyerNorth Central PA; Marjorie’s World of Books; 730 Book Club; Eudora Watson; My Book, The Movie; Lou Pendergrast; and everyone who posted kind reviews on Amazon. (Did you know you can purchase a book at an indie bookstore or borrow it from the library and then post on Amazon?)

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As always, I’ll end by sharing the books I’ve read since my last post:

Ayobami Adebayo, Stay with Me
J. Ryan Stradal, Kitchens of the Great Midwest
John Kessel, Pride and Prometheus
Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking
Sigrid Nunez, The Friend
Zora Neale Hurston, Barracoon
Alma Katsu, The Hunger
Eileen Myles, Afterglow
Sigrid Nunez, The Friend
Fredrik Backman, Beartown
Caitlin Doughty, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Taha Muhammad Ali (translated by Peter Cole), Nevermind
Jim Crace, Being Dead

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That’s it for now. Talk to me about what you’re doing to stay well, even when you’re super-busy, even when the world feels off its axis.

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