At eight months old, after being born in Hollywood, Susan was brought to her mother’s burnt homestead cabin in Pipes Canyon. The family first lived under the stars and later in an Army tent.
Susan was raised in upper Pipes Canyon – in what is known today at the Wildlands Conservancy. She attended a one-room schoolhouse, collected bottles for coins from Hollywood cowboys in Pioneertown and set pins at the original bowling alley there.
Walking from school, Susan would walk through the movie sets of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, though the excitement was lost on her as she watched them doing the same thing over and over. Sometimes she’d ride her pony to and from school.
In this episode, Susan tells us about the community that at that time included the Golden Stallion Chinese restaurant (9:21), the Red Dog, the Hollywood influence and the rodeo grounds.
By the time she was 23, Susan had five kids and was still running around the desert barefoot, even on the campus of College of the Desert in Palm Desert and UC Riverside – it was the late 60’s and early 70’s. In those years she’d read Tolstoy, Freud and Dostoyevsky and though she felt a kindred spirit with these authors, because all of them were men, the thought of being a writer herself didn't come until later. Looking back, Susan believes writing was in her blood as her mother wrote a column for the Pioneertown paper and Susan’s sister has also written a book.
On her way to a mid-term just before graduation, Susan was in a car accident, which left her unconscious for 30 days . Her sister arranged with Susan’s professors to give her incompletes and she was able to graduate later, after writing one essay. In the midst of this, her husband left her.
These days, Prescott, Arizona is home for Susan where she founded and directed the Southwest Writers Series and the Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing at Yavapai College. Currently, Susan is Faculty Emerita at Yavapai College, teaches courses at Prescott College, and serves as Event Coordinator at the Peregrine Book Company in Prescott, Arizona.
Susan still has ties to the Pipes Canyon area, visiting her brother who still lives in Pioneertown.
This month (October 2019) Susan will be reading and selling her books at the following venues in the Morongo Basin:
October 4 at 7 p.m. at Black Rock Nature Center, Yucca Valley
October 5 at 4 p.m. at the Sun Alley Stage near Space Cowboy Books
Monday, October 7 at 7 p.m. at Kip's Desert Book Club at The Palms Wonder Valley
You can find Susan's books here.
Or, visit Susan's website here.