Susan's first literary hero was a cowboy rescuing a stray calf. Horse books were great company during South Dakota blizzard.
Growing up, Susan lived in twelve houses and nine cities, and attended ten schools before college. Her first novel, Cheerleaders Can't Afford to be Nice, is about being the perpetual new kid. The real Susan adjusted to the transitions by picturing herself as a fictional character helped: pampered
Bobbsey twin, creative-genius Tom Sawyer, tamer of The Black Stallion Alec Ramsey, a snowbound Laura Ingalls in her house on the prairie, a sensible rat buddy of a joy-riding toad.
Alma, Michigan, was her first home. Great-grandma was the delivery room nurse. Ancestors had settled there in the 1800s, and the town remained home base for holidays. The sprawling family joked that what glued them together were the marshmallows on jello.
Westerns were big in South Dakota, where she went permanently horse-crazy. Twenty years later she would write about eastern cowboys who swing polo mallets instead of lariats.
The oil refinery was Alma's skyline.
When it was lit up at night, a little imagination transformed it into Manhattan's.
Susan repatriated as a Wolverine for the University of Michigan. European classics took her to 19th century France, so she majored in the language. Summer jobs were in fashion and cosmetics sales. In grad school, journalism lit the fire to tackle injustice, and Chicago and New York newspapers provided the opportunity.
In her fiction, she thrusts her characters into moral quandries. Like real people, they have selfish desires that clash with their ideals and obligations. Also, like real people, a great sense of humor and adventure.
At her first newspaper job, managing editor of the Evanston Review, she won awards for editorials and coverage of housing discrimination and nursing home abuse. At the Chicago Sun-Times, she ventured into dangerous housing projects and as a stringer for The New York Times, her articles included light features and reports from mafia trials. She continued to write for the Times from Long Island and New York, and taught college English and creative writing workshops. Home now is New York City and the Hamptons.
You Are Invitede
Your computer screen awaits
A writing space should be quiet...
In the right weather, nothing beats the great outdoors...
Depending on the day, sometimes loud traffic forces the creative mind to tune out the world and tune in the imaginary. If winter plops down into the outdoor writing chair, a window onto the snow clears the head, trees lift the thoughts.
Women's groups and social media sites are valuable forums for fighting ageism. Susan's volunteer work at St. James Episcopal Church has shown that homeless people are individuals, and that religious history is human history. Helping at shelters gave the chance to breathe life back into a doomed pooch.
There's still a bit of the former lipstick salesclerk there who offers makeover and exercise advice to enhance women's beauty as they step into the freedom of middle age and beyond.
First polo lesson at the Southampton Polo Club. Showing zero ability to play, she wrote about it instead.
Did you ever have a nail polish disaster?
Polo and romance meet in Susan's new novel set in the Hamptons. Her character, down-to-earth Laney, is making a comeback in journalism and nervously makes herself presentable for the big assignment from a luxury magazine. Last minute, she puts on nail polish, then hurries to Hermes for an interview.
Meet Sexy-Sixty Laney
Novels come from an experience, desire or fear that haunts, thrills or perplexes the author.
Writing is about discovering oneself.
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. When she was in high school, protagonist, Crosby, wanted to be a cheerleader, which meant not being nice to "uncool" people. Her brother is diagnosed as schizophrenic and haunts her into adulthood as she's about to enter law school.
How can two positives, super-smart and super-sexy, add up to one negative? In Moira's hometown you had to fit neatly into a category. The science geek finds an identity at Columbia University during the student protests when a charismatic leader seduces her physically and intellectually.
The Temptations sang, Poppa was a rolling stone...wherever he laid his hat was his home... Crosby hears that song and thinks it's about her father, who chased an elusive career, and in the process bumped the family from one town to the next. Being the perpetual new kid in town is a challenge.
Photo: Sonny Kleinfield
Pip goes to France to practice what he (and we handlers) learned in canine good citizen class in Southampton with his buddy, Bundles.
Photo: Alex Cretey Systermans
NEWS THEN AND NOW
ARTS AND LEISURE
Picture perfect days for watching horses. Above with Harley Langberg, right with Kevin Nicholas, below Samantha Kleinfield.
I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
For my first twelve years I was Susan
In high school: Sue (much cooler)
College: Susie (smart but not nerdy)
Grown-up: Sue (no reason I know of)
Reporter: Susan (more professional)
Now: Susie (friendlier)
My last name went through evolutions, too. I appreciate people asking why some of my articles and books are Sullivan Saiter and some Saiter Sullivan. I wouldn't bore anyone with the complicated explanation, but I guess it's a woman's prerogative, n'est-ce pas?
Photo: Alex Cretey Systermans
On the scene
Email me at: