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mail@authorsguildoftn.org    +1.865.254-3054 and 865.657-9560.

Susan Dorsey is the author of A Civil Death, A Discriminating Death, and A Haunted Death. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and two children. She is currently hard at work on her fourth novel. Learn more at susandorseybooks.com.

Books by Susan Dorsey

Interview with Author

How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was just a kid. I have a one page story, The Chartreuse Piglet, about a poor pig that was born green (and evil, of course) that I wrote when I was seven. I wrote all through elementary school and middle school. High school hit, and then college, and I just stopped, too busy with the rest of the world to focus on myself. My sisters and I collaborated on a book about fifteen years ago. It didn’t go anywhere, but it did get me interested in writing again.

Where do you get your story ideas?

I got the idea for my first novel, A Civil Death, while pushing my kids in bucket swings in the backyard. I was being quiet so they would both fall asleep and I found myself thinking about the road behind my house. Confederate General James Longstreet marched his troops up that road back in November 1863. That thought led to another and another.

My second novel, A Discriminating Death, had been brewing around in my head for several years before I finally wrote it down. The book my sisters and I experimented with dealt with the Melungeon heritage in East Tennessee. The Melungeons are mysterious group of dark skinned people that were living here well before the English settled in our area. My sisters and I had done some family research and discovered that we had a couple of Melungeon surnames in our background. The topic fascinated me and I just couldn’t let it go.

My third novel, A Haunted Death, deals with local ghost stories. I’ve always been interested in the stories people tell, especially after they deny they’ve ever seen a ghost at all!

I am currently working on my fourth novel. It explores the history of Appalachian Granny Magic in our area. It has been fun to explore the origin of some of the “old wives tales” that we’ve heard all our lives. There is a mix of superstition and real pragmatism in some of the advice that has been passed on through the years.

Does writing intrude on other aspects of your life?

Yes. The truth is that we each have 24 hours in the day. When you have children or when you go to work for a living, you don’t get to keep all those hours to yourself. I really try to minimize the chunks of writing time that is taken from family time or household responsibilities, but it isn’t always possible. Sometimes you need to write a chapter and just eat sandwiches for dinner at night. Sometimes you choose to turn the television off and finish an edit.

Is publishing a necessary outlet for the writer’s craft?

I think writing is usually a form of communication between people. When I write a story, it is because I think I have something to tell you, some truth that will be the same between us. I do not think that authors must be traditionally published to be taken seriously any more. The small press and the self published world has broken wide open. It is easier than ever to tell your story.


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