March is Women’s History Month. Over the years, I have often seen references to women’s history as “herstory,” and I like the sound of this term. One way to celebrate Women’s History Month is to celebrate authors who write “herstories.” One such author is Susan Amond Todd, a Charlotte writer whose third novel, Life’s Fortune, came out about a month ago. In this novel, Susan tells the story of a woman whose struggle to establish an independent identity causes her to confront long buried family secrets. As she delves into her family history, she gradually learns more about her own place in her family’s history, and this knowledge helps her chart a new path for her future. For more information about Life’s Fortune and Susan’s other books, please click on the following link: https://susanamondtodd.com/
I recently contacted Susan and asked her about how she came to write novels about women’s lives. In her response, she comments on her own family history. Here is what she sent to me:
When I was about ten, I overheard my parents talking about how my grandmother had written a book. I thought at that moment, I wanted to write a book one day, too. I never told anyone and kept it to myself because I was afraid someone would tell me it was a crazy idea.
I was a daydreamer and storyteller as a kid which got me in trouble many times but has come in very handy when I write. One time at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told my mom I had too vivid an imagination. My mom came home and told me the teacher said I needed to stop it. I didn’t stop but was just more careful from then on.
I had thought about starting to write a book many times over the years but life always seemed to get in the way and I didn’t really know where to begin. I had a degree in Marketing and have worked in banking my whole career. Then in my mid-50s I lost 80 pounds and knew if I could do that, I could write a book. I had an idea and joined a little local writing group I found online. It was just what I needed to get me going. Before I knew it, I was writing my first book White Lake and after that, the sequel to it Return Home. My third book, Life’s Fortune, was released on January 11th of this year. It’s the first in a four-book series. I have many other ideas for books in my head that should last my lifetime.
Being an avid reader, I have been inspired by authors who wrote about the trials and tribulations of life. That’s what I wanted to write about. My commitment is to write for women in a way that they see how the ordinary woman is amazing in what she considers to be her ordinary and sometimes boring world. These women always rise to the occasion and through the struggle and contrast in their lives come out better in the end. Through my job I have had the privilege to meet and work with many women from all over the world and have concluded we all want the same thing. To love and be loved. In my books, I focus on family, friendship, perseverance, love, and surviving. Basically, I write about what I like to read.
When I have the chance to interact with women after they’ve read my books, they tell me how relatable they are to their life. That is the highest compliment I can receive.
When I sign books I always write “Follow your dream” before I sign my name because that’s what I did and what I want the person receiving the book to do.
I also have in my possession Down in the Hollow the original manual typed manuscript of the grandmother who inspired me. My plan is one day to edit and add a modern twist to it before publishing the book as coauthors with her. She was born in 1898.
As Susan’s novels demonstrate, women’s history is not limited to the remote past. In telling stories about women’s lives, Susan shows how family history and childhood experiences influence the decisions that women make in their adult lives. In her writing, Susan draws on her own family history, and Storied Charlotte is richer because of it.