“I knew, even then, that I was a writer.”

 

Susanna Lancaster

As a little girl, I didn’t go through phases where I wanted to be a ballerina, or a veterinarian, or a firefighter. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered “A writer.” I remember an adult asking if I was going to be a writer someday when I was only about seven years old. Something inside me clicked. I knew, even then, that I was a writer. Why would I want to be something that I already was? I didn’t have to wait until I grew up to do what I loved most.

Now, many years later—despite having some publications under my belt—it’s sometimes hard to have the confidence I had as a child, but it’s important to know that regardless of how many publications you’ve had or how many times you’ve gotten to speak somewhere, you are a writer as long as you’re writing. We can all strive, of course, to be better writers, but we should never label ourselves otherwise or view ourselves as something less just because we aren’t where we want to be quite yet. My journey as an author has required a lot of perseverance, plenty of patience, and many, many drafts.

I graduated in 2011 from The University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing. Despite finishing college early and Summa Cum Laude, I didn’t get accepted to graduate school until the following year, when I chose to attend Lesley University’s low residency Creative Writing program. My concentration was Writing for Young People, and it was there that I began writing my first book, The Growing Rock. I naively thought that when I graduated, I would publish books and that would be that. If only!

It took several years of writing, revising, and sending out my manuscript before I finally received the “yes” I had been hoping for. In all, The Growing Rock was declined forty times before it was accepted in 2016 by Harvard Square Editions. It debuted in 2017. In addition to writing, I’m an English professor at Southwest Tennessee Community College, where I have the pleasure of teaching Creative Writing.

When not writing or daydreaming about more books becoming realities (or movies—doesn’t hurt to dream big!), I can be found with a book in my hands. I’m always reading something, even if I only squeeze in a chapter here or there. My idea of a perfect date night involves visiting a bookstore—or two.

I’m extremely grateful for the support I’ve had from my husband Kyle, Boston (my writing buddy who is a Yorkie), friends, and readers like yourself. Writing isn’t always an easy process, but it’s a very rewarding one, and, for the process itself—the opportunity to discover and experience other lives—I am so grateful.

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