Rising Star Spotlight: Susan Jean Ricci

Susan Jean

Tell us a little about yourself!  Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?
I sure would like to claim I’m that big ticket Jersey girl, the world famous musician from Asbury Park rocks on about, but alas, I’m merely a New Jersey native who plans to stay here…I adore the shore.
Besides loving gymnastics and dance as a child, my summers were spent enjoying the boardwalk and swimming in the ocean at Point Pleasant Beach, a short bike ride from my home. My father single handedly built our home there, and from him I learned to conquer carpenter’s tools, which came in handy when I was single. From my mother, I was gifted the spirit of compassion and consideration for others while she raised my handicapped brother with no support groups or specialty physicians to guide her. Mom was my inspiration to do well as an adult, to be kind and supportive of others.
When did you first get the writing bug?
The summer after I turned ten years old, I read “Gone With the Wind” and knew I wanted to be a famous writer just like Margaret Mitchell. To this end, my grandmother gave me an old Underwood typewriter and I became a reporter, editor and the publisher of a neighborhood newspaper called The Hill Weekly. The news included local events from the POV of a child - the latest attractions at the boardwalk, women who’d recently had babies, and such. I also interviewed builders constructing new homes on the block, and recall each of my customers fondly for humoring a little girl.
A copy of The Hill Weekly eventually found its way to President John F. Kennedy, via my mom. President Kennedy’s secretary sent me autographed pictures of him and his family, along with a letter of praise, which I treasure to this day.
What prompted you to actually write your first novel?
After a failed marriage, I’d decided to explore internet dating. The weirdos and scammers I had the dubious honor of meeting while on the site nearly killed my dating aspects for good until my husband Joe contacted me and, within the confines of the site, sent me emails and videos proving he was who he claimed to be. While we were dating, I began a journal, vowing to somehow help other single women shake free of internet dating disasters. With Joe’s encouragement, I worked the diary until it became a fictionalized accounting of my former experiences - how love can concur all, even when one has a ‘memory cemetery’. I submitted the piece to the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference in June 2011 and won an award for a 2,500 word entry.
Researching the current publishing trends at that time, plus meeting and conversing with incredibly talented indie authors via Facebook groups, I decided to forgo the traditional arena and publish the story as an indie author. Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems was published in 2012 – ever since, my career as an author remains identical to a childhood’s dream come true.

Read the entire interview in the Dec/Jan 2018-19 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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