THE JOY OF THE READER-WRITER RELATIONSHIP
Please welcome Susan Baggot and her view on the
Writing is a conversation between writer and reader as they journey together through life and imagination, producing something tangible that can tie together generations and expand the world of the readers.
Susan Sams Baggott, like most writers, was a reader first. The few books in her childhood home were dogeared with numerous readings. Imaginative worlds came early to her and she wrote her first book at the age of 4, complete with drawings of a horse, dog, and little girl. Although she still draws about as well as that first book which her mother preserved, she has continued to grow in the wonder of living in her imagination and writing.
Growing up in a small western Michigan town, the joy of her life was Saturday when chores were done, and the bookmobile arrived at the nearby park. Knowing her love for books about horses and mysteries, the bookmobile lady set aside Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Misty of Chincoteague, Black Beauty… every Saturday brought a new gift. After devouring her allotted reading for the week, she wrote stories by hand, often based on her rich imaginary life indulged while tramping across fields or watching clouds with her ever-present dog at her side.
Books expand our universe of possibilities. As a pre-teen, she discovered C.S. Lewis and JRR Tolkien and her world expansion became limitless. National Geographic Magazine merged with fairy tales and mythic epics, Greek and Roman mythology, and the events in the Old Testament. Her stories, now typed on a manual Remington typewriter, for her consumption and pleasure only, were filled with imagery and action, exploration of faraway places and experiences beyond her small world. She began looking beyond the horizon, dreaming of travel and delving into other cultures.
In college, bound by a love of science and the duty to fulfill her parents’ desire for an education that produced a practical career, Susan studied biology for two years. Then, no longer able to deny her desire to write, yet fearing a degree in English literature would not satisfy her parents, she switched to journalism, typing articles on a Brother word processor.
Adult practicality led to writing and public speaking for medical public relations.
Then, marriage to a military officer pulled her from a regular career and into the world of travel of which she’d only dreamed as a child. Over the years of moving and traveling throughout all of the contiguous states and over twenty countries, Susan’s world expanded in reality as well as imagination. But still, she remained “practical”. She wrote Sunday features for local newspapers; freelance articles on family and gardening; policy and procedures for historical restoration groups and military spouse groups; instruction and real-life accounts of fitness and orthotic rehabilitation.
When living in England, she completed a Master’s Degree in Spirituality, at that time a new field of study. Learning about the commonalities of various spiritual beliefs and practices expanded her spiritual and cultural world even further. Her articles, written on an eMachine, multiplied.
Through numerous moves and four children, she wrote travelogues to entertain and stay connected with family and friends. Birthdays, congratulations, and encouragement on overcoming obstacles and difficulties were occasions of personalized, short fantasy-based stories for her children, nieces, and nephews.
She wrote about a princess with flaming red hair like the glory of sunrise who overcomes the taunts of the peasants and saves her world from danger. She wrote about angels in the forms of various animals, mythical and real, leading a family of children, moved by their parents to a strange and mysterious land, on an adventure where each discovers their strengths and heroism. Those stories revealed the interconnection between author and reader, building a relationship of understanding and love.
After years of working and public speaking during her career as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a personal tragedy caused Susan to begin anew with a different career. She opened a travel agency and reveled in writing once more about travel and faraway places. Then the pandemic shut down her agency.
With the blessing of her husband and the necessity of quarantine, she began once more to fulfill her dream of writing fiction. The challenge which could have been seen as tragic became a joy. Electronic conferences and training classes helped her transition journalism into fiction.
Writing on a modern laptop, she completed her first full-length murder-mystery manuscript which is planned as the first of a series of three with spin-offs on other characters. She progressively hones her new career.
Writing begins with reading. The dogeared books of Susan’s childhood are now the books she reads to her grandchildren, uniting her love of imagination with theirs. Writing expands with experience of life and flowers out of transition. Susan finds writing fiction that empowers readers to overcome trials with courage and forgiveness, that transforms their challenging situations into hope, is a blessing and a joy.
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