People often ask me where I get the ideas for my books. And I wish I had a
response that involved dreams or visions or muses, but I don't. Because I write
contemporary commercial fiction, set in Small Town, America, ideas come at me
every day – and often in the most mundane ways. I read a newspaper article. I
have a conversation with a friend or a stranger. I hear a song on the car radio.
Once the seed is planted, my mind starts to sort through the myriad ways of
telling the story.
A quick tour of my previous books will help illustrate the process. My first
book, THE GOOD LIFE, is
a story about the definition of success, as seen through the eyes of a wealthy,
mid-western, CEO's wife. A
CHANGING MARRIAGE is a look at what can happen in a marriage after the
honeymoon is over and life's challenges test love's limits. The Summer Cottage
is a novel about competition, sibling rivalry, and the strength of the family
bond, set in a beach house on the Connecticut shoreline. And EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY
parses what mid-life crisis looks like for three, recent empty-nesters looking
for a new identity.
IT STARTED IN JUNE
follows this same pattern, with one significant difference. Protagonists Grace
Trumbull and Bradley Hanover have never been part of my life, outside of the
pages I wrote. All of my other protagonists have come more directly from
experience – from living in a corporate town in Michigan; from being married for
a few decades; from spending part of every summer at my mom's cottage; and from
feeling the indecision about the purpose of life when my boys left home. Grace
and Bradley? I had no idea who they were until I chose them to explore how two
people come together when they might be better off apart.
We all know these couples, the mismatched lovers who appear to have nothing in
common. And we wonder – at least I do – what is keeping them together. Grace is
forty-two, divorced, childfree by choice, and one of the most valued employees
at a media relations company. Bradley is thirty, romantically frustrated, born
into privilege, and just beginning to make his mark professionally. A work
assignment and an impulsive passionate evening fuse their disparate worlds. An
unexpected pregnancy prolongs what could easily have been a six-week affair.
So, why did I choose Grace and Bradley to tell this story rather than more
familiar characters? One/out of curiosity, I wanted to write about a
non-traditional relationship. And since women often date and marry older men,
and men often pair up with younger women, I decided the woman would be older
than the man by enough years to matter. Two, I wanted the male character to be
an emerging adult, rather than a fully-molded man, to give credence to his
flexibility and uncertainty. Three, I wanted to be inside the head of a woman
who has no interest in motherhood. And four – I wanted to dump my suppositions,
assumptions, prejudgments, and observations into a blender and push liquefy!
Telling a familiar story – the coupledom of dissimilar people – with unfamiliar
characters, allows the reader to examine this common phenomenon less
dismissively. With the exfoliation of Grace's and Bradley's age difference,
their drastically different childhoods, and their divergent personas, one is
able to determine if their core values are in sync and, futher, whether or not
it really matters. Powerful obstacles block the road to easy love for Grace and
Bradley. What they must determine is if hard love is worth the effort.
Susan Kietzman's engrossing and thought-provoking novel explores the
choices and revelations that come with life's most unexpected
Grace Trumbull's after work drink with Bradley Hanover, a
handsome younger colleague, on a warm summer night turns into an impulsive,
intimate encounter. After a few weeks of exhilarating secret dates,
Grace—forty-two and divorced—realizes she's pregnant.
For Grace, whose
estranged mother refers to her own teenage pregnancy as her biggest mistake, the
prospect of parenthood is daunting. She's just been made vice president of a
media relations company and is childfree by choice. Still, something deeper than
her fear makes her want to keep the baby. She knows she can be a better, more
capable parent than her mother was to her.
As months pass and seasons
change, Grace questions her decision to include Bradley in her plans. But they
continue to navigate their complicated relationship, each struggling with what
it means to make a commitment to someone. Most importantly, Grace begins
trusting her instincts—maternal and otherwise—finding courage that will guide
her through an uncertain future ripe with new possibilities…
| Women's Fiction
Contemporary [Kensington, On Sale: May 29,
2018, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9781496714220 / eISBN: 9781496714237]
Doing the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right
Susan Kietzman writes contemporary American fiction. Her protagonists face
every day challenges and issues, and make decisions that affect the direction
and quality of their lives. Before dedicating all her writing time to fiction,
she wrote in several other capacities – as newspaper reporter, corporate client
wordsmith, and museum fundraiser. She also taught English and public speaking at
two community colleges. IT STARTED IN JUNE is her fifth novel. Her previous
novels are EVERY OTHER WEDNESDAY, THE SUMMER COTTAGE, A CHANGING MARRIAGE, and
THE GOOD LIFE.
Win a copy of IT STARTED IN
JUNE plus a beach towel. It's a perfect summer read combination! Enter above or tell us below what you're favorite May-December relationship story is (fiction or not!)
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