Bennet, Susan Newton

Born in China to a military family I lived various places and attended many schools. My passion was history and I majored in English and history and received a MAT in teaching history. I met my husband in the Philippines and have a large family dispersed around the US.


Interview Susan Newton Bennet


Peter Cosentino

1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a retired school teacher. I was born in China. My father was a military officer and we moved around a lot. I was often the “new kid”. Books were dependable friends until I made human friends.

2. How did Golden Love come about?

My grandmother, Laura Walker Newton, came to Colorado with her family on an immigrant train in the post Civil war period. While working in a hotel in Telluride, Co, an old prospector approached Laura while she was chopping wood and told her that was no job for a woman. He gave her an ore bag of gold dust. With this largess she took advantage of an opportunity to work her way through Denver University to get a teaching degree.

3. Tell us about Laura, where did you find this character.

As explained above, Laura in Golden Love started out as my grandmother’s story but soon metamorphosed into a creature of my imagination.

4. What else have you written and do you have anything else that you are working on at this moment? If so, is it in the same genre as Golden Love, and any chance of a sneaky preview?

Many of my eighteen year old students were street smart but functionally illiterate. I wrote material for them. Scholastic Publication bought some of it. Wings recently sent me a contract for the next book, Doubt, in a three part family saga. I am now working on My Love Will Always Haunt You, the third book.

5. What have you enjoyed most and least in writing Golden Love?

The research I love. I have an MAT in American History. The Historical Society of Colorado has been very helpful. They sent me from their collection a picture of a check my grandfather wrote. What I hate is my numerous typos!

6. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing. Do any of these interests pop up in your writing?

 I’m a history buff so that pops up a lot. I enjoy reading, and also my family and friends.

7. Was Golden Love easy to write? Do you outline the plot before you start, or do you write instinctively and allow the characters and situations to develop as you go?

My grandmother’s memoir was a great motivator. I write a synopsis, then let my characters actions and words develop the plot.

8. Do you fit writing around a full time job? What time of day or night do you feel the most creative and are you able to make use of your creative times?

I have a tremendous advantage in that I am retired and can plan my days as I please. I marvel at those who hold down a job, have a family and find time to write. I love to swim and do much of my plot planning in the swimming pool. I can’t just sit down in front of the screen and write.

9. Whose work inspires you?

Poet Emily Dickinson. When I need inspiration I turn to her.

10. Do you have any advice for anyone about to embark on writing their first novel?

I think a beginner needs to do two things: take a course at a local junior college and join a writers’ organization. I joined MORWA. You have to have professionals critique your work. It’s a lot like those awful teacher-parent conferences where the teacher labors to tell you something nice about your obstreperous boys. (I have three). However, their criticisms and suggestions are necessary. That way you learn what is essential to get published.