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becke_davis
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Please Welcome SUSAN WITTIG ALBERT!

This week's featured author is the fabulous SUSAN WITTIG ALBERT!

 

Her website is here: http://www.susanalbert.com/

 

Susan has been unable to sign in - if the problems continue, I will post her emailed responses here on her behalf. I'm in Portland, Oregon for my son's wedding, but I'll check in as often as I can.

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becke_davis
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From's Susan's website:

 

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan AlbertSusan Wittig Albert is the author of the upcoming novel, A Wilder Rose: Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Their Little Houses, the true, untold story of the writing of theLittle House books.

Her award-winning fiction, which has appeared on theNew York Times bestseller list, includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

She has written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press.

Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); With Courage and Common SenseWriting from Life: Telling the Soul's Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman's Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and past president of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

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About Susan Albert

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan has been a fulltime novelist since she left her career as a university English professor and administrator in 1985. Her books include the forthcomingA Wilder Rose: Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Their Little Houses and her best-selling series: China Bayles mysteriesThe Darling Dahlias; the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter; and the Robin Paige Victorian/Edwardian mysteries written with her husband, Bill Albert. Working together, the Alberts have also written over 60 young adult novels.

Susan's earlier nonfiction work includes Work of Her Own, a study of women who left their careers, andWriting From Life: Telling Your Soul's Story, a guidebook for women memoirists. That book led to the founding of the Story Circle Network in 1997. She has edited two anthologies for the Story Circle Network: With Courage and Common Sense (2004) and What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest (2007).

Susan's most recent nonfiction work includes two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days andTogether, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place. She serves as a co-editor of StoryCircleBookReviews.

Susan says that she "grew up rural" and is proud to claim farming in her family heritage. She continues to live the rural life with Bill in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes, gardens, and raises a varying assortment of barnyard creatures. She has three children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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Susan Albert's Blog

   Susan currently blogs atLifescapes.

You can read her older blog (2003-2005) here.

She also blogs atHerStories and microblogs at Twitter. You can also find her onFacebook & Pinterest.

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The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose  

Widow's Tears  

Cat's Claw  

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star  

The Tale of Castle Cottage (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #8)  

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Darling Dahlias Series #2)  

The Tale of Oat Cake Crag (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #7)  

Mourning Gloria (China Bayles Series #19)  

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias Series #1)  

Wormwood (China Bayles Series #17)  

The Tale of Castle Cottage (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #8)  

The Tale of Applebeck Orchard (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #6)  

The Tale of Briar Bank (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #5)  

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Darling Dahlias Series #2)  

Dead Man's Bones (China Bayles Series #13)  

The Tale of Hawthorn House (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #4)  

Bleeding Hearts (China Bayles Series #14)  

Holly Blues (China Bayles Series #18)  

The Tale of Hill Top Farm (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #1)  

Thyme of Death (China Bayles Series #1)  

Witches' Bane (China Bayles Series #2)  

Bloodroot (China Bayles Series #10)  

A Dilly of a Death (China Bayles Series #12)  

Mistletoe Man (China Bayles Series #9)  

The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #3)  

China Bayles' Book of Days  

The Tale of Holly How (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #2)  

Indigo Dying (China Bayles Series #11)  

Nightshade (China Bayles Series #16)  

Chile Death (China Bayles Series #7)  

Love Lies Bleeding (China Bayles Series #6)  

Rosemary Remembered (China Bayles Series #4)  

An Unthymely Death and Other Gardening Mysteries  

Spanish Dagger (China Bayles Series #15)  

Lavender Lies (China Bayles Series #8)  

Hangman's Root (China Bayles Series #3)  

Rueful Death (China Bayles Series #5)  

An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days  

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Widow's Tears (China Bayles Series #21)  

Cat's Claw (China Bayles Series #20)  

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star  

The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose (Darling Dahlias Series #3)  

Mourning Gloria (China Bayles Series #19)  

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Darling Dahlias Series #2)  

Holly Blues (China Bayles Series #18)  

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias Series #1)  

The Tale of Oat Cake Crag (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #7)  

The Tale of Castle Cottage (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #8)  

Wormwood (China Bayles Series #17)  

Bleeding Hearts (China Bayles Series #14)  

Rosemary Remembered (China Bayles Series #4)  

A Dilly of a Death (China Bayles Series #12)  

Indigo Dying (China Bayles Series #11)  

The Tale of Briar Bank (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #5)  

Lavender Lies (China Bayles Series #8)  

Bloodroot (China Bayles Series #10)  

Chile Death (China Bayles Series #7)  

The Tale of Applebeck Orchard (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #6)  

The Tale of Holly How (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #2)  

Nightshade (China Bayles Series #16)  

Rueful Death (China Bayles Series #5)  

Mistletoe Man (China Bayles Series #9)  

Spanish Dagger (China Bayles Series #15)  

The Tale of Hawthorn House (Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Series #4)  

An Unthymely Death and Other Gardening Mysteries  

China Bayles' Book of Days  

Starting Points  

An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days  

Together, Alone  

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The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star  

 

Overview

 

National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to the small town of Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—where the Darling Dahlias, the colorful ladies of a garden club, are anything but shrinking violets when it comes to rooting out criminals…

The Texas Star herself—Miss Lily Dare, the “fastest woman in the world”—is bringing her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling. Unfortunately, she’s also bringing a whole lot of trouble. As the Dahlias prepare for the annual Watermelon Festival—where they will present the famous female aviatrix with her own Texas Star hibiscus—rumors are flying.

Dahlias president Liz Lacy learns from newspaperman Charlie Dickens that Miss Dare has been threatened and her plane sabotaged. Apparently the bold and beautiful barnstormer has made plenty of enemies. And is it possible she may even be involved with the husband of one of Darling’s local ladies?

And speaking of wings, the new cook at Myra May’s Darling Diner can fry a chicken and whip up a sweet potato meringue pie like nobody’s business. But why is she keeping her past such a mystery?

As the Texas Star barnstorms into town, Liz and Verna Tidwell offer to help bring down a saboteur who may be propelled by revenge. Before it’s all over, there will be plenty of black eyes and dark secrets revealed…

Includes Southern-Style Depression-Era Recipes!

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The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose  

 

Overview

 

National bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to small-town Darling, Alabama, in the 1930s—and the Darling Dahlias, the ladies of a garden club who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty solving mysteries…
 
Just in time for the Confederate Day celebration, the Darling Dahlias are ready to plant Confederate roses along the town cemetery. Of course the plant is in fact a hibiscus.
 
The Confederate rose is not the only thing that is not what it first appears to be. Earle Scroggins, the county treasurer, has got the sheriff thinking that Verna Tidwell is behind a missing $15,000. But Darling Dahlias president Liz Lacy is determined to prove Verna is not a thief.
 
And club member Miss Rogers has discovered a secret code embroidered under the cover of a pillow that belonged to her grandmother. With missing money, mysterious messages, and the strange behavior of one resident, Darling, Alabama, on the eve of Confederate Day, is anything but a sleepy little town...

 
Includes Southern-Style Depression-Era Recipes!

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[ Edited ]

Please welcome SUSAN WITTIG ALBERT!

 

 

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dulcinea3
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I'll be back tomorrow (today?), as I'm off to bed, but just wanted to say, WELCOME, Susan!!!

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Fricka
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A warm welcome, Susan. What a great way to start off a week!

I've enjoyed reading many of your books; some of them are still on my TBR list which keeps growing like Topsy!

Not sure which series is my favorite, as they are all excellent. Have to say I was heartbroken to find that you and your husband had discontinued the Robin Paige series set in Victorian/Edwardian England. I just loved the strength of the Kate character, and how she was usually just a step ahead of Charles!

Also loved the Beatrix Potter series. I've not been able to keep up with all of the China Bayles or the new Darling series to date, but the ones I have read have all been excellent. I am very much looking forward to the Wilder Rose book to come out!

Here's a question for you, Susan:

Is there one particular book or series that you found more enjoyable to research and/or write? If so, which one(s)?

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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dulcinea3 wrote:

I'll be back tomorrow (today?), as I'm off to bed, but just wanted to say, WELCOME, Susan!!!


Susan is with us but she's caught in the sign in loop - THAT GLITCH DRIVES ME NUTS! Anyway,this is going to be trickier than usual because a) I'm in Portland on vacation (here for my son;s wedding next Sunday, but there are lots of wedding-related events throughout the week) and b) there's a big time difference compared to many of you. I'll post Susan's responses as often as I can - thanks for bearing with me.

 

 

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Fricka wrote:

A warm welcome, Susan. What a great way to start off a week!

I've enjoyed reading many of your books; some of them are still on my TBR list which keeps growing like Topsy!

Not sure which series is my favorite, as they are all excellent. Have to say I was heartbroken to find that you and your husband had discontinued the Robin Paige series set in Victorian/Edwardian England. I just loved the strength of the Kate character, and how she was usually just a step ahead of Charles!

Also loved the Beatrix Potter series. I've not been able to keep up with all of the China Bayles or the new Darling series to date, but the ones I have read have all been excellent. I am very much looking forward to the Wilder Rose book to come out!

Here's a question for you, Susan:

Is there one particular book or series that you found more enjoyable to research and/or write? If so, which one(s)?


I'm with you, Fricka - I'm always sad when favorite authors end a series. The characters are practically family!

 

I wanted to post a link to the Wilder Rose book but B&N doesn't have the link up yet. The release date is September 1, so I'll add the link then. (Not on Sunday - I'll be offline all day - but soon afterwards!)

 

Susan sent a link to an excerpt of THE DARLING DAHLIAS  AND THE TEXAS STAR:

 

http://www.darlingdahlias.com/books/CH1TexasStar.pdf

 

She also has exciting news about the Wilder Rose book:

 

"ROSE is in the Nook First program, so it will be featured when it does show up. AND it has received both Kirkus and PW starred reviews (so thrilled about that!)."

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I know many (possibly all?) of you have experienced the sign in glitch that keeps looping you in to a sign in request. I've given Susan tips that sometimes fix the problem, but they haven''t helped. If any of you have discovered ways to get oast the endless loop, please post them here. Susan has been trying to get in for WEEKS and I'm tearing my hair out over this continuing problem.

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maxcat
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Hi, Susan, I have read many of your books including the Cottage Tales. My daughter let me borrow the first book and I've read every one since. It's a shame that you ended that series. It seems that it could go on for awhile. Thanks for being here this week and I hope you enjoy it!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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dulcinea3
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Hello again, Susan!  I hope you can manage to sign in; it must be frustrating. I have no tips, as I have not had that problem.

 

I wanted to say that I really loved The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter!  Potter was a favorite childhood author of mine; I had several of her 'little books', and now I have them all collected in one volume.  I have to say that you had me running to pull it out many times, when you would indicate that we could see something you were describing in one of the illustrations!  The stories were fun, and I especially loved the animal characters.  One of my favorite things would be when they were trying to communicate with humans, and would be told to stop barking or meowing!  Beatrix usually seemed to understand them, though!  And of course, the Brockery was always fun to hear about!  I also enjoyed the biographical notes at the end of each book - by the time I finished the series, I also felt like I had read a complete biography of Beatrix Potter, which was very interesting.

 

I have a question for you - why did you decide to introduce a dragon as a character?  I don't remember Beatrix ever writing about a dragon, and it was the only imaginary animal you used.  Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed him, but wondered why.

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I asked Susan what she's working on now. Here's her response:

 

I’m currently finishing (this week, I hope) the fifth book in the Darling Dahlias series, called The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush. The manuscript (really, the computer file!) is due on 9/3; the book will be out a year later, in September 2014. Early next year (January-March) I’ll work on the 2015 China Bayles mystery.

 

I’ve already started the research for another standalone. I don’t want to talk about it yet—I’m superstitious about that. I’ll just say that it’s a World War 2 romance—based on real people and real events—that spans three continents. I can’t wait to get started on the actual writing!

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I asked Susan: Do you have a favorite among your books/series? Were any of them particularly difficult to write? What are you working on now?

 

She replied:

 

A WILDER ROSE was by far the hardest book to write. For one thing, it was a standalone, so there were no previous books to “lean” on (always a big advantage in a series).

 

For another, I was very conscious that this is an “anti-myth” book: that is, the story I had to tell (the real, true story) is notthe story that’s been handed down by teachers, librarians, and docents at those multiple Wilder museums. I was aware, writing the book, that there would likely be howls from deep-dyed Laura fans.

 

And, of course, the third thing that has made this difficult was my decision to self-publish the book. I decided to do this after several interested editors gave me “suggestions” for changing the story to make both Rose and Laura more “attractive.” But the book is biographical fiction, and I felt there ha\d already been enough fictionalizing of the Wilder story! My primary reason for going indie with the book was to maintain creative control. Believe me, it’s not a job for the faint-hearted. But I’m glad I did it. Lots of lessons learned along the way!

 

 

 

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Fricka - Here's Susan's answer to your question(s):

 

Fricka, that’s such a good question. I dearly love doing research, so the book I’m closest to is always my favorite. In this case, it’s A WILDER ROSE. For that book, I transcribed all 83,000 words of Rose Wilder Lane’s diaries, from the photocopies I made at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library (where Rose’s papers are held) into my laptop. The job took a month of summer evenings, but it was worth every minute. Working so closely with the diaries gave me a full glimpse of the life that Rose and Laura lived while they were working together on the first three Little House books.

 

My second favorite is the Robin Paige mysteries, which I worked on with Bill. We loved digging into the late Victorian/early Edwardian era. But almost half of the books were written before we had Internet access, so we made 100s of library trips to get the information we needed. That series, too, required us to travel in England. We made four trips while we were working on those books. Doesn’t that sound like hard work?? J

 

Susan