Ego aside, I had always known I was creative. My parents were responsible, I’m sure. They maintained a home in which books lined the walls wherever a painting wasn’t hung. Opera, classical and jazz filled the air, interrupted by rock in the 1960s. We ate at delis and Chinese smorgys, devoured Fosters Freezes and vichyssoise. When I was young, my parents took all of us to Europe for a nine-week-long orgy of family and culture that I remember to this day, over fifty years later.
But finding the correct venue for my creative impulse was one of the hardest tasks I’ve ever tackled, and a failure to succeed led me down paths pocked by pitfalls and wrong turns throughout my life.
I had a great voice but was painfully shy, so my throat tended to close up when asked to perform solo. So music was out.
I love art, but can’t draw. Nevertheless, I majored in art at college and produced conceptual pieces that (1) no one in his/her right mind would hang on a wall, or (2) had no corporeal existence. Try selling that.
Creative as hell, but impossible to monetize.
I was in drama classes and did well, but my ugly duckling phase has lasted most of my life.
I’ve refinished furniture and danced badly. I’m a good cook.
At age nine or so, I took it into my head to create Christmas tree ornaments using Styrofoam balls, sequins and ribbon, then went around my neighborhood and sold them (Thank you, Mrs. Elliott! She paid me a whole 35 cents, which I thought was magnificent. That was when 35 cents went a long way. Remember penny candy?)
The tiniest precursor of my future was had in high school where I edited and published in Chatsworth’s literary magazine, Interlude.
I was always a voracious reader and you’d think that someone would have said, “Hey, Sue, what about taking your love of books and turning that into a living?”
Without knowing where I wanted to go in life or what I wanted to do, I made a terrible mistake—I let others make the decision for me. My parents had always wanted me to become an attorney, so I did.
I barely crawled out of law school at Hastings. I actually got a D on my first midterm in Civil Procedure, which should have been a message. Oddly, I won a writing contest that led me to membership on one of Hastings’ four law reviews, where later I again edited and published.
What ensued after law school graduation was a twenty-year-long deflection away from who I was into a tortured and unhappy soul. Needless to say, the job of trial attorney isn’t really compatible with artistic creativity. It’s just the opposite.
“What happened then?” you ask.
I’ll tell you…tomorrow.
Best-selling, award-winning author Sue Swift, a.k.a Suz deMello, has written over fifteen novels, plus several short stories and non-fiction articles. She writes in numerous genres including romance, mystery, paranormal, historical, contemporary comedy and erotica. She’s a freelance editor who’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Ai Press, Liquid Silver Books and Etopia Press. She also takes on private clients.
Her books have been favorably reviewed in PW, Kirkus and Booklist, attained the finals of the RITA and reached the top ten on a bestseller list.
A former trial attorney, she resides in northern California. Her passion is world travel, and she’s left the US over a dozen times, including stints working overseas for many months.
Right now, she's working on her next manuscript and planning her next trip.
Her blog is at http://www.fearlessfastpacedfiction.com. Find her reading picks @ReadThis4fun on Twitter, and befriend her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/SueSwift).