By Leigh Verburg, Branch Librarian, Comstock Park Branch
Susie Finkbeiner is a local author of historical and general fiction, as well as a wife and mother. Many of her books can be found in KDL's inspirational and local sections. She is also included in the 2021 Write Michigan Anthology. Susie’s latest book, The Nature of Small Birds, is about a family who adopted a little girl from Vietnam at the end of United States involvement in that country.
"In order to represent the lifelong effects of adoption on a family, I chose to write this novel in three different settings -- 1975, 1988, and 2013,” Susie said. “When I was a little girl I heard many stories from my dad about his time serving in Vietnam during the war and grew up with a great curiosity about that era in history. When I wrote my novel All Manner of Things, I did extensive research into the war and stumbled upon a story about Operation Babylift -- the United States run program to airlift Vietnamese children to the U.S., Australia, and Canada to be adopted. It intrigued me. I knew there was a novel in that lesser known nugget of history.”
Currently, Susie is working on a new book set in 1952. The protagonist, Bertha Harding, plays ball for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Susie’s advice for writers is this, “First, read. Read everything. This is how we best learn how to write and develop our literary taste. I'm a voracious and adventurous reader. The result is that I have a very long list of authors who have inspired me. Steinbeck was, possibly, the first. Along the way I've been influenced by greats such as Vonnegut, David James Duncan, Harper Lee and the like. Most recently I've been inspired by Gary Schmidt, Maggie O'Farrell and Nikki Grimes. I am fortunate to live in a world with such a wealth of beautiful writing. I'm thankful. Second, write. Try different forms and genres and allow yourself to have fun in the process before you even think about publishing. Enjoy the zero pressure of the pre-publication days as much as you can. Third, share. It takes great courage, but find a group of people who love you enough to be kind and honest about what you've written. It's scary, but it is how we grow.”
Susie is a big library fan.
“I'd love to take a minute to declare my undying love for the Kent District Library! My family has benefited from the amazing selection of resources, the fun events and the incredible staff who are quick to help and offer a smile. I'd love to give a quick shout out to my branch -- Hi, Gaines Township! The library is the heartbeat of a community and I feel so privileged to live close enough to visit often."