70 and New Beginnings

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Susan B. James entertaining us with her amazing life journey and introducing her novel, Time and Forever.

Here’s Susan!

Thank you, Joanne, for this opportunity to guest on Second Acts. Writing is my second act. Specifically Romance writing.

I grew up all over the world. My Mother was a serial monogamist.

Mom at 46 in Hawaii 1967 With my brother Mike

Mom at 46 in Hawaii 1967 With my brother Mike

A gorgeous woman who looked like Katherine Hepburn, she went through lots of men and four husbands in search of perfect happiness. I guess you could say my life with mom was like a soap opera with a laugh track.

Mom_Paris_Rome0001 (2)During the course of the adventure I started school in Paris, (mom had divorced my father and decided to go to Cordon Bleu in Paris to learn how to cook. There she dated Art Buchwald, the later famous columnist, and a college professor.) finished elementary school in Cape Town (Husband #2 was a newspaper report, turned PR man and was transferred to South Africa to head up PR for Mobil Gas). Graduated high school in Rome, (Mom was recovering from her most perfect love – Husband #3 -One of Madison Avenue’s Mad Men – and she decided child support and alimony would go further in Italy. Mom got a job from an old boyfriend selling airplanes, so she could legitimately leave the country with my younger sibs, Kelly and Mike.)

Why am I not writing this story you ask? Auntie Mame has been written and there’s way too much soap opera in Mom’s story. I prefer funny.

Sue_1965_the_Knack (2)By the time I was twelve, I knew I wanted to be an actor. In 1966 after finishing graduate school in Hawaii, I went to England hoping to be hired at a theatre there. Why had I never heard of Work Laws? I did get a job, but I could only get a work permit if no one else in the British Commonwealth could do the job. So after a wonderful three months and an under the table job as a maid in a YWCA, I flew back to the US to take a job at Front Street Theatre in Memphis. When I wrote Time and Forever, my London background came in very handy.

My marriage of twenty two years ended just before my 50th birthday. I think we were a small blurb in People Magazine during the divorce. Barry was at that time one of the stars of Northern Exposure. He played Maurice Minnifield, the astronaut. We had a rough few years, but I am happy to report we are now good friends and get together whenever he is in town. Right now he is on the series, Anger Management, so we meet to play trivia once a week.

While trying to revive my acting career (no-one cared what I had done ten years ago. It wasn’t so much a revival as a start-over.) I decided I needed a new interest and began to write children’s books.

It never occurred to be to write an adult book. I was a romance junkie from the day I read my first Harlequin Novel while we were summering in Port Colburne, Canada. No Roses in June by Essie Summers. I still have it. I progressed from Essie Summers to Emilie Loring and Georgette Heyer and so on and so on . . . I am a Susan Elizabeth Phillips addict.

In October, 2009 I wrote a post for my Children’s Lit blog, Pen and Ink, about the joys of NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. I had to sign up to do NaNo to write the post, and in November, my guilt genes kicked in and I started writing.

With not an idea in my head, what appeared on my computer screen was an adult novel called Second Chances. I was thrilled when I finished and couldn’t wait to share it with someone. I had a new dream: Romance novelist.

Four years and MANY submissions and rewrites later, Cheryl Yeko offered me a contract with Soul Mate Publishing. That was five months before my 70th birthday.

I decided to write as Susan B. James so that my sons didn’t have to disown me when they found out I wrote sex scenes. No child wants to acknowledge their parent could possibly know about sex. I’m pretty sure neither of my sons nor their wives read the book.

susandoublepixI used a double author photo: Me now and me in 1969. I did it because I believe we only age on the outside. Our inner person stays the same.

Advice on starting over? Don’t EVER accept the label OLD. It’s demeaning. Think of yourself as chronologically gifted. You have lots more to give.

Time and Forever was published in January, 2014 and won an honorable mention in the 2014 Great Northwest Book Festival.

Time_and_Forever2__fiona_web_large (2)


Sherry wants a second chance at love. Lorena doesn’t believe that’s possible. But when a glitch in a virtual reality adventure sends them back to the real 1969, anything can happen.

Longer Blurb

What would you give up for a chance at true love?

When Sherry’s best friend Lorena promises her a virtual reality adventure for her sixty-third birthday, neither of them expect a trip back in time.

But when the handsome stranger she’d kissed on a London train in the summer of ’69 bumps into her in the “VR” adventure, she knows it couldn’t be anything else. And this time she doesn’t want to run.

Lorena’s heart’s still linked to her husband who died four years ago. She returns to the present to find a letter from David urging her to travel to a past she doesn’t remember.

Meeting Dave in 1969 Los Angeles is everything she never imagined. But how can she stay when the price might be the life of her daughter?

Time and Forever, the audio book should be available by mid August. One of the thrills of my life was listening with friends who hadn’t read the book to the first take of the audio book and hearing them laugh in the places I meant laughs.

I’ve started a blog with five tabs (aren’t I ambitious?) Which has more about me, some Paleo recipes and a sneak peek at my next adult book, Kate’s Hero. Someday I will find time to fill the children’s book tab. I know it.

I am also on Twitter and I have a Facebook author page for Romance. I also have them for my Earthquake Book and we have one for Pen and Ink. Leading a triple online life as an actor, children’s author and romance writer is proving a huge challenge. But what would life be without some obstacles?

Thanks for reading.

Joanne here!

What an extraordinary journey! If you ever run out of creative ideas (I know, highly unlikely), consider writing your memoirs. I loved reading Time and Forever and highly recommend it to everyone.


21 responses to “70 and New Beginnings

  1. Pingback: Grateful for Second Act Wisdom |

  2. Pingback: Tell Again Tuesday 70 and New Beginnings | C.D. Hersh

  3. Susan You are an inspiration and what a life story so far. I love your attitude to age too and know that you have many more exciting projects in store. Good luck with the next session of creativity. Thank you for sharing your amazing world with us.

  4. Joann & Susan – we love this series and this post. In fact it will appear on our blog series “Tell Again Tuesday” (TAT) where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed. Yes we picked the title for the acronym as well since we TATel about what others have done. 🙂

  5. Love this so much! Both you and Betty (love the photo!) and Kelly are an inspiration to me – and I certainly never tire of hearing the family stories. Quite the colorful clan. 🙂 I’m so proud of you and your writing!

  6. Susan, thank you for sharing your interesting story. I loved hearing about you and your Mom. I wish you great success with Time and Forever. I too have just finished a book in a pen name. I also started writing in my late fifties. Life has many season.

  7. Loved this blog. I agree about that a memoir is in order, and, wow, your mother had great legs at 46. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed your book – Time and Forever. When is the next one due out???

  8. I highly approve of second acts. And I adore chronologically gifted. Time and Forever was an interesting concept, and a really good read. Wishing you huge success in all that you do.

  9. I loved this book and the idea behind it. Getting to know you a bit from your background, it seems we both had soap-opera upbringings. Some of it is bound to spill over into our writing.

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