The Over 50 Writer

DEFINING “A WRITER” by Suzanne J. Bratcher
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 by Patti Shene

FEATURED BOOK:  The Silver Lode

AUTHOR:  Suzanne J Bratcher

PUBLISHER:  Mantle Rock Publishing

GENRE:  Mystery/suspense

SERIES OR STAND ALONE:  Book 2 in The Jerome Mysteries  

(Can be read as a stand alone)

TARGET AGE:  teen-adult

 

 

 

IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME AUTHOR SUZANNE J. BRATCHER TO THE OVER 50 WRITER. IT TOOK HER SIXTY YEARS TO REACH HER GOAL. LOOKING BACK, SHE REALIZES SHE WAS THERE YEARS AGO.

 

 

 

SUZANNE IS OFFERING A GIVEAWAY! SIMPLY LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR WINNER’S CHOICE OF A PRINT OR EBOOK COPY OF THE SILVER LODE.

 

 

DEFINING “A WRITER”

 

 

 

by

 

 

 

Suzanne Bratcher

 

 

 

It started in the bookmobile on McCullough Drive in Austin, Texas in 1957. I was eight, and I was waiting for Brighty of the Grand Canyon, a book that had come all the way from the downtown library just for me. As I stood in the narrow aisle, I reached out my arms and ran my fingers along the books—tall, short, fat, skinny—and inhaled the scent of dusty paper, old ink, and petrified glue. When I was six, I wanted to be a bookmobile driver when I grew up, but that summer day I knew I really wanted to be to a writer. I wanted to write stories to show readers new places, introduce them to new people, and take them on adventures. But I was sixty-eight when I opened a box and pulled out the first copy of my first published mystery. I was finally the writer my eight-year-old self envisioned. So. what did I do during those sixty years?

 

 

 

The first ten I spent in public school writing reports for my teachers and writing poems and short stories for my mother. Next, I went to college, where I studied English and American literature and wrote papers for my professors. Determined to become a writer when I graduated, I wrote poems and short stories and began submitting them for publication. Most came back with a mimeographed rejection slip, but once in a while I sold something. Then the summer between my sophomore and junior years, my father sat me down and showed me the math. I couldn’t pay rent, much less buy food, on the ten cents a word I was making on the few pieces I sold. He suggested I become a teacher and spend my summers writing. At year twelve I faced reality: I needed to be an English teacher. I could still become a writer. It would just take me a little longer than I’d planned.

 

 

 

If you’re a teacher or married to one, you know what happened. In the next thirty-four years, I had one summer free. The other summers I alternated between taking courses to earn a needed certificate or the next degree and teaching summer school to pay for my ongoing education. Still, I hung on to my dream of becoming a writer. Around year seventeen I took a correspondence course in writing children’s fiction. I wrote a handful of stories and had a few published, but I learned publishers didn’t pay any more for children’s fiction than they did for my occasional short stories and poems.

 

 

 

At year twenty-three, I wrote a book-length dissertation for a Ph.D. to secure tenure and keep my job teaching college English. The next year I wrote my husband’s dissertation. By year thirty, the demands of teaching almost silenced my determination to become a writer. One summer I attended a four-day mystery-writers’ conference and another a romance-writers’ conference. But my writing focused on teaching. I wrote syllabi and handouts. I wrote my own assignments to show students how to write rather than telling them. At year thirty, to get a promotion, I wrote a textbook.

 

 

 

I could go. I could tell you what happened between year thirty and year sixty, but life—a child, two divorces, more intense teaching demands, a second textbook, and Multiple Sclerosis—kept getting in the way of my dream. I had to wait until I retired to really start writing, but at sixty-eight I held The Copper Box in my hands and at seventy The Silver Lode. That eight-year-old girl had finally become a writer!

 

 

 

Then a few months ago when I was outlining a presentation about The Silver Lode for my local library, I suddenly saw my struggle to become a writer from a totally different perspective. (Maybe you’ve already spotted it.) A writer is someone who writes. A published writer is someone who shares her writing with other people. At eight I didn’t need to decide to become a writer. I was already a writer, a published writer because my second-grade teacher stapled my story on the bulletin board for Back-to-School night.

 

 

 

So, what does the story of my writing life mean for you if you’re a young writer—or an older writer who hasn’t reached his goal? Just this. Stop a minute and look at what you’ve been doing your whole life. Chances are, you’ve been writing. If you’ve wanted to be a published writer, chances are you’re that too. If not, you have writing opportunities, even publishing opportunities, all around you. What are you waiting for? Not a narrow definition, I hope.

 

 

 

Blurb for The Silver Lode:

 

JEROME, ARIZONA:

billion-dollar copper camp alive with rags-to-riches tales

Beneath the ghost town that clings to the side of Cleopatra Hill, a labyrinth of abandoned mine tunnels hides a vein of silver ore mixed with pure gold. The discovery of that silver lode caused a murder decades ago. More are coming.

Historian Paul Russell is about to lose his job and the woman he loves. He doesn’t have time to search for the legendary silver lode. But when a student drops a seventy-year-old unsolved murder on his desk, a murder connected to the silver lode, the mystery offers Paul the perfect opportunity to work with Marty and win her back.

Antiques expert Marty Greenlaw is in love with Paul, but marrying him isn’t an option, at least not a good one. She’s trying to push him away, but when he tells her finding the silver lode will save a dying child, she wants to help. Years ago, Marty lost a little sister, and she’ll do everything she can to save Aurora, even work shoulder-to-shoulder with Paul.

As Paul and Marty search for the silver lode, suspicious deaths begin to happen. When Paul’s son disappears, the stakes become personal.

 

 

DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE PLACED IN THE DRAWING TO WIN CHOICE OF A PRINT OR EBOOK COPY OF THE SILVER LODE BETWEEN NOW AND SATURDAY), MAY 9TH AT MIDNIGHT MDT. (U.S. resident only eligible for print copy).

BY LEAVING A COMMENT, YOU GRANT PERMISSION FOR YOUR EMAIL TO BE REVEALED TO THE AUTHOR IF YOU ARE THE WINNER TO FACILITATE RECEIPT OF YOUR BOOK.

 

 

 

A mystery fan since her first encounter with Nancy Drew, Suzanne J. Bratcher, PhD, lives in central Arkansas in a village with more trees than houses. A retired English professor from Northern Arizona University, she writes mysteries and romantic suspense set in the Southwest.  The Copper Box and The Silver Lode are the first two mysteries in her Jerome, Arizona, trilogy. Listen to her free audiobook Kokopelli’s Song on her blog.

Connect with Suzanne:

Website: https://suzannebratcher.com

Blog: https://suzannebratcher.com/blog/

Facebook: authorsuzannebratcher

 

 

SUBSCRIBE TO PATTI’S BLOGS HERE

 


Comments

Becky M Van Vleet From Colorado At 5/14/2020 5:39:23 PM

Hi Suzanne! Your writing story is amazing. And similar to you, I did not hold my own published book until I was 66. But what a good feeling it was. But it honestly was my first serious writing endeavor. I tell others, it's never too late to start! Best wishes for you.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Becky. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment for Suzanne. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Paula Shreckhise From Missouri At 5/9/2020 10:42:58 PM

I used to write a one page monthly ad for the Walgreens I worked at. The apartment complex that I lived in let me put it in the monthly newsletter to over 800 tenants. Now, I review Christian fiction. Still it takes a bit to vary those reviews. I’ve read 69 books so far this year.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Paula! Wow, you are quite a reader! I understand what you mean about varying the reviews. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. Stay safe! Stay heakthy!

Jenny Carlisle From Benton, Arkansas At 5/8/2020 9:28:18 AM

Our stories are very similar. Yes, I have been a writer since those first mystery stories and poems in elementary school. I became the poet laureate of my office, and then a monthly columnist! The published fiction author title may be added soon! Looking forward to The Silver Lode!

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Jenny! Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. It it always fun to learn how others got their start in writing and how God was preparing them for the future. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Cyn Taylor From TN At 5/7/2020 11:13:46 AM

Can't wait to read The Silver Lode! Haven't taken the time to make the purchase yet. Please enter me in the contest.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Cyn. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. You are in the drawing. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Diana Hardt From San Diego, CA At 5/6/2020 7:39:32 AM

Thank you for sharing the post about Suzanne. It was very interesting. It sounds like a really interesting book.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Diana. Thank you for stopping by and letting us know you were here. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Roxanne C From NH At 5/5/2020 10:52:06 PM

As a teen, my need to write was as strong as the need to breathe. Today I might find time to write a personal verse or two for a handmade card. Caring for a family member leaves little time for much creative writing. Sometimes it feels like I lost my soul. Reading others' words fills the void.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Roxanne. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. Perhaps God is using the experiences you are having now to enrich your writing endeavors later. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Janet Estridge From FL At 5/5/2020 6:43:27 PM

We have a small but growing selection of Young Adult books, both fiction and non-fiction in our Church Library. This book would be a wonderful addition to our collection. I volunteer in the library and have for 41 years. Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Janet. Thank you so much for stopping by ad sharing with us. Church libraries can be a wonderful resource for young people. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Kathy McKinsey From Lakewood Ohio, At 5/5/2020 7:47:27 AM

Thank you, Suzanne. Excellent encouragement!:)

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Kathy, Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment for Suzanne. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Andrea From Staten Island, NY At 5/4/2020 11:51:06 PM

I would love a Chance to win a printed copy of your new book.... the Silver Lobe. Thank you so much

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Andrea. Thank you for stopping and leaving a comment for Suzanne. You are in the drawing. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Charlene Eshleman From Virginia At 5/4/2020 10:01:01 PM

I loved reading your story! I even got my undergraduate in journalism thinking that I too would be a published writer. My writing consisted of training manuals and proposals. My husband always praised whatever writing I did as he was an English teacher. I think there is a book in me yet!

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Charlene. Don't give up on bringing that book out into the world! Thank you for sharing. Stay healthy! Stay safe!

Martha Rogers From TX At 5/4/2020 6:22:51 PM

It took me a little longer than it did you. Although I'd been writing since grade school, I didn't get my first novel contract until my 73rd birthday. I'm 84 now with over 55 books published. It may have taken us longer, but we didn't give up. Hope to see many more books from you.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Martha! Wow, there is still hope for me. Thank you for stopping by and joining in the discussion. Stay healthy! Stay safe!

Linda Palmer From Kansas At 5/4/2020 5:40:03 PM

I admire you Suzanne. I love to read, and remember bringing so many books home from the library that I had to use a shopping cart. I guess I’m a published writer because one of my poems was in my hometown paper back in the ‘70’s. Your book sounds like something I’d love to read.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Linda. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Martha Lawson From MS At 5/4/2020 5:22:12 PM

I admire any one who can put words on a page! Congratulations on your success, The book sounds really good and I can't wait to read it.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Martha. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment for Suzanne. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Connie Porter Saunde From KY At 5/4/2020 5:21:21 PM

I so admire all of you writers who persevere and give us so much pleasure. I'm not a writer of books but you're right... I am a writer of sorts. I used to do some PR for our library and now I write reviews for my blog. Thanks for your giveaway and congratulations.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Connie. Thank you for visiting and letting us know you were here. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Shari From Ky At 5/4/2020 5:15:34 PM

I've always dreamt of writing and have also been encouraged to do so on several occasions. I am pretty good at telling a story but feel I'd overthink it if I tried to put those stories on paper. My reason for retiring from a university position was MS. Talk about a small world!

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Shari. Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. I encourage you to put those stories to paper. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Viktoria Sacker From Glenpool, Oklahoma At 5/4/2020 4:38:43 PM

I'm not a writer, but I am an avid reader; have been since I was a little girl. Having lived in Arizona (10 yrs at the Grand Canyon!), I love Jerome. So "artsy" and love the mines and trails in the area. Loved reading about your path to becoming an author!

Reply by: Patti Shene

HI Viktoria. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment for Suzanne. I have always enjoyed reading novels that take place in areas with which I am familiar. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Betty Freano From New Mexico At 5/4/2020 4:34:38 PM

It’s never too late. I always admired anyone who could but to paper their stories. The subject of your books is fascinating. Look forward to reading them.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Betty. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment for Suzanne. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Kathryn jackson From Hot Springs Village, At 5/4/2020 4:29:31 PM

Interesting story,an uphill battle in many ways. I have written family stories,publish a family calendar each year for 20 years, wrote for local newspaper, quarterly historical magazine and personal history. I am inspired to do more.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Kathryn. So glad you stopped by to share with us. It sounds like you have been involved in many fun and creative writing projects. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Glenda Dykstra From IA At 5/4/2020 4:18:09 PM

I dunno. I good writer takes time to mature. A mediocre writer (Me) just throws it out there (62 here). And yes, I do edit and rewrite because my characters demand it. I admire your tenacity and your ability! Happy days are ahead. :)

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Glenda. Thank you so much for visiting and adding your thoughts to the discussion. A good writer needs to hone his or her craft with practice and patience. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Linda Sammaritan From Indiana At 5/2/2020 3:11:28 PM

What an inspiration! And what a great reminder! We have been writers for decades, even if we weren't officially "published" until we experienced senior moments!

Reply by: Patti Shene

HI Linda. Thank you so much for stopping by and joining in the discussion. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Vivian Furbay From Colorado Springs, CO At 5/1/2020 7:25:38 AM

Enjoyed hearing about you becoming a writer. i love to read good clean books and non-fiction historical books but I am definitely not a writer. Would like to read this mystery! I've enjoyed this column for several years. Best wishes Patti!

Reply by: Patti Shene

Thank you, Vivian! It's always a pleasure to have you stop by. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Cleo Lampos From Illinois At 5/1/2020 12:18:15 AM

Your life story is the most interesting article that I have read for weeks. Thank you for such an inspiring life!!!! Several of us wanted to be bookmobile librarians- and a few actually got to do it. Congrats on the book. You are a wonderful writer.

Reply by: Patti Shene

Hi Cleo. Thank you for stopping by and contributing to this discussion. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

Dave From Alabama At 4/30/2020 10:35:49 AM

Love it. I used to think Thomas Mann summed it up well with “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” But this young lady says it better.

Reply by: Patti Shene

I agree, Dave. If we are supposed to be writers, why is it so hard??? LOL! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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