Allison's Book Bag

Interview with S.A. Mahan

Posted on: August 25, 2015

I never thought I was any good. I just kept writing though.”

–S.A. Mahan, The Flume

SusanMahanAlthough S.A. Mahan only started writing for publication about five years ago, she cannot remember a time when she wasn’t making up stories and wanting to write. She waited though until her children were grown up and moved out on their own.

Living in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, Mahan conceives her stories while hiking the Rocky Mountain trails and then returns to her mountain home to write them. She raises alpacas, enjoys the fiber arts, and is an avid outdoorswoman. Real life events and situations continue to inspire her.

Now, Mahan has two books nominated for awards. “Chrissie’s Run,” written under the author’s pen name, S.A. Mahan, was a finalist in the 2014 Dante Rossetti Awards Young Adult Novel Competition. In addition, her children’s book, “The Baby Sea Turtle,” was one of three finalists for the 2015 Colorado Book Awards for Children’s Literature. I’ll review the latter title tomorrow. Save the date: August 25!

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

ALLISON: If one animal were to describe you as a child, which would it be? Why?

SUSAN: I was a little shy as a child, but inquisitive, so, actually the turtle would best describe me as a child.

ALLISON: How about as a teen? Why?

SUSAN: I hate to say it, but as a teen I was more like a monkey!! A little silly, full of energy, playful–but also somewhat reflective.

ALLISON: Who mentored you growing up? How?

SUSAN: My Mom, a wonderful Mom, and a great science teacher. She taught me to question everything, and to love animals.

ALLISON: You raise alpacas. What does a day look like for this task?

SUSAN: Well, no matter the weather, you must go outside early and feed and water the herd! You also learn to be observant, and enjoy their different personalities.

ALLISON: What do you most like about Colorado?

SUSAN: Hiking! At all times of the year! I never get tired of the majestic beauty of the mountains.

BOOK BACKGROUND

ALLISON: You have always enjoyed making up stories. Why did you wait to write until five years ago?

SUSAN: My husband traveled for a living, and I was busy raising three incredible children.

ALLISON: Why a story about a baby turtle?

SUSAN: 20 years ago, our family went to the Gulf of Mexico for a family reunion. While there, we visited with cousin Deborah,an accomplished artist, and thought it would be fun to collaborate on a book. We thought of writing about sea turtles, since we were at the beach. I wrote the story, divided it up by page, and sent it to Deborah, who came up with incredible chalk drawings. After sending it out to publishers, and getting rejected, it sat on a shelf for 20 years until Tate published my first novel, CHRISSIE’S RUN. Then I realized it was time to bring out THE BABY SEA TURTLE.

ALLISON: What was your favorite part about writing The Baby Sea Turtle?

SUSAN: Seeing the beautiful illustrations that Deborah drew.

ALLISON: The worst?

SUSAN: Being rejected several times by publishers years ago.

ALLISON: What’s next?

SUSAN: BABCOCK, THE BARNYARD SHERIFF, a story about a special rooster that broke up fights between our alpacas.

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