This month I am checking in with some very busy authors with books releasing this spring/summer to see how they are doing during this Covid-19 health crisis. Today the spotlight is on Susie Orman Schnall.
Susie Orman Schnall
Susie Orman Schnall is the author of four novels: Her thought-provoking debut, ON GRACE (2014, SparkPress), is about turning 40. THE BALANCE PROJECT (2015, SparkPress), is about work-life balance and was inspired by The Balance Project interview series she started in 2014. THE SUBWAY GIRLS (2018, St. Martin’s Press), is historical fiction about the fascinating Miss Subways advertising program. And WE CAME HERE TO SHINE is also historical fiction set at the 1939 NYC World’s Fair.
Susie’s writing has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, POPSUGAR, Writer’s Digest, and Glamour. She is also a frequent speaker at women’s groups, corporations, and book clubs about her novels and work-life balance.
Susie grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and now lives just outside of New York City with her husband and their three sons who play ball in the house.
Q & A with Susie Orman Schnall
Q: Who are you quarantined with and how is it going?
A: I am with my husband (who is working from home), and my three sons, ages 18, 17, 15. The oldest is home from his freshman year of college. I feel very lucky not to have little kids right now—my boys are self sufficient with school work, laundry, etc. I’m finding I’m enjoying cooking for everyone! Feeling very grateful for all we have during this time when so many are losing lives and livelihoods.
Q: Have you learned a new skill, accomplished something unexpected, tried a new recipe, cleaned your closets?
A: For the month of April, I participated in a running challenge called Calendar Club: you run the corresponding number of miles to the day of the month. So on April 1, you run 1 mile, on the 15th, 15 miles and so on. But… I’m used to running only 12 miles a month, not 465. The organizer, adventure athlete Colin O’Brady opened it up for people to be creative, so I ran it in km and split them with a teammate, my friend Lindsay who is a nurse in Wisconsin. So on April 15, instead of 15 miles, I ran 50% of 15km, which was 4.7 miles and so on until April 30 when I completed 9.4 miles for the day and 145 miles for the month. It was a tremendous challenge for me, but I showed up every day, and feel very proud for finishing it. I also made my first Dutch Baby, watched all of Ozark (and tons of other shows), and have been drinking more wine than I should admit.
Q: How has this social distancing impacted your world when it comes to book marketing, writing?
A: My fourth novel, We Came Here to Shine, is launching amidst all of this (June 16), so I’ve been working on pivoting my launch plans to focus on virtual efforts. The book world and my author friends have been unbelievably nimble and supportive. It is what it is at this point, and I look for the silver linings in all of it. Good news is that lots of people are reading books right now. As for writing, I am not a “write every day” author. I work in cycles, and right now it’s pre-launch and launch time. I’ll start writing again in the summer or fall.
Q: Do you think this odd time will show up in book settings moving forward?
A: Absolutely. Authors write to make sense of what they experience. It’s interesting when you think of all of the WWII historical novels out every year and how popular they are. I’m not sure what readers’ appetites will be for stories of the pandemic, but I can’t imagine people won’t write about it.
Q: What is the silver lining for all of us and specifically for authors when it comes to the Covid-19 shut down?
A: So many things. Slowing down. Family time. Appreciating what we have and what we take for granted. Exploring dormant interests. Time to read, watch TV, exercise. For authors, one silver lining is that people from all over the world can attend our book events!
A: We Came Here to Shine comes out on June 16. It’s historical fiction set at the 1939 NY World’s Fair and features two bold and ambitious young women pursuing their personal and professional dreams. It’s light and fun and takes the reader behind-the-scenes of the glamour and drama of the World’s Fair, which becomes a third character of the book. All info about the book and my virtual events is at susieschnall.com and readers can follow me on Instagram @susieormanschnall.