As a student I studied photography, film, art history, and critical studies. After receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts (and a whole lot of student debt that I somehow managed to pay off), I completed doctoral coursework in an interdisciplinary program, Film, Literature, and Culture, at USC on a teaching stipend. And so I discovered that an academic career was not for me. (My education was all meandering around the subjects I loved most, just trial and error. I wandered, quite the loner, into academia trying to figure out how to support myself. I did not love pontificating, from the institutional pulpit, to students who were in the same position of figuring out how to find meaning and still support themselves. I prefer to hold forth less institutionally, more creatively, and far more humorously, in fiction.)

And so I eventually found other fixes for the voraciously growing writing habit after my departure from academia. As a story analyst, I evaluated written material for production companies (and also joined the Story Department of an agency, for a year). It was invaluable as daily practice in writing. I also wrote original screenplays, and adaptations for independent producers, exploring writing much more visually. Throughout, I learned to find workarounds, and ways to write about complex ideas—cultural and environmental issues, art and awareness, memory and reality—but present them in relatable ways and with more subtlety.

My first novel, The Music from the Lighthouse, was self-published. I recently finished my second novel, Infinitely Swift.

Cooking and baking have been life-long pursuits. I frequently make my own pastas and bread, and create recipes with organic, sustainable, and many home-grown ingredients. Living in wine country, I continue to learn about wine making, varietals, and regions.

I live with my husband Len, a film editor who works in documentary, and our two border collies on a nine acre property with a vegetable and bee-friendly garden where we have over 100 fruit trees—persimmon, plum, fig, pear and mostly apple trees. It’s a bit of work, and balances quite nicely with writing. A local winemaker is once again at work on hard cider from our apples. One of our border collies, Jane, will be sixteen years old soon. Zoe, now six years old, has made it her job to keep the wild turkeys, our most frequent visitors, in line.

Susan Robinson

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