I just wanted to extend my appreciation and gratitude to you for writing Hugging the Rock, which is such a realistic and moving novel that has hooked so many reluctant or struggling readers over the past few years. Not once has a student returned the book without mentioning how much she has enjoyed reading it. I felt compelled to write you to thank you for helping me turn many girls into lifelong readers simply by handing them your book.
Hugging the Rock is my “go-to” novel for the girls who just can’t seem to find a book that speaks to them. Then I get to feel like a superhero when they return to the library ready and eager to read more books, and I know they have discovered the joy in reading and finishing a book.
—Debbie Felix, Librarian, Bedford Middle School
Do you know the song by Roberta Flack…Killing me Softly with His Song….well your information and feelings about hiding the truth for so long, the truth that you want to be a writer and breath writing…that without it you feel empty…that you long to write day in and day out….etc… You have described what only I have felt, hid, and truly know that’s what will ever make me happy – writing! Bravo, I thank you for saying it, since I have had it in my soul, hidden for so long!
When you talked about being afraid and feared rejection, you hit the nail on the head. I totally understood what you were talking about. I, too, am disorganized and have bits/scraps of paper everywhere. Your description of how you write is very similar to mine. I usually do almost all my writing in long hand. Now……, I am thinking if Susan Taylor Brown can do it so can I!
Thank you. I have led a sheltered life. I thought it was only myself who started out backwards before realizing I needed to “turn around.” I now have hope.
Susan, I just wanted to write and let you know how very much I enjoyed your talk at the conference. You are very inspiring and your story really helped me. I will forever hold you as the model for how to succeed in children’s writing and publishing.
I just wanted to thank you for your expertise. Our one-on-one exceeded my expectations. You not only offered constructive criticism (saving me months of work) you also gave me great inspiration. Thanks to your sharp insight, I have the confidence and the direction to revise my book. You’ve made a big difference.
Thank you so much for being an indispensable part of the Jack London Writer’s Conference again this year. Your insights into the world of writing for children always make this event a success.”
—Mariann M. Jackson, conference chairman
My students have had truly memorable experiences working with Susan. She has turned them on to the joy of writing and guided them into recognizing their own writer inside. She expresses thoughts to the kids in a supportive manner that makes them want to write. Overall, my students’ experiences working with Susan have greatly improved their skill as well as the way the view themselves as writers.
—Carla & Mike Hurchalla, Virtual Authors-in-Residence Program, Delmar, Maryland
Thank you for being my mentor through our book writing project. I had the idea but you helped me to make my draft the best that it could be. I enjoyed playing the What If? Game with my story. It sure helped me to use my imagination. I appreciated the time you took to read my rough drafts and to send me helpful suggestions. I am very proud of our story! I know that you are a wonderful writer already and it was great the way that you took your time to help me. I will always remember the help that you gave to me this summer during our Authors Mentoring Author’s class.
—Your writing pal, Heather
Susan, You are truly an inspiration! Thanks for reminding us all that once you’ve bottomed out, there’s nowhere to go but up!
— Ann D.
I was just going through my notes from Susan Taylor Brown’s workshops. I don’t usually go through past notes; I’m very glad to have these. Her comments are there to support me when I need them the most, especially when I am doubting myself or wishing that my story was less risky. Susan told us, many times, to take those risks and believe in stories that are hard and fearful to tell. My notes bring the energy of her workshop back to today, right now, where my writing needs it.
Susan Taylor Brown’s critique of the first ten pages of my novel really helped me see I wasn’t accomplishing what I wanted with the story. The exercises Susan had us doing combined with thoughts from the critique and I woke up the next morning excited about starting my novel over.
Susan Taylor Brown gave a very enlightening presentation to the students at our school. Her stories about how her childhood and personal experiences have influenced her writing were fascinating.
—Sue Barton, St. Joseph’s School
How can I possibly thank you sharing your joy and enthusiasm? What a blessing you are to the entire community but especially to me! Thank you for your kind words and gentle guidance. Your help will make not only my writing and story stronger—but me as well. I look forward to keeping in touch with you and continuing to exchange ideas.
—Stephanie Finke, Highlights Conference at Chautauqua 2003
Thank you so much for the wonderful presentation you gave my GATE students. You did an excellent job. We’ve discussed your ideas and feel really excited about our upcoming author’s faire.
—Lisa Torres, Discovery Bay, California
Thank you! for being a part of the Reading Rainbow ceremony. Your storytelling and words of inspiration were wonderful. I look forward to working with you again.
—Rolanda McCowan, Director of Educational Outreach, KTEH
From the San Jose Alternative School Writer-in-Residence Program
My initial contact with Susan was met with sincere, motivated interest and an immediate ability to define what she was offering and how she could assist my alternative education class of reluctant 7th, 8th, and 9th grade learners at San Jose Community School.
During our 2 year collaboration, Susan worked closely, and individually with all of my students, patiently working with them to improve their literacy, She used poetry, prose, autobiography and short story forms of the written word to provide self-confidence building experiences for the students. At the same time, these were opportunities for emotional healing of the students as well. Susan worked with my class during 2 1-hour sessions each week. In both years, Susan became part of the class and gained the respect, love and admiration of many of the students.
In both years Susan worked as a teaching consultant with our class, she spared no effort to make sure that the student’s works were the best quality possible. In fact, the De Saisset museum of art at Santa Clara University agreed to display their works during their spring exhibition.
Susan gave me encouragement and support in the area of language arts instruction, methods and resources that I needed. Her help was instrumental in improving the quality of language arts instruction in my classroom, and enabled me to blend it with the other academic subjects in class.
I have only the highest praise and deepest gratitude for her service to San Jose Community School and alternative education.
—Steve Trujilo, teacher, Santa Clara County Office of Education
From the Missouri SCBWI Retreat
Dynamic, inspiring, nurturing.
Susan Taylor Brown was outstanding! Her exercises opened up my mind to ways to transfer real-life emotions into my writing.
Very personable. I enjoyed hearing her. The time flew by. Information helpful. In fact, one of the exercises gave me the idea for a book. I’m excited!
Loved Susan. She has a lot of energy and enthusiasm and her comments were helpful.
Susan was magnificent. I really like hearing from someone who KNOWS the trials and tribulations of being a writer, someone who knows process and isn’t trying to convince me that my work will only sell if I do it this one way (their way). I especially benefited from her discussion of quiet–needs more emotion. Fantastic.
Sincere, caring, helpful. Pushes you (gently) to do what you need to do for yourself and your writing.
I thought Susan was wonderful. She was very giving and freely disclosed information about her own work as well as the art and business of writing. I am astounded how helpful my 15 minutes with her were. She is very astute and knowledgeable.
I’ve got some practical goals already set up for myself as a result, so I feel as if I tapped into a gold mine. Many, many thanks.
Susan made me feel comfortable as an unpublished author. She encouraged me and reassured me that although I felt less accomplished than the others here, it was ok because I’m in my own place.
Excellent editor; gentle but able to discern manuscript problems. Excellent insight and direction.
—various retreat attendees