About Susan D. Matley
When did the desire to write begin? Probably when I was very young. Did a fairytale read out loud by a babysitting grandparent spark the idea to write one of my own? Or maybe it happened when my big sister came home from kindergarten and improved on what Mom had taught me about the alphabet by showing me how to spell “cat” and “dog.” Useful words, these, as a change of the first letter makes all kinds of new words, words that rhyme.
Whatever the origin, a writer is what I’ve become- -after first being an actress, an accountant, a musician. Earlier still I worked retail and suffered a short stint as my dad’s legal secretary. Throughout, I’ve been an avid reader and there’s always been at least a journal-in-progress in my life, my sloppy cursive recording things real and imagined.
Evidence of a writer’s life is scattered around the house- -a copy of the 1968 Port Townsend Police Digest with my article about elementary school fire drills; a file cabinet stuffed with manuscripts; a desk stacked with drafts-in-progress and research books. I have a thick file folder of rejections (you haven’t “arrived” as a writer if you don’t have enough of these to wallpaper an average-sized bathroom). There’s also a thinner file of acceptances, including the contract for my new fantasy novel Big-G City (WolfSinger Publications, released August 2016)
I write fiction, mostly, with dalliances into poetry, plays and songs. My fiction follows one of two tracks- -sci-fi/fantasy or western historical. The former comes from whatever it is that makes me love both the Chronicles of Narnia and the original episodes of The Twilight Zone. It’s exciting to map out a world almost like our own but for one little (or sometimes, big) twist that punts it into the supernatural.
Western historical has family roots. A great-great grandmother crossed the Oregon Trail in 1851 and the man who became her husband arrived the following year. When I visited their graves, there was no date of birth on great-great grandmother’s headstone; her age was given as “about 40.” Maybe her birth had been recorded in a long-lost family Bible, but those who mourned her didn’t seem to know when, exactly. It clicked in my brain that the stories of most pioneer women had died, betwixt the brutally hard day-to-day work of establishing their new homes and the lack of energy or ability to record the important events of their lives. These women, real and imagined, are the core of my western historical stories.
That’s who I am as a writer. Otherwise, I’m:
- A late-model Baby Boomer
- Married to Bruce Matley (together, we are a.k.a. the music duo Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue)
- Mother to lots of four-legged kids
- Presently living near Walla Walla, Washington, amidst thousands of acres of wheat