Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their literary-named cat. She is very fond of chocolate and is always on the lookout for hints of magic in the real world. She is the author of The Secret Ingredient of Wishes (September 2016) and Dreaming in Chocolate (February 2018).
I’m not one of those authors who’s always known I wanted to write. When I finally stumbled my way into fiction in college, I couldn’t fathom ever writing something longer than a short story. My undergrad creative writing program was an incredible intro into the literary world. I learned craft rules and studied theme and symbolism. I even graduated with departmental honors in creative writing.
Then I stopped writing. For years. It’s not that I didn’t want to write anymore, but the kind of writing that was lauded in school—high-brow literary fiction—didn’t feel like me. The kinds of stories I wrote didn’t live up to that. Not by a long shot. And it left me feeling like I wasn’t good enough to keep at it.
But the stories wouldn’t leave me alone. And the voices in my head insisted I pay attention to them.
So, I decided to write a story for me. One that felt true to who I wanted to be as an author, not what I thought other people thought I should be. That changed everything. I started with a short story I’d used as part of my honors thesis and turned it into my first novel. It wasn’t some great work of literary genius, but then it wasn’t meant to be. It was a way to fall back in love with writing and to show myself that I could craft a story that spanned a few hundred pages instead of stopping after ten or fifteen.
I’ve written six novels since then, with a seventh more than half way completed. Through these stories and characters, I’ve refined my voice as an author into something that’s whimsical and commercial and a little quirky. And it’s about as far from what I was writing in college as I could get. But my books are one-hundred percent me. They’re the kinds of stories I like to read, all magical and sweet and hopeful. They’re full of family and fate and food. (So much food!)
When I first started writing these kind of stories, I wasn’t sure they would appeal to anyone. (I freely admit they’re a bit odd.) Then I read Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and realized there was indeed a market for my brand of magical southern fiction. Now that I have two books out in the world, I know I’ve found my heart as a writer. I’m still learning and growing with every new book I write. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dreaming in Chocolate
With an endless supply of magical gifts and recipes from the hot chocolate café Penelope Dalton runs alongside her mother, she is able to give her daughter almost everything she wants. The one sticking point is Ella’s latest request: get a dad. And not just any dad. Ella has her sights set on Noah Gregory, her biological father who’s back in town for a few months – and as charming as ever.
Noah broke Penelope’s heart years ago, but now part of her wonders if she made the right decision to keep the truth of their daughter from him. The other, more practical part, is determined to protect Ella from the same heartbreak. Now Penelope must give in to her fate or face a future of regrets.
Where to Buy Dreaming in Chocolate
I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.