Susan, welcome! I can't believe you're here with us. You and your sister look so happy.

Sisters, the Short
and the Tall

When Mary asked me to do a blog, I was thrilled. When it turned out my blog day was going to be my little (and I do mean both younger and smaller) sister’s birthday, it was a bonus. You see, my sister is the person who opened the door to writing for me. And for that I am forever grateful.

My sister is five years younger than I, and I spent her first fourteen years waiting (fruitlessly, as it turned out) for her to get as tall as me so I could look her straight in the eye when I gritted my teeth, balled my fists and popped a blood vessel in pent up fury. Yep, my little sister knew how to punch my buttons.

Now, I realize that you might think my viewpoint skewed when I tell you I was the “good” child and she the “problem”, but it’s essentially true. I was a people pleaser, would (and still do) walk a mile to avoid a conflict. I eagerly anticipated getting a new baby brother or sister. And then when she, the only redhead in our family, was born, the motto “Never Surrender, Never Back Down” had to have been tattooed somewhere on her tiny body. I never saw it, but I’m sure it was there somewhere.

And after all of the aggravation, all of the needling, the spying on me, the in-your-face defiance when I was left in charge, we have somehow found a way to be very, very good friends in our adulthood. Not saying it’s always been smooth sailing, she still occasionally makes that blood vessel pulse. But I cannot imagine my life without her.

Several (bordering on many) years ago, when we were both at-home moms with young children, my sister, she of the flamboyant and never ending imagination and infinite impatience, admitted to me she’d been secretly working on a novel. It stunned me, she wasn’t a huge fiction reader, preferring non-fiction as a rule. I however was a slave to the story, novels, movies, songs; so she asked me to read it and give her an opinion. Well, I am the older sister, so of course I had one.

That opened the door to our writing five novels together. She was most interested in the creative aspect and not overly concerned in learning the craft of novel construction—which as it turns out is a much bigger task than either of us had imagined when we embarked upon this adventure. So we’d work on the story line and the roughing out of the scenes, and then I would go to work on hammering it into something that resembled a novel. It was great fun, getting together while our children were in pre-school and grade school and running through the possibilities of what road our story would follow. Little did we know that getting the book, or in our case books, completed was probably the easiest of the tasks when it comes to getting a book published and on the market.

But we kept at it. Learning more with each book we wrote. We always forged ahead with the next story while we tried to market the previous ones. Came close to selling to a publisher a couple of times, but in the end, none of those five novels have been published.

Then she moved away and began another career, leaving me alone in my creative venture. By this time, I was totally hooked and there was no way I was giving up. I loved everything about this process, the formulation of the ideas, creating the characters, and yes, even the challenge of getting the finished work in print. A year later my first solo novel, BACK ROADS, was completed and I had an agent actively marketing it. A few weeks later, I was offered my first publishing contract with Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing). I’ve since published nine novels with the same publisher, and the same editor.

So I guess my sister had more than made up for the time she rubbed my face in the snow, and maybe even for the time she told a boy I was trying to avoid that I had jumped into the back seat of the car I was washing in the driveway and was hiding on the floorboard.

Here’s to a fabulous birthday, Sis. I can’t wait to see what adventures you take me on in the future.

And for those of you reading this who have sisters, maybe you have some stories of your own to share???

I’ll be giving away a copy of my first (now out of print) novel BACK ROADS to two commenters. (I have it and it is WONDERFUL!)


  1. Mary Ricksen // December 6, 2010 at 1:22 PM  

    You made me remember my connection with all of my sisters.
    The one that is five years younger then me used to follow me wherever I went. I would find elaborate ways to sneak out, but there she'd be. She never told on me when I snuck cigarettes or did anything my father would have killed me over if he found out.
    Every Sunday my parents would send us to church. Me and my three sisters. One older who is bit retarded and the others younger. I decided that we should stop at the little bakery on the way and each buy a huge cookie. Then we would go swing at the park. The hardest part was trying to think of what we could say the gospel was about.
    They never asked. And when my sister told my 86 yr old mother recently, she called to yell at me!

  2. Mary Marvella // December 6, 2010 at 1:45 PM  

    Happy birthday to your sister!

  3. Mary Marvella // December 6, 2010 at 1:46 PM  

    Mary R, I love that story!

  4. Patrice // December 6, 2010 at 1:48 PM  

    Welcome Susan! Your story is such an interesting one. Isn't it wonderful that you never gave up, and now you have 10 books from Grand Central - how cool is that? Major congratulations. My sister and I were complete opposites, and she's two years older than me, but you know how it is sometimes? I was the lucky one in life, and my sister had an illness that affected her in her growing up years. She will be with me in Florida for Christmas.

  5. Joanne // December 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

    Welcome to the Pink Fuzzies and thanks to Mary for "inviting" you.

    My sister is 4 years younger than me, a fact she teasingly always reminds of now that we are both in our 50's.

  6. Autumn Jordon // December 6, 2010 at 1:50 PM  

    Welcome to the PFS. I love your story. You're lucky to have a sister that your close too. And kudos to you for continuing on with your dream.

    Could you tell us a little about your books?

    Happy Birthday to your sister.

  7. Nightingale // December 6, 2010 at 1:52 PM  

    I don't have any siblings so I missed all this fun. Glad your sister got you into writing!

    And happy birthday to your sister!

  8. Mary Marvella // December 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM  

    Afternoon, Susan!

    Patrice, my sister has health issues now and no one believes she's 3 years younger than I am. Of course we're in our 60's and on social security, but she's still my baby sister.

  9. Judy // December 6, 2010 at 2:49 PM  

    Susan, thanks for stopping by! Happy Birthday to your sister and good luck with your stories. Sisters are special no matter the age. For those of you who don't have siblingss, I'm sure you must have a sister of the heart!! Hope so.

  10. Susan Crandall // December 6, 2010 at 2:57 PM  

    Thanks for the warm welcome! And I'm glad to hear some of your sister stories. As you can probably tell by my books, family is very important to me and I've been exceptionally blessed in that regard.

    Unfortunately, my sister is sick with the flu (yes, a real bummer way to celebrate her birthday), so she probably won't be stopping by to say hello. Maybe tomorrow.

    You asked about my books. They're women's fiction with a hint of mystery or suspense, and I also have three that are billed as romantic suspense, yet they're truly a supsense / women's fiction hybrid. I love delving into the deep inner secrets of my characters, so even the romantic suspense are very character driven -- no serial killers for me. And of course, there is a love story with a happy ending!

  11. Beth Trissel // December 6, 2010 at 3:27 PM  

    What a wonderful story and tribute to your remarkable story. I also have a younger much loved sister who has always cheered me on in my writing.

  12. Barbara Monajem // December 6, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

    Happy Birthday, Susan's sister!

    I have sisters, sisters-in-law, and daughters and friends who are like sisters, and I'm so thankful for every one of them.

  13. Anonymous // December 6, 2010 at 4:30 PM  

    What a heart warming story of coming of age and growing together. I never had the pleasure of having a sister. Instead, I had two older brothers who tried repeatedly to kill me. I'm not kidding, they really did. From baseball bats, to crosscut saws, and fried acorn pies they were very resourceful in their attempts. To their chigrin, I survived! So, I wear my scars with pride. Little sister always got her revenge by telling momma on them. What can I say, they deserved it.

    Susan thanks for stopping by the Pink Fuzzies, your blog was inspiring.


  14. Mona Risk // December 6, 2010 at 5:40 PM  

    It was wondeful that you can write with your sister. My sister and I have such different personalities and taste, and don't read the same type of books. Happy B'Day little sister.

  15. Connie Gillam // December 6, 2010 at 8:59 PM  


    I've been a big fan of yours ever since I read Back Roads. (It's on my keeper shelf)

    I have a sister that drove me crazy as we grew up. She would wear my clothes, never wash them and stick them back in my drawer dirty and balled up.

    Now as adults, she is my champion. When I finaled in the Golden Heart a few years ago, she sent an email to all clients telling them of my accomplishment and directing them to my website. I guess that's made up for all those ruined clothes.

  16. Susan Crandall // December 6, 2010 at 10:17 PM  

    Connie, I'm so honored to have a book on your keeper shelf!

    Huge congratulations on your finaling in the Golden Heart, that is quite an accomplishment. Best of luck in finding a publishing home for your baby. It is great having a sister to cheer you on, isn't it?

  17. sally // December 7, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

    Sister - you just HAD to bring up those TWO small incidents of our childhood, didn't you! LOL

    Glad I'm in your good graces now, you might just put me in one of your next novels.... in a less than flattering way. hehehe

    Your little and MUCH YOUNGER sister, sal

  18. Mary Marvella // December 8, 2010 at 12:20 AM  

    Great job, Susan. I think my ladies like you.

    Welcome, Sally!

  19. Mary Marvella // December 11, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

    Mona and Judy will recieve the copies of Back Roads. Congrats!