Susan Crandall’s award-winning fiction blends family drama, social issues, and the themes of loss, betrayal, and redemption, making them popular with book clubs nationwide.
She’s the author of twelve novels including the popular Whistling Past the Graveyard, a coming-of-age journey set in the Civil Rights era South and narrated by Starla Claudelle, an unforgettable nine-year-old. The Flying Circus, set in the roaring twenties, is the story of three people—and one incorrigible yet loveable terrier—who crisscross the country in a dangerous barnstorming act, while the pasts they’ve each left behind hold the biggest threats of all. In The Myth of Perpetual Summer a young girl in the sixties struggles to hold her dysfunctional, old-guard Southern family together in a town set on tearing them down, a heartbreaking tale of family secrets and the damage that echoes through generations.
Alas, it’s true, writing is not Susan’s original career. First, she was a dental hygienist. Not a very logical transition, but she’s one of those people whose left and right brain constantly vie for supremacy. When her younger sister admitted she’d been secretly writing a novel and asked Susan for help (as an older sister, she was, of course, full of “helpful” suggestions) Susan entered the addictive world of storytelling. She and her sister co-authored four novels before Susan wrote her first solo novel (Back Roads, 2003) which was her first published work. It was awarded a RITA © for Best First Book and two National Reader’s Choice Awards.
Whistling Past the Graveyard was a Target Book Club and Indie Next Pick, as well as winning the SIBA 2014 Award for Fiction. It is currently optioned for film. The Flying Circus was a SIBA Okra Pick.
Dedicated to the idea that there is no better teacher than experience, Susan has had many adventures as she built her characters and their lives. In addition to normal writerly exploration using libraries, museums, books, articles, interviews, and road trips, Susan’s research has taken her into the skies in a vintage biplane, had her hanging out the open door of an in-flight Vietnam-era Huey helicopter, she’s worked with search-and-rescue dog training teams in abandoned quarries and gravel pits braving both cold rain and blistering heat, and once her research caused her to be briefly suspected of industrial espionage.
Except for a seven-year stint in the Chicago area, she’s lived her entire life in her central Indiana hometown. She and her husband have two grown children and four grands. A house that once contained a rock band, various dogs, a chinchilla, several Guinea pigs, a few hamsters, a turtle, a salt water aquarium, the occasional litters of baby raccoons and opossums (while her daughter interned with a wildlife rehab facility) is now down to one rescue mutt.