About Suzan Still
Suzan Still holds a masters in art and writing and a doctorate in depth psychology. A retired university professor, she also taught creative writing in a men’s prison, where she became increasingly concerned with issues of social disenfranchisement. She lives in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains with her husband and an assortment of rescued fur children.
You can visit Suzan at http://suzanstillcommune.blogspot.com
About Commune of Women
What happens when ordinary citizens, going about their daily plans, suddenly encounter their worst nightmare? That is a question the women of Commune of Women are about to answer.
On an ordinary Los Angeles morning, seven women converge upon LAX for various purposes. Suddenly, in the midst of the crowded terminal, disaster strikes. Each woman spies her only chance at survival and races into the tiny staff room that is to be her home for the next four days. By the first night, they have rudimentary knowledge of one another: Sophia is a powerful, 60-ish woman who is unaccountably adept at the arts of survival; Pearl, an ancient bag lady, part-Black, part-Choctaw, is resourceful and unafraid; Erika , a top executive, has had her business trip cut short by a bullet in the shoulder; Heddi, a Jungian analyst already stressed by marital problems, knows she must use her psychological skills to help the others; Betty, an overweight, histrionic, 50-ish housewife, can’t stand the sight of blood or the thought of how she’s driven her entire family away; and Ondine, a sylph-like, 40ish artist, wealthy, unhappy and neurotic, has inherited a home in France. For four days, united by their common will to survive, the women learn to cooperate and to both entertain and sustain themselves by telling their life stories, which grow darker and more intimate as the days pass.
Meanwhile, Najat, the sole female among her group, the Brothers, has been abandoned by her male companions in a control room with a bank of monitors giving a view of the entire terminal and of televised rescue efforts, where she struggles between her own conscience and the dictates of her group.
I love to tell a good story! And life, in its myriad forms, supplies so much inspiration! Even getting tagged for a random Customs inspection, as my husband and I did on a recent trip to Canada, offers interesting information that can become grist for the story mill. Sometimes I feel like one of those scanning security cameras you see in stores-taking it all in, making mental notes, and already imagining how I might use any given moment, in a story. My new novel, Commune of Women, has seven main characters, each of whom tells her life story during the course of the book. Because they’re so diverse, I got to write seven radically different lives, which was both fun and challenging. In the process, I dipped into many caches of memory: my childhood among the living remnants of California’s Gold Rush and migrants from the Dust Bowl, and as the daughter of two latter day pioneers; my doctoral studies in depth psychology; my familiarity with art and artists and with the creative process; a brief sojourn in the suburbs of LA; acquaintance with inmates and street people, from my years teaching in a men’s prison; and friendships with people from diverse cultures. Whatever I couldn’t supply from personal experience was carefully researched-another truly enjoyable process. From earliest childhood I’ve loved to read. The adventure of an unfolding narrative, the beauty of language well used and flowing and the surprise of character revealed are all deeply compelling for me. My greatest ambition, as a writer, is to inspire such a response in my readers. If I can pull them into deep involvement with my plot and characters I will be delighted; the happiest of writers!