ELKTON — After decades in the corporate world that included lots of traveling, Susan W. Green is now enjoying retirement and the view from her front porch.
Part of that enjoyment is the satisfaction of publishing her first novel, “Crystal Lake Inn.”
“I was good at writing in college and high school,” she said of her book report days. “I had a bucket list of things I wanted to do when I retired and writing a book wasn’t on it.”
While running her own consulting business from her Elkton home a seed for that book got planted, Green said.
“I would be meeting with people over the phone and I started wondering what they look like,” she said.
When the pandemic hit and everything started shutting down she put her musings to paper.
“I didn’t even tell my husband,” she said. “I wrote the first chapter and started the second and said, “I don’t even know what I am doing.”
In the mail came the Cecil College catalog.
“And I saw this class on how to write and publish a book. It was a master class,” she noted.
It was taught by well-known local author Michelle Chynoweth.
“I like the happy ending thing,” she said.
She wanted to learn “how to start with this person and get to a happy ending.”
Chynoweth planned to give her students feedback on their writing proposals.
“She’s thinking memoirs and stories about healing and here I am trying to write a Hallmark movie,” Green said.
An organized person throughout her professional life, Green came to Chynoweth’s classes prepared with notes and characters all in a handy folder with tabs. Chynoweth liked her draft and encouraged Green to continue.
“She taught me how to plant seeds, how to create an outline, how to flesh out characters and keep up with them,” she said.
One thing she learned on her own is not to be the only set of eyes to read through the draft.
“When you have to read your own work ... you miss the same mistake every time,” she said.
So she had her family do the heavy reading, so to speak.
“I asked my son to read it because I knew he’ll be honest,” she said. “Then his wife said ‘Could I read it?’ Well, she’s a lawyer and she’d come at it with a different perspective.”
She said her husband has been incredibly patient as she talked about people who are not real and towns that don’t exist. He has also been patient when she gets lost in the art of writing and suddenly realizes it’s the dinner hour.
“The characters kind of get in your head,” she said.
Her former co-workers are shocked that she wrote a fictional romance novel.
“They were expecting me to write a book about leadership,” she said.
However, they realized this was the right fit.
“They said, “You’ve always wanted a happy ending for everyone.”
Crystal Lake Inn is about Cassidy Taylor, the owner of a crumbling lodge on the lakefront. Enter Jack Burnett, a moody bestselling author who holes up at the inn to get his latest work completed. There’s a long list of bad dates with eligible bachelors, well-meaning family and friends and a quaint touristy town in Maine.
“I didn’t do it for the money or to be the next Debbie Macomber,” she said, referring to the New York Times best selling author of romance fiction. “I just wanted to see if I could do it.”
Crystal Lake Inn will be released Aug. 10 and will be available through Amazon for $14.99 or on ebook for $5.99. You can also find it at https://booksbysusanwgreen.wordpress.com/
“If I sell a few it’ll be fun,” she said.
That doesn’t mean she has not thought about who at the Hallmark Channel studios could play Cassidy and Jack. Does anyone know the name of Matthew McConaughey’s agent?