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Suzanne Fisher Staples

As a child

I grew up in a quiet settlement, beside a lake, in the hill country of Pennsylvania. I was a quiet, introverted child, an inveterate day-dreamer. My family believed in ‘useful’ activity, so I began most days in spring, summer and autumn, by hanging a fishing-line off the end of the family dock, and day-dreaming. I was a good student, but didn’t like school very much, although my great passion was reading. My other favourite book was Black Beauty. I longed for a horse, and would have settled for a dog, but because of my brother’s allergies, animals were out of the question. We were four noisy children, and my mother prayed every day for sunshine so she could turn us out of doors. But tucking up under the eaves with a good book made rainy days the best of all.

As an adult

I began my writing career as a news reporter, which seemed the best way to pursue my dreams of travel and writing and, at the same time, to earn a living. I worked in Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. I came back to the US after fourteen years in Asia and worked at the Washington Post, then returned to Pakistan to work on a women’s literacy project. While I was there, I wrote Daughter of the Wind. I’ve always dreamt of returning to the countryside of Pennsylvania, and so my husband, Wayne, and I have bought a small farm, very near to my childhood home. I love working, gardening, paddling a canoe or kayak, and hiking with my husband and dogs. I also love New York, art films, theatre, music and friends. I am a very lucky person.

As an artist

When I lived in India, I listened to stories of Hindu gods and goddesses, trying to make sense of what Hindus believe. I read what I could, and talked to my Indian friends about their faith, but still I had difficulty understanding. While I understand more than I did, I’m still learning, and I understand that it might be a life-long undertaking. I revise as I write, so I’m always steeped in the unfolding of the story, which can become more real than the non-fiction life going on around me. I love that feeling of disappearing into the story, so that suddenly I realize I haven’t eaten, and it’s getting dark outside, and my animals are staring at me because it’s long past time for their walk.

Things you didn't know about Suzanne Fisher Staples

  1. I would give my left foot to be able to sing like Kiri Te Kanawa.
  2. I have always wanted to rescue orphaned squirrels.
  3. I still love to fish for sunfish, but now I put them back in the water when I catch them.
  4. I sleep with my dog, Mango, when my husband is away on a business trip.
  5. I love going to the movies alone, and eating popcorn.
  6. I have a deformed big toe from having been stepped on by a baby elephant.
  7. I don’t believe Buddhism and Christianity are incompatible.
  8. My favourite things to eat are crème brulee and fire-roasted corn (not necessarily together!).
  9. In our new house, every room will have large windows and at least one door that leads to the garden.
  10. When I was a child, I wanted very much to be a baseball star.

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