Author Susan Hatler

Before watching The Last Song last night, the main thing I knew about Miley Cyrus was that she’d posed for some “revealing” photos for Vanity Fair.  I’d never seen Hannah Montana, but had been in a hurry to grab a “free” video (rent three, get one free or some dealio) and The Last Song looked like a cute love story, so I pulled it from the shelf and rented it.

The Last Song, based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, gave me more than just a love story.  It was about a brother and sister who spend a summer with their dad, who’d divorced their mom years ago.  There were interesting family dynamics, teen issues, and of course, the love story (always my favorite part).

I thought this was a cute movie if you’re looking for something to watch.  Miley’s character was very layered and Liam Hemsworth had an interesting character, too (plus he is quite the cutie). I really enjoyed it because Nicholas Sparks is a fantastic writer and Hannah Montana was actually quite good in the role. I could be biased since I’m from Montana and all…

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Speaking of books, I’m very excited at the moment. I just sold my book Shaken to Turquoise Morning Press and it will be released on August 1, 2011. I’d like to share with you other writers the evolution of the manuscript.

Shaken, is a teen novel with paranormal elements that came to me on a whim.  I’d been working on an adult Chick Lit novel when my mind wandered and I typed out the beginning of a teen novel I’d then titled, The Mind Reader. I met my crit partners at the coffee shop for our weekly critique session and handed them pages for my new YA–no surprise for them that I’d changed genres, they were used to me getting off track.  My mind?  Wander?  No way…

My crit partners read the beginning pages of The Mind Reader and they loved it.  They urged me to pause my WIP and crank out The Mind Reader first.  So, I wrote and wrote, and eventually popped out the first draft.  Then professionals gave me advice: great story, but something wasn’t quite right with the love interest.  Hmmm…

Over the years, The Mind Reader bopped from front burner to back burner.  I’d work on other manuscripts while it percolated in my brain–never too far, from my thoughts.  Professionals had all given me the same advice, so they probably had something there (har-har).  But how could I change what I’d initially envisioned?  Believe me, it was H-A-R-D.  That is, it was hard until I actually started to edit.

"Zombie Love" is unpublished; ms. being shopped around.

Then, I edited, edited, and edited.  Re-read, thought, and edited some more.  The more I revised it, the better it worked.  The Mind Reader became Linked, then became Peek-A-Boo Brain, and then became Shaken. It went through many beta readers, critiques and revisions before it felt ready.  Yay!  I finally submitted Shaken to Kim Jacobs at Turquoise Morning Press and went to work on my other projects.

Kim got back to me and told me she adored Shaken and offered me a contract with TMP.  Now, it’s official!  Shaken is going to be published. It will be released on August 1, 2011, as I said above, and we’re starting to talk about ideas for the cover. Keep checking back for more details as I know them. My website is: http://susanhatler.com

Writing has always been a passion of mine, something I completely lose myself in for hours on end until my fingers cramp and my eyes can barely stay open.  It’s been my dream to become a published author.  I encourage everyone to pursue their dreams.  It feels amazing when they come true.

Thanks, Dames, for letting me announce my fabulous news on Dames of Dialogue, and thanks to Betty Dravis for inviting me.