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Shana Abé

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Sweetest Dark, The
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Susan Crandall
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Unlike so many writers, I did not emerge from the womb with a pen and paper in my hand and a fully formed story in my brain. Instead I was born with an incredible love for books. For years I was satisfied with immersing myself into other people's stories. I've always been fascinated with words — in fact I've caught myself reading the dictionary (it's fascinating, really). Also, unlike many writers, I didn't have an epiphany one day that said, "Hey, I think I can write one of these!" My path to writing was quite unique.

Several years ago, my younger sister, Sally, came to me and admitted that she had secretly been writing a novel. As she has the most active imagination I've ever encountered, this did not surprise me. She asked for my opinion. And, naturally, as the older sister, I had one.

Sally's coming out, so to speak, was the beginning of my journey into writing. At first I edited that initial novel. Then I just had to put in my two cents. The next novel we wrote together. As I knew nothing at all about books except how to read them, this was the beginning of working toward what I call my "writing degree." (You see, in my real life I was a dental hygienist.) But after four novels and countless workshops and conferences, Sally moved away and embarked on another career. I'm proud to say one in which she has been incredibly successful. However, I was completely hooked by this time and could not stop (think of a two pack a day smoker trying to go cold turkey).

BACK ROADS was my first solo work.

I live in the same small Indiana town in which I grew up. I did live in Chicago for several years, but in my heart I always remained a small town girl. My husband and I have two incredibly talented children who make me proud every day. For the past eight years, we have had a rock band of one form or another in our basement. Our house is filled with furry critters — most of them invited — including an eighty-pound "labsky" (half-black lab, half-husky) who thinks he's a human.

from author's web site



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Photo: Susan Crandall
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