Susan Kimmel Wright grew up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, in a little stone house in the woods that her father, a carpenter, had built. She attended Shanksville-Stonycreek School, which was so tiny, it had no kindergarten, and all twelve grades were in the same building. Shanksville later became well known, because on September 11, 2001, Flight 93 crashed about three miles away, after being hijacked by terrorists.
Before she was old enough to write, she made up stories for her mother to write down, and Susan drew pictures to go along with the stories. She began writing her own stories in elementary school, and her fourth grade teacher, Mrs Lloyd, told her she would be a writer someday!
Susan decided to write her first book, Mystery of the Sassafras Jungle, when she was in seventh grade. She soon found out it was a lot easier to read somebody else’s book than to write one! But after a lot of evenings and weekends, she finished it–then, went on to write the second book in the series.
Those first books were never published, but Susan discovered writing was a passion that would be part of her life forever. She majored in creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where she met her husband Dave while Christmas caroling in a hospital corridor.
After graduation, Susan began writing and submitting stories to publishers, but found out it wasn’t easy to get her work published. She needed to get a job to help pay the bills, and she worked at several different jobs, including as an assistant in the hospital’s medical library. That was probably her favorite job, because she could read medical journals and learn about different diseases and treatments in her spare time, or when she helped find articles for doctors doing research. (She especially enjoyed, despite being thoroughly creeped out, her research on brown recluse spider bites!)
Susan finally decided to attend law school at Duquesne University. She enjoyed reading about law cases, because each one was a story. Though she spent many years practicing law, Susan never enjoyed it as much as she’d enjoyed studying it. She realized what she’d liked about it was the same thing she’d enjoyed about working in the medical library–the stories. She couldn’t let go of her desire to tell stories of her own. She began writing several books, but she was tired when she came home in the evening, and soon lost interest in finishing them.
In 1984, Susan and her husband Dave traveled to Honduras, in Central America, to adopt their son Tony. It was an exciting trip and an exciting time in their lives. They made a second trip in 1986, and adopted their daughters, Kika and Maria. Susan was busier–and tireder–than ever, working as a lawyer and taking care of her children. But at night, after Dave and her children were asleep, Susan was busy writing a mystery for young readers, The Secret of the Old Graveyard. This time, an editor at Herald Press sent a letter saying they wanted to publish it!
That first book came out in 1992, and was followed by two more books in the Dead-End Road series. Susan also began writing articles for magazines, newspapers, and daily devotionals. Her stories appeared in many books for adults, and in 2004, she began writing stories for the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including many for young readers, as well as for adults.
Now, Susan’s children are grown, and she has a granddaughter. She also works with the Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association, and usually has at least one foster dog in the house, along with her own dogs and cats. She likes walking with her dogs, especially in the woods, and loves reading and travel. She and Dave have been to more than 40 US states, Mexico, Canada, and several Central American and European countries. They especially enjoy traveling by train, pulling into stations in the middle of the night and peeking out to see where they are, and eating breakfast in the dining car.