I disremember exactly how or where I met Susie Finkbeiner. The Christian writing world is small in general, and it’s really, really small here in Michigan. We all bump into each other sooner or later. I’m so glad I found her!

photo courtesy of Susie's Facebook page, (I stole it without remorse.)
photo courtesy of Susie’s Facebook page, (I stole it without remorse.)

As soon as I met Susie, it was clear we could cause significant shenanigans if left unsupervised. Luckily, we’re always well supervised with husbands and our agent and about a hundred other people to make us behave. Which is sort of a bummer, but that’s how being an adult goes, I guess.

At any rate, we’re not here to talk about shenanigans today. We’re here because Susie’s new book, a Cup of Dust, releases this minute! Right now! I have a copy of the book to give away to a randomly selected commenter, and if you love well written fiction then you will love Susie’s work.

A Cup of Dust cover

Leave a comment below or on my Facebook page, and you’ll be entered into the drawing. So exciting!

I also wanted to interview Susie about her life’s work. I wanted to know how and why she decided to be a writer, because I think hearing about how others walk with God helps us in our own walk with Him. Here’s our conversation:

Can you tell us a little bit about each of the earlier books you’ve written?
I sure can! Paint Chips is a mother/daughter story of how life can build obstacles between us and how God can bring redemption.

My Mother’s Chamomile is about a family of funeral directors. It’s the story of mercy and comfort in the face of the worst days of life.

Now tell us about A Cup of Dust. What’s your favorite part of the book?
Oh, I love A Cup of Dust. It’s the story of 10-year-old Pearl living in Dust Bowl Era Oklahoma. It’s a coming of age in which Pearl learns that where you come from isn’t who you are.

I think my favorite parts of the book are when someone tells a story. There’s was a storytelling culture and I was so pleased to work that into the novel.

Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes! I come from an artsy family. My mom nearly studied fine arts at Michigan State and my dad is a published author. Being artistic was something we all valued when we were growing up. I’ve always loved stories, making them up and writing them.

However, I wanted to be a staff writer for Saturday Night Live when I was 8. That never happened. Alas.

At what point did you say, “Hey, I’m a writer and this is now my calling/career/thang!”?
I guess I really owned the writing career/thang when a play I’d written was published. I thought, “Well, I guess I can do this for awhile.”

Fortunately I never had thoughts that I could make a whole bunch of dough doing it. That would have been a bit disappointing, huh?

On dark days, what do you think about doing instead of being a writer?
I don’t really let myself go there in my mind. I have no marketable skills. I’m a terrible employee. I don’t like going to work.

However, on dark days I do eat stupid amounts of chocolate.

Did anyone think you were nuts for becoming an author? Did it change your path at all?
As far as people who are close to me, no. Not really. They knew it was coming. Also, because they love me, they’re supportive. I’m an awful human being when I’m not writing. I’m not happy at all unless I have a story brewing.

A friend of mine did bother me regularly to write a novel. I’m glad he kept pushing. It’s made all the difference in my life.

How much of your writing is directly related to your relationship with God? How does your faith fit your job?
You know, writing is my way of processing. Often I realize something God wants me to understand as I’m writing about creepy bad guys and quirky grandmothers. It’s pretty amazing when those sparks ignite as I’m typing.

Faith is the basis of my writing life. It’s impossible for me to leave it out of my writing, even if it isn’t an explicitly Christian story. Faith in Jesus is my worldview. It would be inauthentic of me if my writing didn’t reflect that.

Do you have a Bible verse that helps you focus when things get rough?
You know, I don’t have a particular verse for that. Usually I end up focusing on a verse that inspired the writing I’m working on at the moment. Either that or I’m reminded of a certain passage and look it up real quick (thank goodness for Bible Gateway).

What’s next for you?
Currently I’m writing the sequel to A Cup of Dust. After that I’ll resume research for a Vietnam Era book. I’ve been kicking around the idea for a funny memoir about high school. After that I have a few ideas for a novel or two. Ideas have never been my problem. It’s just having the time and focus to get them done.

If you’d like to learn more about Susie and her work, here’s where you can find her:

And don’t forget– if you’d like to enter the drawing for her latest book, A Cup of Dust, just comment below or on my Facebook Page.

Cup of Dust spines

17 Comments on Susie Finkbeiner: The Novelist You’re Going to Want as Your New Best Friend

  1. Susie Finkbeiner
    October 26, 2015 at 4:17 pm (2 years ago)

    Reblogged this on Susie Finkbeiner and commented:
    Enter to win a copy of A Cup of Dust and stick around to read a fun interview! Jessie’s the kind of buddy I get a tummy ache around. Why? Because we laugh so hard the whole time. If I spent more time with her I’m sure I’d have a 6 pack.

    Anywho, go on over and enter to win!

  2. cheriswalwell
    October 26, 2015 at 5:07 pm (2 years ago)

    Would love a chance to win this book. Thanks Jessie for the opportunity!

    Blessings and congratulations Susie!

    in Him,

    Cheri Swalwell

  3. Rachel
    October 26, 2015 at 6:10 pm (2 years ago)

    I love meeting new authors! Wish I could meet you both and share in your shenanigans. Also, I really like the word “shenanigans.” Thanks for the post and the opportunity!

  4. Susie Finkbeiner
    October 26, 2015 at 7:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh, Rachel, the shenanigans Jessie and I find. We’d love to include you some day!

  5. tammy @ faithhopelovefood.com
    October 26, 2015 at 7:23 pm (2 years ago)

    I would love a chance to win this book. I met both of you last year at Breathe, and I hope to go back next year!!! Congrats Susie on your book release! Can’t wait to read it!

  6. Connie
    October 26, 2015 at 7:37 pm (2 years ago)

    Sequel! Yes!

  7. Susie Finkbeiner
    October 26, 2015 at 9:23 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi, Tammy! I’d love to see you at Breathe again! We have such a great time!

    And, thanks so much!

  8. Jamie
    October 26, 2015 at 10:16 pm (2 years ago)

    This quote really struck me: “Faith is the basis of my writing life. It’s impossible for me to leave it out of my writing, even if it isn’t an explicitly Christian story.” It made me want to read your new book, Susie. I have this thing against most Christian fiction, because it’s so unrealistic and/or preachy. Sounds like you let faith permeate the story without necessarily making it all about Christianity. So, yeah, I’d love to win your book and read it!

    Plus, I love shenanigans and am from Michigan. Just sayin.’

  9. Jen Colson
    October 27, 2015 at 8:40 am (2 years ago)

    Great interview. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Susie at Breathe last year and love her sense of humor. I can’t wait to read A Cup of Dust. Would love to win a copy!

  10. memyselfandkids.com
    October 27, 2015 at 6:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Glad you have that kind of friend Jessie. It’s good to go a little crazy once in a while.
    Thanks for introducing her and her book to us.

  11. Betsy Carter
    October 28, 2015 at 12:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow…. Susie Finkbeiner sounds like an awesome woman! (Hee hee, I’m her sister!) She’s not only an awesome author but her amazingness flows through every area of her life… she’s just as cool as a sister, wife, mom, friend and chocolate eater as she is a story teller. I’m so proud of her!

  12. Meghan Rose
    October 28, 2015 at 6:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Susie is not only a fellow consumer of chocolate…she is my cousin! I haven’t seen her in-person in years, but I’ve been staying connected to her through her writing, which is always uplifting, humorous, and feels-inducing. Way to go, Susie! As for you, Jessie – I appreciate anyone who requires supervision to steer clear of shenanigans, and I’m happy to learn of your writing! I think A Green Plastic Monkey has my name on it;-)

  13. Jessie Clemence
    October 28, 2015 at 7:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Yay, Meghan! I’m so glad to make your acquaintance! You have a nice family.

  14. beautifuldreamer
    October 28, 2015 at 8:03 pm (2 years ago)

    This sounds like such an intriguing novel. Wouldn’t mind winning a copy!

  15. texaggs2000@gmail.com
    October 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm (2 years ago)

    I enjoyed this great interview with Susie and would love to win a copy of A Cup of Dust! Thanks so much for the chance to be a winner!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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