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Women & Writing # 1: Suzanne Palmieri, Novelist

Now, a new series of articles dedicated to women and writing – I’ll be profiling inspirational ladies and their writing (or related work) in the coming months. First up we have novelist Suzanne Palmieri who I befriended on Twitter recently and discovered I have an amazing amount in common with! Plus her book comes out today – happy publication day, Suzanne! Enjoy …

1) If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be and why?

  • Scrappy: I was a young, single mother on welfare and I picked myself up, went back to college, received a presidential scholarship to Fordham to do graduate work. Dug myself out of a mess. Got married to a wonderful man. Had more witches. And never gave up on my dream. WRITER. 
  • Professional: I know how to read people. Emails, faces, situations. I know when and how to act with someone so that I present the best possible “me”. Sometimes, because this business (publishing) is so painful, people get… passionate. I try to stay level. Even with criticism. My thought is this. You don’t like my book? You read it. Thank you! Really
  • Oblivious: “Mom, can I have candy for breakfast?” “Sure!” When I’m writing I allow the people in my life to sort of glimmer there, while my characters are more real. This is NOT a good thing. 

2) What’s your background? 

  • A 7 year old poet/writer
  • A 15 year old hoodlum
  • A 22 year old college drop out with a baby, on welfare
  • A 29 year old teacher
  • A 30 year old wife
  • A 33, 35 year old mother of two more darling babies
  • A 42 year old author
Circles. Everything comes back to where it began. 

3) Tell us about your novel and your inspiration for it.

I went to Graduate School in the Bronx. I loved it there, in Little Italy. Arthur Ave. 170th street. Just loved it. Also, my great aunts. I was an only child with all these old Italian ladies looking after me. How I miss them. I wanted to resurrect them, in a way. Also, a strange and creepy article in the paper a few years ago… about two spinster ladies who died and the things that the authorities found in their house…. SPOILERS. Can’t tell you more!

4) What’s your top 3 bits of advice on the industry for writers?

  • Patience! Be patient with yourself and with the industry. Don’t rush anything. Trust the people who are there to help you. Don’t forget, ever, your success is their success so listen to what they say. 
  • Professionalism: Don’t overstep your boundaries. Follow the rules when it comes to querying an agent. 
  • Persistence: Don’t give up. One book doesn’t sell? Write another one. One book doesn’t work for you… just isn’t right? Write another one. If you are a writer who gets joy from the craft itself, you can’t ever give up. The more fun you are having, the more that fun translates onto the page. A reader or an editor or an agent can hear that joy just like when you see a professional pianist play… perfect notes, but maybe? No joy. Then? You see that guitar player on the street in New Orleans? And his music makes you cry. That. 

5) Describe a typical writing day for you. 

It depends on where I am in a novel. Right now, I’m beginning one. I write a bit at night. A lot when I’m cooking. But when I’m revising? There is no schedule. The whole world goes away and I type until my fingers cramp up. 

6) What’s the ONE thing you wish you had known before writing your novel/becoming a writer?

I was too trusting when I started. I was so eager to make connections. I wish I’d known that those things would… come to me. I found myself in a few sticky situations with writers who may have borrowed a thing or two. Not that I really minded… I mean, there’s no original thought anyway… but I guess, I wish I’d kept myself to myself until I knew more about what I was doing. Does that make sense? 

 Live your dreams. Really.


BIO: Suzanne Palmieri (AKA Suzanne Hayes) is an author, a teacher, a lost witch, a mermaid and a lover of trees.

Her debut novel THE WITCH OF LITTLE ITALY will be published by Saint Martin’s/Griffin on March 26, 2013 and has sold internationally.

Her co-authored novel, I’LL BE SEEING YOU (written as Suzanne Hayes) will be published by Mira books on May 28, 2013, and has also sold internationally.

She lives by the ocean in Connecticut with her husband and three darling witches.

Connect with her on Twitter

 On Facebook

Her website

Good Reads


The Women & Writing Series profiles inspirational women and their writing and/or related work on B2W. If you know of an inspiring female writer you want to see profiled here – or are one yourself! – get in touch. Tweet me, leave a msg on the Facebook wall or send me an email on Bang2writeATaolDOTcom. Want more? Here’s a collection of tweets dedicated to Inspirational Women, as nominated by Bang2writers.

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