Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome fantasy and romance author Susan Gourley. You can find her blogging at Susan Says.

Welcome, Susan!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Fantasy and Romance Author Susan Gourley

Currently, I teach high school. Now, you might assume I teach in the humanities or language art fields, but I don’t.  I teach physical education and love it. But I’m still retiring next June and becoming a full time writer. I love writing epic fantasy and that is my first love for reading also. Under my pen name, Susan Kelley, I also write fantasy romance.  I do read almost every genre of fiction to be found.

I do some running almost every day though currently I’m resting after some knee surgery.

Resting up after some knee surgery

I love to cross-stitch, crochet and bake.  I’m not sure it’s special talent, but I’m very good at puzzles of all sorts. Jigsaws are my favorite, but I’m also good at fixing things because I can look at something and understand how it’s put together.



On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do some in the living room, but most of it I do in my office where I’ve put two cheap desks together to form a corner set up.


Susan’s Workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

I bought my two desks at different times. They give my lots of room to spread out. I’m limited on rearranging because my office is pretty small.

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I always have my planner open on my desk. I jot blogging ideas down on it. Also I keep my little black book where I write down books and authors I want to read. I always carry it with me to the library and the bookstore.


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love that I’m situated in a corner so when people come in the room, they can’t see my screen. I really don’t like people reading over my shoulder. I also have enough shelf space to keep everything within reach.

Susan’s bookshelf 

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I love water and often spice it up by drinking flavored seltzer water. I also drink coffee at almost any time of day. Iced or hot and black. Maybe once a week, I’ll have a glass of wine while I write.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

I fell in love with Tolkien in junior high school but never considered I might be able to write.  He’s still my favorite author.  As my children grew up and didn’t need me every moment of the day, I wrote my first fantasy romance in long hand. I never stopped writing after that though it took a few years to get published.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

During the summer months, I usually do some blogging in the mornings, posting and visiting. Then I do chores around the house. We have a big lot and it’s nearly full time to take care of it and my six bedroom house.  Then I’ll work on my writing after dark. During the school year, I don’t get a chance to write until evening or the weekends. I am completely without quirks, but I do like to have a movie playing while I write, even if I don’t watch. I can hear it.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

Some days I only work on promotion, but it’s always something toward my goal of being a more successful writer. I usually find between two and four hours per day.  The only distractions I get are my children stopping in to talk. I have to stop for that.

4. Why do you write?

I like telling stories. I never have to try and come up with ideas. I have so many books still floating around in my head, I wish I could type faster.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I would say never give up to other writers. And select the path that is best for you. Some people are doing great by self-publishing. Others go the small press route. And you can also try to sign with an agent and hope for a contract from one of the big publishing house. There are so many options I think everyone can find success.

How about a favorite writing quote?

“Butt in chair, and write.”




Thanks, Susan, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.





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38 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Susan Gourley”

  1. mooderino says:

    Nice insight into the world of a two-desk writer.

  2. Thanks for having me, Nutschell. I wish my desky was currently as neat as it was when I took that picture. It always get messy when I’m working on a new manuscript.

  3. M.J. Fifield says:

    Great writing quote. That’s something I need to post all over my house.

    And I love what Susan said about the monitor. I don’t like people reading over my shoulder either.

  4. Liza says:

    Butt in chair and write! That is what it comes down to…always glad for that reminder. Hope your knee heals quickly. Thanks for your comment on Middle Passages. I feel you. Deep breath…and…butt in chair and write.

  5. M.J., I think a lot of us don’t like people reading our works in progress. It’s stressful enough to have people read them when they’re done.
    I have to constantly remind myself of my own advice, Liza. Your post on your daughter really touched me today.

  6. deniz says:

    Fun interview! Is that some knitting I see beside you…?

  7. Good eyes, deniz. It was actually crocheting. I made an afghan for all my kids in their school colors when they left for college. That’s the red yarn I used for my daughter’s Boston University blanket.

  8. Knee surgery. I’ve been there. Not fun.

    Your workspace rocks! What I’d give to have a fireplace in mine. :)

  9. I love the double desk set-up! That’s what I hope for…someday. :) Thanks for sharing, Susan!

  10. LD Masterson says:

    Know I’m curious, what kind of movies do you want playing in the background? Don’t they distract you?

    • I watch favorite movies that I’ve seen many times, LD. It doesn’t distract me for some reason. Depends on the scene I’m working on it might be LotR, or Pride and Prejudice, Transformers, Hitman(just because I love Tim Olyphant). I have a stack of movies I play over and over again.

  11. momto8blog says:

    so enjoyed reading this interview and learning more about a fellow blogger!!
    keep on writing! I am cheering you on!!!

  12. Ava Quinn says:

    Great interview, guys. I like your workspace, Sue. And I’m a little jealous. My workspace is usually the arm of the couch or my lap!

  13. This was a great interview. I enjoyed learning more about Susan. I agree about writers having so many viable options now :)

  14. Senator says:

    Nutschell, each of these author posts are inspiring. Thank you for posting it, and Susan for posting pictures and answering!

  15. Thanks for stopping by and reading about me, Senator.

  16. Great interview! I have two old cheap desks pushed together too. As long as they don’t fall apart, they work for me. :)

  17. And people think I’m weird because the TV is usually on while I’m writing! (Although it’s usually muted so I can hear my music, which is also playing.)
    Your desk looks productive, Susan!

  18. Mary says:

    Ouch on the knee surgery. Love the books shelves. I need more to take care of the pile on the floor.

  19. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell and Susan .. fun read – lots going on in your life … and being able to work with a film playing in the background = amazing! Hope that knee gets fixed, and don’t fall over those books …

    Cheers Hilary

  20. I really enjoyed this one. What a neat lady Susan is!

    Kathy M.

  21. I love that writing quote! I really need to remember that one LOL.

    I so agree about people looking over my shoulder, I can’t stand that. Nice to meet you, Susan. Great interview as always, Nutschell! :)

  22. Bossy Betty says:

    What a great writing space and I love your philosophy about each writer finding his/her own way.

  23. Cecilia says:

    It’s great to meet you, Susan. I really like your working space. I don’t like it when people read over my shoulder either so having a corner as workspace is really great. :) oooh nice to meet another crochet-er. Go Team Crochet. :)

  24. Tonja says:

    I thought you were an English teacher. :)

  25. Knee surgery. . . ouch! Wishing you a quick recovery, Susan. And how interesting to have a movie playing while writing.

    • Thanks for the wishes, Cynthia. I’m back into my daily 4-5 mile jog but it still gets sore and achy. Getting old is not for the faint of heart.
      today I had the first season of Hell on Wheels playing.

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