RIP Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

When I was still in high school, my mom and I both read Anya: A Novel. That book is like a fever dream. You fall into it and only surface days later.

After that, I was hooked. I especially liked The Madness of a Seduced Woman, which is about obsessive love, love that turns crazy.

I wrote her a letter care of her publisher (pre-internet, probably even pre-me-daring-to-dream-of-being-a-writer) and she wrote me a lovely letter back. It's still floating around my house, probably 25 or 30 years later.

I heard her speak about her writing process in 2005 when she was on tour, and then I understood why her books were so hynotic. She said she would do research for years and years, but wrote nothing down. (That's amazing in itself.) She said an interviewer once asked to see her notes for The Madness of a Seduced Woman and they consisted of two sentences. Then, when she felt it was time to write, she sat in her study and promised herself she would just write for five or so hours a day. In a few days she would be sleeping in her study and writing 18 hours or even more at a stretch. She finished a first draft in a few weeks.

It was wonderful to talk to her. Today, I was so sorry to read of her passing. You can read her obituary here. It says she had a stroke 2.5 years ago and never regained mobility or speech, so perhaps it was a blessing.



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