Fifty is the new 30, right?
This question set the tone for She Just Writes’ sidesplitting interview with award-winning feature writer, columnist and author, Susan Reinhardt. It was immediately apparent that the first love of this Asheville, NC resident was comedy. As the mother of a 16-year-old daughter, 21-year-old son and stepmother of three, Reinhardt says she feels like a “personal taxi driver and debit card machine most days.” She adds, “I bet I get more worn out than that Duggar lady who keeps spitting them out.”
Reinhardt began her journey as a writer at the age of 12 when she was “old enough to feel geeky and awkward.” At this stage, she mainly wrote “horrible poetry and kept journals about [her] angst, braces and buckteeth.” She secretly lamented over the embarrassment of being the last girl asked to the dance or the first to be kissed. These pubescent moments, however, became the catalyst for the great writer with whom the world is now familiar.
Reinhardt began pursuing writing seriously after quitting nursing school. As the “Mistress of Enemas and Bedpans” she witnessed the deaths of patients and decided to switch to journalism. Reinhardt has been writing professionally ever since. The motivation for writing her first book was untraditional, to say the least. After breastfeeding two kids, she admits that those earnings were earmarked for a set of “new boobs”. Years later, her motivation is “to tell stories that entertain, invoke emotion and make people laugh.” She’s also saving for a new AC/Heat pump unit because “those things cost more than new boobs.”
To date, Reinhardt has authored seven books, of which, Chimes from a Cracked Southern Belle is the latest. This work was recently awarded an IPPY Award for “Best Fiction in the Southeast.” The IPPYs recognize the best titles published by independent publishers around the world. She has also written thousands of articles and columns throughout her career. Outside of writing, Reinhardt is a stand-up comedian and Sarah Palin impersonator.
Reinhardt’s funny bone is the ever-present constant in all of her work. She’s found her niche, and welcomes other women to join the club with these two pieces of advice:
- “Keep journals. You will never remember the funny, crazy or poignant things that happen unless you do. Your brain will erase it all, so write it down. Immediately! Also, start with the local paper… See if you can do some freelance work for your area publications. Blogs are a good way to break into the biz as well. Also, read what’s out there so you can bring something different to the parenting table.”
- “This is clichéd, but you have to read, read, read. Then read some more. Then write, write, write. Then write some more. You have to [also] realize [that] rejection is HUGE. I’ve gotten hundreds of rejection letters, but have also managed to snag two big-time New York agents, so don’t give up or let rejection turn you away from the art, craft and joy of writing.”
To unwind from writing and motherhood, Reinhardt drinks wine and does yoga or hikes in the mountains (in that order). But she proves that her writing is never complete as she pens her next book. “I’m working on a YA novel set in a funeral home that used to be a bank. So when the mourners come to visit, they can just go to the drive-through and see the body in the bank’s big window, then slide their condolences in the tray that comes out. That way, they don’t have to go inside and deal with all that meet-and-greet and awkward conversation.”