MORE ABOUT SUSAN
Susan in her own words.
(This brief autobiography was written by Susan some years before her death.)
I think of myself as someone who seems to be constantly reinventing herself. I started out as a small-town girl and became a big city woman. I love big cities! In my early life, I lived by the then-rules, which meant I got married early and had two children. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the rules really weren’t written for me. I was meant to be doing something in addition to raising a family.
I went back to school when my children were young, much to the shock of my mother and others who felt a woman’s place was definitely in the home. I felt this was true only for women who wanted to be there…and not true for those who didn’t! So I persevered and attained my BA, Master’s Degree, and Doctorate in Psychology. Fate stepped in upon graduation and offered me the opportunity to become Executive Director of The Floating Hospital, New York’s Ship of Health. At the same time, my husband and I decided to end our marriage of 16 years. Thankfully, we are good friends today.
My ten years at The Floating Hospital and my life as a single woman were intensely gratifying and exciting. What an adventure! I certainly learned a lot about feeling the fear and doing it anyway! It was also during those ten years that I began my journey to self-discovery that was to make me a happier and more loving person, and led me into my present career of writing self-help books.
Just when I felt it was time to leave The Floating Hospital and begin my new writing career, I fell in love with the wonderful Englishman to whom I am now married, Mark Shelmerdine, and gained two step-children.
Mark owned London Films and was a film and television producer. Most importantly, he was loving, kind, giving, and cute…and he dearly loved this woman…even though she only had one breast as a result of a mastectomy. (Truly, women out there, those breasts aren’t really that important!) Mark calls me his “titless wonder”, which makes me feel very special and tells me I look like a sexy pirate. We are now married over 27 years and it just gets better… and better…and better…and better.
My new career took a while to take hold. It took many, many rejections before my first book, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” was finally accepted by a publisher. The worst rejection letter I ever got was that “Lady Di could be bicycling nude down the street giving this book away and nobody would read it.”
You would have thought the book would end up in the trash bin at this point. But undaunted, I moved forward and with the help of my genius agent, Dominick Abel, my writing career was finally launched. In 1986, a wonderful editor at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich named Martha Lawrence said YES! The valuable lesson I learned was never give up if you believe in something! Well, that’s it in a nutshell. What is the next step of the Journey? Only time will tell. I’ll keep you posted.
In loving memory of Susan.
Susan died in the early hours of Saturday, October 27th, 2012. She had been ill with a rare form of cancer called cancer of unknown primary (CUP) for over three years. She died peacefully and without pain, with her immediate family by her bedside
Susan wrote about herself and her experience of life. She kept no secrets from her readers, striving to create an honest and very personal connection with her audience. It was her boundless humanity and willingness to share openly about her own life that was the key to her enduring popularity and influence as a writer and teacher. Susan never lost her passion for learning and research. After she had her children, she went back to college and received her master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from Columbia University. Her first book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, was published in 1987, and had a profound effect on readers for its direct approach and simple, practical advice.
Susan went on to write 16 more books in a prolific career as an author, educator, and motivational speaker. Today, her books are published in over 100 countries and in 38 languages, and her work continues to help millions of people to free themselves and enjoy a deeper, richer, happier life.
Susan received many plaudits in her career. In 2004, The Times of the U.K. named Susan “the Queen of Self-Help” ranking her alongside such influential gurus as Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra. A year earlier, the popular spiritual consciousness magazine Kindred Spirit gave Susan the award for writing the Best Personal Development Book of the year – Embracing Uncertainty. As well as being a celebrated workshop leader and public speaker, she was a guest on a multitude of international radio and television shows including 13 appearances on Oprah in the 1980s and 1990s. Her insight and wisdom are treasured throughout the world.