I understand you are an actress, can you tell us about your acting career?
I fell in love with acting at age eleven. I did my first Equity apprenticeship at fifteen. I majored in theater at the University of Georgia and got a scholarship to teach acting and take a Master’s degree at the University of Hawaii. I didn’t plan on that much higher education, but I’d always wanted to go to Hawaii, so how could I say no?
After that I went to London and then New York to search for acting jobs. I got to do the First National Tour of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. I did a lot of rep theater. I met my husband to be, Barry Corbin, at a rep theater in Mobile Alabama in 1970.My crowning theater moment was being in the cast of the musical The Robber Bridegroom on Broadway.
We moved to Los Angeles in 1977 to pursue film and TV acting. When our first son was born, Barry got a major role in Urban Cowboy. After that, his career never stopped. Our second son, Chris, was born on the second day of the War Games shoot.
I gave up theater until the boys were in their teens. (Made a few TV and film appearances including M*A*S*H.) I thought it was more important to raise my sons. Acting could wait. I did pay both my children to write. My older son Jim, who is one of the funniest people I know, is a wonderful writer. I wish he’d take it up as a profession.
How did you make the transition from actress to writer?
I’ve never given up acting. My first TV series was at age sixty six, Warren the Ape on MTV. It didn’t last past the first season, but it was such a thrill to do it. I also guested on some series including Hannah Montana.
Right now I am studying long form musical improvisation. My son Chris wants us to be a musical Improv team and perform at the Del Close Marathon in New York. Chris says in ten years we’ll be good. I like his long range planning. I have an agent and a manager and audition for TV and film and voice over work whenever an audition comes along.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No. I always wrote as a child, but I gave it up as a teenager. I didn’t come back to it until 1992 when my son Chris and I wrote Jamie’s Dream together. However since the age of eight, I’ve always been a bookaholic. I adore reading.
Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?
Time and Forever was published by Soul Mate Publishing on January 29, 2014.
What would you give for a chance at true love? For a chance to go back and find it? Two women in their sixties travel back to 1969. It was supposed to be a Virtual Reality adventure. But something happened.
My inspiration for it? Well . . . My first post on the Pen and Ink Blog was about the joys of NaNoWriMo. To write the post, I signed up for NaNoWriMo without any intention of participating. On November 3, 2009, my Jewish/Catholic guilt genes surged to the forefront of my brain and forced me to sit down at the computer and begin typing. I had not a single idea in my head. In one month I had a book called sSecond Chances. The premise was two women in their sixties time traveling back to 1969. Where did it come from? I’m not sure. I kept telling myself. “It’s your world. Write the story you want to read” and it made me very happy.
Some writers go on long walks; others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?
Walk. I tend to dream things up when I walk. I solve a lot of problems that way. I try to walk daily.
Some books require a lot of research. How long did it take you to do the research for Time and Forever?
I have no idea. Countless hours. I would always stop writing to Google things in 1969 London and Los Angeles. Anything from fashion to the make and model of TVs available in those days. I have huge files of things I Googled.
I also spent time in second hand shops acquiring magazines from the period. I made a few visits to the library reading newspapers on Microfiche.
The hardest thing was the price of tickets to Disneyland in 1969. I know I went that summer, but I couldn’t remember the price of the tickets. I did online research and then called Disneyland and spoke to the curator and he couldn’t tell me for sure.
I really enjoyed reading Time and Forever, I would love to see a sequel. Is there a possibility you will write one?
I’m willing, but not sure how to do it. I’ve got a rough draft of Kate’s Hero. In it the protagonist is Sherry’s son Michael. So Sherry and Jeremy and Lorena and Dave appear in one chapter.
Where is your book available?
It will be available as an Audible book in late summer. I’m not sure when Soul Mate will put out the print copy. It may depend on how many eBook copies I sell.
Thank you, Susan, for allowing me to interview you. I gave your book a five out of five stars. Below are my thoughts on your wonderful book:
Susan B. James’ book, Time and Forever made me a believer in the popular adage, that true love can stand the test of time.
The story is magical and it chronicles the lives of two best friends who time traveled to 1969. One friend gets a second chance to re-connect with a love she never pursued. The second is awarded with an opportunity to change the future.
The two love stories whisked me back to when I first met and fell in love with my husband. As we get older and busy raising a family we tend to forget about that special time in our lives.
The story reminds me that it is never too late for second chances. Sometimes life throws us a few curve balls, but it is always better to have hope and to keep a positive attitude.
I recommend this book to all who are looking for a fascinating trip through time to find true love.