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Guest Blog: 2019 Golden Heart Finalist Susan Lee – This One’s For the Dreamers

Today we’re welcoming another member of the Omegas, the 2019 Golden Heart Finalists: Susan Lee, whose manuscript DRAGGED has finaled in the Young Adult category.

Susan Lee has built a career as a Human Resources executive at successful startups such as Spotify, Warby Parker, and SeatGeek. Her biggest job takeaway: we are all, for the most part, ridiculous. 🙂 And she channels this into her writing of light-hearted, quirky novels about the oftentimes hilarious human condition. You can find Susan around New York City enjoying bottomless brunch, catching any show with her favorite local drag queen, Marti Gould Cummings, or trying to snag cheap tickets for Broadway previews. Susan is a 2018 PitchWars alum, a 2019 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist, and a lifetime Shangela stan.

Here’s a blurb for DRAGGED:

Goody two-shoes Grace Lee has a surefire plan for success: work her butt off to become a doctor and then be rich enough to buy herself a new butt. She’s one-hundred-percent focused on graduating first in her class and accomplishing all her goals. Nothing can stop her…except her smug arch-nemesis, Henry Liao. Henry is fast on Grace’s heels in their race to the top. He’s also the villainous traitor who convinced Grace to participate in a senior prank gone terribly wrong. Left shouldering the blame, Grace faces an enormous repair bill and—even worse—disappointed parents (eek!). To redeem herself and get back on track, Grace must win the school’s Most Outstanding Student Award, along with its hefty scholarship. Problem is, “outstanding” requires not just good grades, but song, dance, and jazz hands, too. 

 Enter stage right: Azia J’Adore, New York City’s hottest teen drag queen. With her huge wigs and an enormous heart to match, Azia’s the fairy dragmother Grace needs to land a role in the school musical, catapulting herself past Henry and straight into the winner’s circle. But working with Azia stirs up unexpected feelings in Grace. And when she finds out Azia’s true identity, Grace is knocked for a loop. With opening night fast approaching, it’s time to face the music: win the scholarship at any cost and screw up the one relationship she never knew she wanted, or toss aside her best-laid plans for the chance at a future unlike anything she ever imagined.

Oh, my!! What a fascinating and fresh storyline!! I’m dying to know exactly who Azia really is! Just from this blurb, Susan, I can see the humor and warmth in your writing voice, and can’t wait to see this book out in the world!

Today, readers, Susan has a wonderful guest blog post for us, one that’s especially poignant just after Father’s Day.

Thanks so much for being with us, Susan! Take it away!!

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This One’s For the Dreamers:

It is such an honor to be a finalist for the 2019 Golden Heart award. Some of my favorite authors started their careers as GH finalists and to share this achievement is mind-blowing for me. I’m a baby writer – I’ve only been putting words to page for a few years now, and this is my second completed manuscript. But, I think I’ve been a storyteller my entire life. And I know I’ve been a dreamer from the very beginning.

My father passed away a few weeks ago. It was a difficult loss for my family. But as I’ve been scrolling through memories of him in my mind, there has been a common thread: my dad was a dreamer. He was hard-working, uber-practical, stubborn, demanding…but he was a dreamer nonetheless. From early on, he dreamt of a better life and greater opportunities, success for his family, and a legacy to leave behind. And he made those dreams come true for us.

When I was growing up, he moved us to a new neighborhood in the suburbs of San Diego. We were one of the very few families who looked different than the rest. In school, others would actually tell me that they’d never even seen a kid who looked like me. But at home, my dad made it a practice to speak life into me. He showered me with words of confidence and acceptance. When I walked down the stairs of our home, he would announce “Here comes Miss Korea!” And I would wave and smile and stand taller with pride. I was unfazed by looking different than other kids because in my heart I knew I was beautiful. My daddy told me so.

We attended a Korean church every Sunday. It was one of the only places I had access to other Korean kids, kids who looked like me. But most of these kids were born in Korea, where I was born in Chicago. It’s funny what kids decide is weird to them. For these kids, it was weird that I was “not Korean”.. But at home, my dad made it a practice to speak life into me. He showered me with words of confidence and acceptance. When we watched the news at the kitchen table, he would proudly say, “Susan, you’re the only person in our family who can be President of the United States.” And I would nod and let those words sink in and accept all the opportunity ahead of me with pride. I was unfazed by kids telling me I wasn’t Korean. I knew I was Korean-American and that meant something big. My daddy told me so.

The dreamer in me wants to tell stories that are life-affirming, confidence-building, and honestly, belly-achingly funny (my dad was that too, by the way). I write young adult romance because I want the teens who might worry there isn’t a place for them, to be assured that there is. There are stories for them. There is love and happily ever afters for them. I don’t want to tell kids to forget who they are, but to explore all the possibilities that lay ahead of them because of EXACTLY who they are.

I was raised by a dreamer.

I am a dreamer.

I write stories for the dreamers.

What about you, readers? Who inspires you the most in your life? 

 

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Connect with Susan Lee on social media:

Twitter: @susanleewrites

Instagram: @syleegurl

 

 

The Latest Comments

  • Louisa Cornell: It’s a great first line, Louise! I am looking forward to reading the book!
  • Lenee Anderson: The murderer is David’s best friend. I’m concerned if I said something along the lines of...
  • Darynda Jones: This is great, Lenee, especially for a first attempt. Wow. I’m wondering if the stakes can be...
  • Darynda Jones: YES!!! I love it, Vivi, but Autumn’s is adds that twists that grabs me. Great job both of you!
  • Heather McCollum: Yes, this works! Thank you Autumn! You are awesome!!

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