Header image with four cats and the text: Pussreboots, a book review nearly every day. Online since 1997
Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

Alphabet Rescue by Audrey Wood
The Avenger of Love by Jack Skillingstead
Blaze by Stephen King
The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman
The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch
The Eighth Day of the Week by Marek Hlasko
The Elephants of Style by Bill Walsh
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki
Father Malachy's Miracle by Bruce Marshall
Free to Be... You and Me by Marlo Thomas
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Harold's Fairy Tale by Crockett Johnson
Hunger by Elise Blackwell
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
Look at Me by Anita Brookner
Lost by Gregory Maguire
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Randy Udall
Poor Poor Ophelia by Carolyn Weston
Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright
The Ride by Tom Brandner
Shadow-Below by Robert Reed
The Sneakiest Pirates by Dalton James
Sorcerers of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
The Spiral Briar by Sean McMullen
The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist
Through Endangered Eyes by Rachel Allen Dillon
Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans
The Tribes of Bela by Albert E. Cowdrey
The Valley of the Giants by Peter B. Kyne
"A Wild and Wicked Youth" by Ellen Kushner
Without Sin by J. Thomas
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

Episode 10: The Wandering Rocks: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Episode 11: Sirens: Our Man in Havana
Episode 12: The Cyclops: Pick-a-Little Episode 13: Nausicaä: Petting in the Park
Episode 14: Oxen in the Sun: The Critic in the Cabernet

Susan Vreeland

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Susan Vreeland: 05/16/09

Weekly Geeks

I grew up in University City, a neighborhood of northern San Diego. It's right at the edge of the city's boundaries before you hit "North County." North County to San Diego is what "The Valley" is to Los Angeles. So I'm basically a San Diego Valley Girl. I don't live in San Diego any longer, haven't really since 1991 when I went away to college.

This week's post though asks us to write about books or authors from our "home town." I can't think of any better example of a "home town" author connection for me than Susan Vreeland. When I was at University City High School (a the time a three year school, grades 10 through 12), Vreeland was the ceramics teacher and she was just starting up a new creative writing program. My best friend took her ceramics class; I took her creative writing class.

Susan Vreeland in 1989I was in high school from 1989 - 1991. So if you do the math, you'll know how old I am. I took Ms. Vreeland's creative writing course in either my junior or senior year. I can't honestly remember. She had just published her first novel, a semi-fictional, semi-biographical romance involving a blind couple called What Love Sees (which was later turned into a television movie on CBS). The process of becoming a published author frustrated her but exhilarated her. I remember her main advice was: get it published in hard back first; the royalties are better.

I've pulled out my old year book to show you Ms. Vreeland as a teacher. She was one of my favorites. Like so many of my favorites she was a bit of a rebel — a non-conformist. While she taught us the rules of writing for different situations, she also taught us how to bend them and skirt them and when we could ignore them while still showing that we did know them.

Before taking her class I wanted to be a published author. After taking her class and certainly all these years later I still do. It's one of my goals for after my husband gets his PhD (next week!). Ms. Vreeland wasn't one of the young geniuses who get published in their late teens or twenties. She worked at it and stuck with it.

From reading her biography her writing career really took off around the time Ian and I were moving up to Bay Area. I had found a career path that I loved and paid the bills (more or less) as a web designer and he was taking time off from graduate school to write at a computer magazine. In other words, we were so wrapped up in getting our own young adult lives up and running that I missed her first big book, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue.

It wasn't until 2003 during a particular bleak part of my adult life when I was newly laid off and without benefits, lots of bills to pay, a young child and my husband back in graduate school that The Girl in Hyacinth Blue landed in my lap. It had come to via BookCrossing as a book ring. I had signed up because I liked the title; I hadn't even paid attention to the author's name. So when the book arrived and I pulled it out of its envelope and I saw Susan Vreeland listed as the author my first thought was: "Not my Ms. Vreeland!"

I'm going to leave you with another snap shot from my year book to show you what San Diego was like from a high school student's point of view in 1989:

San Diego 1989

Comments (24)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Comment #1: Saturday, May, 16, 2009 at 16:38:06


I think it is awesome that you could actually write about one of your teachers. This gives the whole topic such a personal touch.

Comment #2: Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 18:50:00


Thanks. I'm glad you like it. It's not quite a literary tour of my home town as it is a nostaligic trip.

Comment #3: Saturday, May, 16, 2009 at 19:24:53


What a fun post! I love that you came upon your high school teacher as an author by happenstance. Thanks for sharing your San Diego memories with us!

Comment #4: Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 18:52:35


She had already published her first novel and a couple short stories before I graduated but her career as a writer hadn't really taken off yet. It's nice to see that it has worked out for her..

Comment #5: Saturday, May, 16, 2009 at 19:41:12


That is so cool! I've read The Forest Lover and The Girl in Hyacinth Blue. I must say, I never pictured the author as someone's high school teacher.

Comment #6: Saturday May 16, 2009 at 19:01:21


Well she was. I had fun finding her photo from my old year book. My goodness, it was 20 years ago!

Comment #7: Saturday, May, 16, 2009 at 21:18:52


What a great personal connection.

Happy Weekly Geeks :)

Comment #8: Saturnday May 16, 2009 at 19:04:25


Thanks! Glad you enjoyed my post.

Comment #9: Sunday, May, 17, 2009 at 01:06:54

gautami tripathy

I am yet to read her. I will check her out! BTW, I don't need to do the maths. I am older!

Comment #10: Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 18:31:45


OK. Here's to each of us reading the authors we haven't yet. Happy reading!

Comment #11: Sunday, May, 17, 2009 at 04:27:30


Mrs Vreeland sounds a wonderful person to have known

Comment #12: Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 18:33:03


She was an excellent teacher.

Comment #13: Sunday, May, 17, 2009 at 08:51:30


To be honest, I haven't read anything by Susan Vreeland, but think it would be a pleasant surprise to find a book by a high school teacher on your lap, unexpectedly!

And, must've been cool to have a published author as a creative writing teacher. Lucky you!

Comment #14: Sunday May 17, 2009 at 18:35:03


Learning of her success was certainly a highlight of an otherwise bad couple of months.

Comment #15: Sunday, May, 17, 2009 at 16:30:23


What a wonderful post! I love Susan Vreeland's work, and it's fun to hear about your personal connection.

Comment #16: Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 16:37:32


Thanks! I had fun pulling out my old yearbook for the post.

Comment #17: Sunday, May, 17, 2009 at 17:18:49


LOL well, I guess you're about my age! :)

It's a cool story. The Girl in Hyacinth Blue has been lying on my bookshelf for ages -- could you recommend it or should I pass it along via bookcrossing? It didn't come to me that way, but could have ;) It was passed to me at a Boekgrrls exchange meeting.

Btw, what's your BX-nickname: pussreboors as well?

Comment #18: Sunday May 17, 2009 at 18:39:34


I can recommend it. It's one of my favorites of her books.

I'm actually caligula03 at BookCrossing.

Comment #19: Sunday, May, 17, 2009 at 22:10:34


I love this! How inspiring!

Comment #20: Saturday May 23, 2009 at 12:32:34


Thanks! Happy reading.

Comment #21: Thursday, May, 21, 2009 at 07:50:17


WOW! This is thrilling. How fun to find the book in your lap and realize who the author is! I don't think I've read any of her books but I know her name...

Comment #22: Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 12:34:11


That's the fun of picking a book by title only.

Comment #23: Tuesday, March, 2, 2010 at 21:54:38

Jemi Fraser

That's so very cool!! What an experience for you and all the rest of her students. It must be a special thrill when you see a book written by someone you know so well :)

Comment #24: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 20:32:15


She'd already had What Love Sees published but when I had graduated she was still feeling frustrated at the process of becoming a published author. So come 2004 when I ran across one of her novels I was shocked.

But even if she hadn't gone on to realize her dream of being a published author she would have still been a memorable teacher.

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis