Friday, July 29, 2011

Showcasing: Susanne O'Leary

The Facts:
Susanne O’Leary brings her own family history to life. She hales from Stockholm, Sweden and lives in Ireland with her Irish husband. She started writing about twelve years ago and has not stopped. Her first novel, 'Diplomatic Incidents' caused a few raised eyebrows in the world of diplomacy.
Then followed three further novels, 'European Affairs'
(renamed 'Villa Caramel' for the e-book version),
'Fresh Powder' and 'Finding Margo' (all written in English and published in Ireland), which, masquerading as romantic comedies, were written with her tongue firmly in her cheek, causing further consternation in the polite world.

In early 2010, Susanne published her fifth novel, 'Swedish for Beginners' as an e-book, swiftly followed by three e-books
from her previously published backlist and a further two
works; 'A Woman's Place', a historical novel and 'Virtual Strangers', a co written detective story with fellow Swedish writer Ola Zaltin.

The work in Progress:

Is a sequel that demanded it be written.
I was delighted by the response to 'A Woman's Place' and after a while, I received many requests for a sequel from readers who had been very taken by the character of Sonja, asking me to tell them what happened to her subsequently. I hesitated for a while, as I felt I had finished the story. But then I found later letters from Sonja, describing her subsequent life and was immediately drawn in to the rest of her life story (I had left her when she had moved into her own apartment in NewYork in 1932).
She was such a courageous woman, who had many
 sad events in her life and often had to draw on her
 own strength to survive. She eventually found love
and happiness but the road there was long and hard.
I greatly admire the way she made a career for herself
and how independent she was, despite living during a
time when women had few opportunities to work in
high profile jobs.

The period just after the depression and before the outbreak of World War II is also very interesting, as is the setting of New York city during this period. The people she met and the choices she made were all described in her many letters to her Aunt Katia in Finland (my grandmother) and the emotions expressed in them truly moving.

I put together the letters and diary entries for the story into this sequel, which I really enjoyed
writing. My readers are eagerly awaiting this story so I am working hard to have it published in
a month or two.

The first Story:

Susanne O'Leary's
A Woman's Place
Can be purchased here: 

Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the New york City, they found. So different from today or was it?
The masses

The poor

The wealthy
The learn more about Sonja and her mother Julia where do you need to go? Why here of course:

I wrote a piece about the background to the book and posted all the photos of the people the characters in the book are based on:!/note.php?note_id=450636741629  It's open to all to enjoy.

Thank you, Susanne. There isn't anything more exciting to the when an author can bring real people to life for us readers. And then you go a step further and delight us with your own family history,

Betty Carlton


  1. I shared and twittered, but forgot to comment on how exciting this book sounds. Imagine being able to write from the direct history of a loved one. I've tried to get my mom to share some of the things she and my family went through living in the racist South, but she still isn't able. I guess its hard when it is still around.
    Thanks for sharing and best of luck.

  2. I know Ey. I thought the same thing. Some families just know how to share their history. So Jealous.:)Mine was not one of them.