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Susan Branch Interview (Page 2)

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…One of the things we want to do is help the women who are under all this pressure. There is still a woman behind the mother, and yes we sacrifice, and yes we don’t always get the new shoes when the kids need shoes. And behind every mom, there is still a person.

And many moms are also feeling a financial strain, whether they’re working or not. We all know women who have the talent to start their own businesses and we want to create a place where they can learn about starting a business and they can think outside the box a little bit. They can use their talents, have something for themselves and help their families at the same time. This is one of the things that I’ve always liked about you, Susan. You did that.

Susan: Yes, I was truly raised to believe that the woman stays home. I thought I was going to have eight children like my mom! And that’s just not what happened. It was very surprising and hard for me. Suddenly everything that I thought was true about life turned out not to be true. And so now I had to find out what I was going to do. 

I mean, I didn’t know a single person who was writing a book. So when someone suggested that I do that, I thought, “Um, OK. I’m not Louise May Alcott and that’s who writes books, not me.” “Normal people do not write books.” I mean, not one of my mother’s friends worked outside the home. So as far as a role model, I didn’t have one. I mean look at the women out there today. Look at the creative blogs that are out there now, all these women yearning to make a difference. I’ve learned that when you find something to be true for yourself it’s usually true for everyone else too. So it’s important to share it.

Sarah: Well, that’s definitely what we’re hoping to do!

Susan: Good, because we discount our own talents. We think “Oh I can’t do that.” I mean, I didn’t think I was creative until I had about six books done. I looked around my studio one day and I thought, “I made that, and that, and that. I must be creative!” And I always wanted to be creative, I thought, “I wish I could be like her. She’s so creative.”

Sarah: You’ve said that you didn’t think of yourself as an author for a long time, and I read on your site that when your friend suggested you write a recipe book, you thought that was not going to work. But you did do it. What had you sit down and actually do it?

Susan: Yeah, I did do it! I had a couple things happen. My husband and I split up and I had a little bit of money to hold me over, but not forever. I was working part-time and I was painting still, although nobody was really interested in my paintings at that time and I didn’t have any kind of network at all.

I didn’t know any shortcuts, it was the long way to everything. What really made it happen was worrying about what I was going to do with the rest of my life. At the time I was about 36 years old. Everyone used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and no one was asking me any more. Not that I ever had an answer.

My girlfriend suggested that I write a book about six years before I actually did it. So it was in the back of my mind all this time, even though I never did it. When I was starting to reach poverty and I realized that the bag lady was getting closer and closer to my door, I thought, “Well, why don’t I just do one page.” I ended up doing three pages, and I took them home with me to California and I showed them to all my friends and family. And they really liked them.

Sarah: That must have been really rewarding!

Susan: Yes, that felt good. But they’re my friends, and I wasn’t sure I could trust their opinions…(cont)


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