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Exploring Life Changes Thru Nature with Sue Wasserman

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Writer/Photographer Sue Wasserman

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Asheville Writer/Photographer Sue Wasserman

Mountain Made hosts some of the most popular authors and skilled artists and crafts people to be found here in Western North Carolina.  This is why in our continuing series Inside The Artist’s Studio’ we invite them to share their personal experiences and insights as professional artists with our blog readers.

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This month we visited with author and photographer Sue Wasserman. Sue has authored two very popular books: Walk with Me: Exploring Nature’s Wisdom and her newest,  A Moment’s Notice.


Both are filled with spectacular nature photography and inspiring personal essays.

Sue has been featured in such local publications such as the Laurel of Asheville:

“Insightful essays and captivating photographs give readers a sense of natural wonder and beauty as Wasserman experiences them. Wildflowers, butterflies and light reflected on water are some of the discoveries she makes with her “internal GPS,” finding in them lessons in understanding…”

Sue discovered that after a corporate layoff, everything in her life changed.

It was during this unplanned return to the ranks of the self-employed, that she discovered she wasn’t interested in working at the same “crazy pace” as before, particularly as she was reaching “a certain age.”

She has since “slowed down” and used her life long love of writing and nature to build a new life for herself .

Here’s the story of her journey.

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As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?  

Secretly, I hoped I could become a singer/songwriter.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I had the most amazing 8th grade English teacher who made writing fun.

One day, she hung all these posters on the wall and asked us to choose our favorite and write about it.

What a great opportunity to let my imagination run free. That’s when I fell in love with writing.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Where I have to pay attention to time in order to bill clients for writing projects, I can’t tell you I actually pay attention to it when I’m writing for me. For me, the process is also about finding the right images to help illustrate my words.

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What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I don’t have any set schedule. It often depends on corporate deadlines.

I’m one who writes a little, takes a break outside, writes a little, takes another break outside or completely gives up to spend the afternoon in the woods where I wind up taking more pictures, which is what influences my writing.

It works for me.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I can’t really think of any big writing quirks.

Photography wise, however, I have a HUGE tendency toward personification – meaning I see so many human or fairy characteristics in nature.

Walking with me is never boring.

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Where do you get your inspirations or ideas for your books?

My inspiration comes from my wacky, wonderful adventures in nature, as a critter sitter (animals/pets), and from interviewing people for my various articles.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Wandering outside is one of my favorite activities.

It always leads me to taking pictures of this and that, too. If I have to be somewhere whether for fun or business, I typically build in extra time because you just never know when I’ll see something and have to take a closer look.

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What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The most surprising thing to me was the unlearning I had to do to find my voice.

I’ve written for most of my career, but primarily for businesses or magazines – always about other people.

When I started editing my own work I found myself questioning whether or not I would actually say something I’d just written or if perhaps I was saying it from the voice I’d been trained into having.

I’m now on this great journey to finding my voice and recognizing its beauty.

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How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite? Why did you decide to write “If You Try and Catch a Butterfly” this time?

I’ve self-published two, but have written a few others.

My favorite is an as yet unpublished children’s book called If You Try and Catch a Butterfly, about a little boy who discovers it’s much better to watch butterflies in motion versus staring at them from a collection. He actually gets caught by the butterflies in his own net.

I decided to write A Moment’s Notice because people kept asking me for more after Walk with Me: Exploring Nature’s Wisdom.

They wanted more images and more stories. I think I found the courage I needed, too, to share more than just an inspirational snippet or two here or there.

Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of things do they say?

Reader responses have been the greatest gift from this adventure and they run the gamut.

I often hear the combination of text and images is a powerful one and that they especially love my photos.

Some people tell me my work inspires them to move forward with their dreams. Others tell me its part of their own healing, whether from cancer treatment or the death of a loved one.

One therapist, who was given A Moment’s Notice as a gift, said she thought all of her clients could benefit from it. It’s responses like those that help me keep the faith as I move forward.

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What do you think makes a good story?

I think real life, whether told as a memoir or fictionalized into a novel provides pretty good fodder for stories. It is easiest to write from what you know.

Right now I’m writing a photo essay book on my animal sitting adventures – Even Goats Take Catnaps and Other Tales from an Unexpected Critter Sitter.

I could never make up some of the experiences I’ve had with goats and ducks and cats and.I am still looking for a pig-sitting experience so if anyone knows anybody, let me know.

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[click to view Writer/Photographer Sue Wasserman’s interview on WLOS-TV – Opens on another site]

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