posted on August 6, 2013 by Susan Wiggs


just breatheIn JUST BREATHE, Sarah Moon has an alter-ego of sorts in her comic strip heroine, who goes through many of the same trials and tribulations. There’s a little bit of me in Sarah, even though she’s younger, thinner and more naive than I am.  That’s the fantasy element coming into play. I live deeply inside the characters as I create them, and that’s how the stories resonate with me and, I hope, with the reader. My characters’ lives are entirely different from my own. For example, I never went through artificial insemination and I’ve never been pregnant with twins, yet the emotions Sarah experiences feel very authentic to me.

Faced with the task of starting over in life (with twins on the way!), Sarah displays great resiliency and depth of character. But she’s also flawed and confused at times as she faces a complex, larger-than-life situation, yet she ultimately finds the inner resources she needs to grow into her new life. I was inspired by women I know and admire—my friends, family members and readers.

Sarah and Will Bonner have a history together. She was an outsider in high school and Will was the star jock – so, years later, how do they make the perfect couple?

That’s pretty much the entire romantic arc of the story, isn’t it? Both characters are in the process of growing and changing, and one of the most dramatic developments in the story is their transformation from two youngsters who were very self-centered and different to a couple whose bond is forged by selflessness and love.

A betrayal leads Sarah back home to California, where she reconnects with old friends and her own past. Her hometown was the right place for Sarah to find herself. Glenmuir, in the wilds of the northern California coast, is the place where Sarah’s character was formed, yet she left with a lot of unfinished business still open. Her journey of the heart leads her back to deal with old issues she never faced. The setting in this story is a crucible for this character. It’s also a stunningly beautiful locale, where metaphors for growth and renewal abound.

Will has a complex relationship with his young daughter. Aurora, his stepdaughter, was the key who unlocked Will’s best self when he first rescued her from a fire as a tiny girl, and the bond that formed that day linked him to her forever. That moment really set him on the path to figuring out who he is. He wants to be a good dad (stepdad) yet as she enters adolescence, he starts feeling in over his head. That’s where the realism comes from. Most dads find preadolescent girls completely confusing, yet they can’t walk away.

susanwiggsReaders often ask how I went from being a math teacher to romance author. Actually, the leap was in the opposite direction. At the age of three, I declared myself a writer and rarely deviated from that path. I became a math teacher because I needed a job, and because I have a passion for teaching, but I never stopped telling stories or dreaming of a writing career. When I was in college, I was given a battery of tests and assessments to find out what careers would suit me. My top three were writer, teacher, and speech pathologist. So far, I’ve pursued two out of three. Readers can find more information at on my Facebook page:

Special drawing for Writerspace readers! Post a comment below, and we’ll do a random drawing. The winner will receive a $25 gift card from Amazon. Thanks for reading!

Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs

Using blunt scissors, pages from a Big Chief tablet, a borrowed stapler and a Number Two pencil, Susan Wiggs self-published her first novel at the age of eight. A Book About Some Bad Kids was based on the true-life adventures of Susan and her siblings, and the first printing of one copy was a complete sell-out.

Due to her brother's extreme reaction to that first prodigious effort, Susan went underground with her craft, entertaining her friends and offending her siblings with anonymously-written stories of virtuous sisters and the brothers who torment them. The first romance she ever read was Shanna by the incomparable Kathleen Woodiwiss, which she devoured while slumped behind a college vector analysis textbook. Armed with degrees from SFA and Harvard, and toting a crate of "keeper" books by Woodiwiss, Roberta Gellis, Laurie McBain, Rosemary Rodgers, Jennifer Blake, Bertrice Small and anything with the words "flaming" and "ecstasy" in the title, she became a math teacher, just to prove to the world that she did have a left brain.

Late one night, she finished the book she was reading and was confronted with a reader's worst nightmare--She was wide awake, and there wasn''t a thing in the house she wanted to read. Figuring this was the universe''s way of taking away her excuses, she picked up a Big Chief tablet and a Number Two pencil, and began writing her novel with the working title, A Book About Some Bad Adults. Actually, that was a bad book about some adults, but Susan persevered, learning her craft the way skydiving is learned--by taking a blind leap and hoping the chute will open.

Her first book was published (without the use of blunt scissors and a stapler) by Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Mira and Warner Books. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers' conferences, including the Romance Writers of America conference, the PNWA and Maui Writers Conference. She won a RITA award in 1994, and her recent novel The Charm School was voted one of RWA's Favorite Books of the Year. She is the proud recipient of several RT awards, the Peninsula RWA's Blue Boa, the Holt Medallion and the Colorado Award of Excellence.

Susan enjoys many hobbies, including sitting in the hot tub while talking to her mother on the phone, kickboxing, cleaning the can opener, sculpting with butter and growing her hair. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jay, her daughter, Elizabeth, and an Airedale that hasn't been groomed since 1994.

20 thoughts on “JUST BREATHE”

  1. Avatar patricia says:

    would love to win thanks for the chance

    1. Avatar Susan Simpson says:

      Congratulations to Patricia! Your comment has been chosed as the winning comment in the Susan Wiggs blog contest! Writerspace will send you an email with details.

  2. Avatar Kristen W. says:

    I want this book! It sounds really good!

  3. I have been in a reading funk for a few months and you have inspired me to go out and purchase this book. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Avatar consuelo carpenter says:

    Looking forward to reading this

  5. Avatar valorei hoelscher says:

    This sounds like a real life story.

  6. Avatar Lady says:

    Nice to read about the alter ego. I sometimes have some alter egos too, and I thought it was weird then, so I just keep it myself. Never know that based on the alter ego could make you wrote many great books. 😀

  7. Will have to look for this book. I am interested in seeing how the characters you’ve described here resolve their issues.

  8. sounds like a story my best friend would love! will have to have a reading group with her!

  9. Avatar Margie says:

    I read “Just Breathe” when it was first printed. Great book – but, of course, I’m a devoted Susan Wiggs fan and read most everything she writes. I’m sure others will enjoy her work as well.

  10. Oh, don’t we all have unresolved issues– and the place where they were conceived is often the place they must be dealt with.

  11. This is one of my favorite books. I was pregnant when I read it (for the first time), and ended up naming my daughter Sarah! Love your books.

  12. Avatar CateS says:

    Sounds like a truly awesome story!! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  13. Avatar Kay says:

    Have got to read this book! Thanks for the contest entry too.

  14. Avatar Josephine C says:

    I love the name Aurora! This will definitely go on my TBR pile.

  15. Sounds intriguing! Would love to win so I can buy the book!

  16. Avatar M. Sue McIntosh says:

    I love, love, love The Lakeshore Chronicles!!!!! It’s my go to series when I’ve paranormaled my self out.

  17. Avatar Brenda Rumsey says:

    Congrats on your book!!!! Your a new author to me and this story is so interesting. Would love to read it.. Thank you for sharing with us readers and for a great blog post.

  18. Avatar Barbara Thompson says:

    Congratulations!!! I sure you’re very excited. Would love to win . Thank you for sharing and please enter me in the giveaway.

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