Return to Willow Lake

Susan Wiggs' 5 Do's and a Do-Over

Our guest today: Susan Wiggs Why we love her: Her books make us swoon!

Her latest: Return to Willow Lake

The scoop: Sonnet Romano's life is almost perfect. She has the ideal career, the ideal boyfriend, and has just been offered a prestigious fellowship. There's nothing more a woman wants—except maybe a baby…brother?

When Sonnet finds out her mother is unexpectedly expecting, and that the pregnancy is high risk, she puts everything on hold—the job, the fellowship, the boyfriend—and heads home to Avalon. Once her mom is out of danger, Sonnet intends to pick up her life where she left off.

But when her mother receives a devastating diagnosis, Sonnet must decide what really matters in life, even if that means staying in Avalon and taking a job that forces her to work alongside her biggest, and maybe her sweetest, mistake—award-winning filmmaker Zach Alger. So Sonnet embarks on a summer of laughter and tears, of old dreams and new possibilities, and of finding the home of her heart.

Our thoughts: We think you'll love this one!

Giveaway: THREE copies!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners on Sunday, September 23rd after 3pm PST.

Fun Fact: Susan was a pioneer-she "self published" her first book when she was eight!

Where to read more about Susan: Her website, Facebook, and Twitter.


1. Do follow your bliss, when it comes to work. If you engage in work you’re passionate about, the rewards will follow. Note that I said rewards, which may or may not be money. It’s quite possible that the work that brings you pleasure might not lead you to financial stability. If it doesn’t, at least you spent your time doing something you love, and that’s never wasted. And this probably goes without saying, but do your best. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

2. Do get up off the couch. Take a walk, go for a swim, row a boat, practice yoga, dance around the room. You’ll feel better and have a more positive attitude. Plus you get to have dessert more often, which in my case is the whole point of a fitness program.

3. Do share. Share your thoughts, your feelings, your good fortune, your bad days. Share with those who have less than you–indigent people in your community, homeless pets at the shelter, the harried waitress who brought you that extra hollandaise sauce for your eggs benedict this morning, the local library struggling to meet its get the idea. Sharing opens your heart and your life.

4. Do read “up.” Don’t read books that make you think, “I can do way better than that!” Read books that make you gasp in wonder at their cleverness, the beauty of a well-turned phrase, the freshness and aptness of their metaphors. Reading time is so precious–make sure your nose is stuck in a book you love.

5. Do keep your promises–to the children in your life, to your significant other, to people with whom you make contracts–publishers, for instance.


I would like to have a moment back, a moment when I was apologetic and didn’t need to be, a time when I didn’t think I was entitled to something, a moment when I bought into unwarranted criticism. In those moments, I want to tell myself, Don’t apologize. You deserve this.

Thanks Susan! xoxo, L&L

Susan Wigg's 5 Things I'd Tell The Teen Me

Our guest today: Susan Wiggs Why we love her: She's fun and sassy! (if you don't believe us, just read her 5 Things below...)

Her latest: Return to Willow Lake-out on August 28th!

Our thoughts: We think you'll love it-there's a reason Susan is a NYT bestselling author!

Giveaway: FIVE bundles of Susan's Lakeshore Chronicle books!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday June 3rd after 6pm PST.

Fun fact: Susan recently launched a food for thought Facebook app where she shares her favorite recipes!


First off, I actually wouldn't tell the teen me anything because the teen me would not have listened. Because she knew everything already. She didn't start being naive and ignorant and in need of advice until she got much older.

However, for the purposes of this exercise, and on the off chance that this girl might have been listening, I offer the following. 

[A bit of backstory: The Teen Me lived overseas, in Brussels and then in Paris (Versailles, actually). Drinking and smoking were legal for kids back then, though we couldn't drive. We were allowed to operate a mobilette (moped) with an engine up to 50cc, although helmets were optional.]

1. Slow down. You do everything too fast. You ski too fast.* You eat and drink too fast. You drive your moped too fast. You're zooming through school too fast. Do you really have to graduate from college two years ahead of all your peers? Why? What's your hurry? You'll get to adulthood in due time, and you'll have the rest of your life to be there. *In the photo below, it's not visible, but there is a cast on your leg which you broke while skiing too fast. See, I told you so.

2. Pay more attention to your parents. I know this seems incredible to you, but they are actually wise and caring individuals who only want the best for you. When, for example, they tell you it is not a good idea to skip school and take the train to Amsterdam for the weekend, they're not trying to destroy your social life, just preserve your innocence a teensy bit longer.

3. Practice your cello more. You've got a talent for it but if you don't practice, it will get rusty and then you won't feel like playing anymore and one day in the future when you're trying to make it as a writer and you're broke, you're going to hock your cello and it's a Juzak and irreplaceable and in the even further future, you're going to wish you still had it. So there.

4. Don't let negative messages deter you from your dreams. People call you Pollyanna and tease you about being relentlessly optimistic, but it's only because they're envious that you have the attitude of a golden retriever, trying again and again and again until you get it right.

5. Oh, and that guy named Dirk? Don't even bother. You'll thank me for that one day. Same goes for that floor length monstrosity you bought at Kensington Market in London for a Jethro Tull concert. Huge mistake, and I have the photos to prove it.

below: Susan with her big brother in Val d'Isere, France, ca 1974; same two people, decades later:


Thanks Susan! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Susan, head on over to her website or find her on Facebook or Twitter.