A Magical Evening with Susan McBride
By Tif Sweeney
On Wednesday, August 24 a crowd gathered at the Schlafly Branch of the Saint Louis Public Library for local author, Susan McBride’s latest release, Little Black Dress. The author came prepared, complete with a little black dress of her own and accompanied by a little black dress collection courtesy of Neiman Marcus.
McBride is a seasoned author, having published more than ten novels for a wide variety of audiences and spanning a multitude of genres. She can be found all over the city, supporting our local indies and fellow local authors, from the first-ever Independent Bookstore Cruise in May of this year to frequent appearances on St. Louis Today, recommending a few of her favorite recent reads.
On this night the spotlight was on her work, Little Black Dress. LBD, as she fondly refers to it, is a story about three women (two sisters and a daughter), their family secrets, and a powerful little black dress that brings them all together. It is the first book in which McBride steps into the realm of magical realism, “stretching her literary muscles,” and truly pouring her heart and soul into the very lives of her characters.
She was drained after completing this story, a feeling she has never experienced in her previous works. However, it was also written during one of the most difficult times of her life. She was in the middle of planning a big fundraiser. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, only too soon after her own personal battle. Her kitten, Blue, became ill and almost died. She discovered she was pregnant, and soon after miscarried. All of this while on a deadline. LBD became her place to escape and to heal. With all of the circumstances swirling around her out of control, life within the pages became something she could change and manipulate as she desired. LBD became the book she “needed to write.”
McBride’s honesty and genuineness shined during her speech. She was willing to bear her soul, not only through words on a page masked by fictional characters but also in front of a crowd with elegance and humor, leaving this reader inspired. She may be writing about magic in LBD, but she is also creating a bit of magic right here in reality.
For more information on Susan McBride and her works, you can visit her website or follow her on Facebook. You can also check back here on Monday, September 5 for more McBride with a feature review of Little Black Dress. Little Black Dress is available at Left-Bank books.