Featured Interview With Susan Dawson-Cook
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Worthington, Ohio, a suburb outside of Columbus. I always loved spending time outdoors, spending many hours catching frogs and wading in the Olentangy River near our house. Writing provided a creative outlet and therapy since I was a bit of a misfit at school. I was the girl with mud on her face, whose favorite animals were frogs while the popular girls loved horses (and had no penchant for mud and wading in rivers).
Our family often visited my grandparents in Florida during school holidays. I couldn’t wait for those trips, especially days we spent on Clearwater Beach. As a competitive swimmer, I loved the water anyway, and being at the beach and swimming (or even floating on my back) in the Caribbean was so wonderful, it was my dream to live by the water and someplace warmer.
Although I achieved a bachelor’s and master’s degree in geology, I only worked in that field for three years before I started working as a fitness professional and author. My husband, Chris, and I split our time between Tucson, Arizona, and San Carlos, Mexico. Also living with us is our beloved white fluffy Chow Chow, Chief. Our Mexico place is right on the Sea of Cortez, where I love to sea swim, often surrounded by bottlenose dolphins.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I enjoyed reading and writing as a child. I wrote mystery novels, starting when I was 7 or 8, which illuminated my love for nature and the outdoors.
I collected Nancy Drew books and read every single one of them more than once. In middle and high school, my writing outside of the classroom was restricted to diaries. My favorite authors were Daphne DuMaurier and Victoria Holt. DuMaurier’s Frenchman’s Creek was the book I loved most. I still have it in my collection—although since it went out of print, I had to order it from the UK on eBay. It’s one of those comfort books that I grab when I’m feeling out of sorts and need a lift.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I’m an avid reader and often read three or more books a week. First here’s a list of my comfort reads. In addition to Frenchman’s Creek, I also re-read Jamie Zeppa’s Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan and A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher whenever I need a lift. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library are other recent reads I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve read and reread all the Harry Potter books and loved them. In general, I enjoy reading memoir, travel romance, romantic suspense, and metaphysical books. I tend to bounce from author to author since I like variety in style and voice.
My 32 years working in the fitness profession inspired my three health and fitness books, Fitter Than Ever at 40 and Beyond, Fitter Than Ever at 50 and Beyond, and Slim for Life Secrets.
The incredible experiences I’ve had swimming with a pod of bottlenose dolphins inspired me to write Swimming with Dolphins, a memoir that celebrates these miraculous experiences in the water with my dolphin friends, the joy of swimming in general, and follows my life path of spiritual development.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Swimming with Dolphins was published in August, 2022, and celebrates the world of water, which has been my training ground for personal and spiritual growth, and throughout my life, a constant source of renewal and joy. Hikes on Peru’s Inca trail and swims in seas and oceans around the world illuminate my love for and connection with the natural world.
This swimming memoir celebrates my unique friendship with a group of wild bottlenose dolphins in San Carlos, México that began when they started interacting and chattering with me in dolphin speak during morning swims in the Sea of Cortez. It explores the intelligence and playfulness of these amazing creatures and calls upon all of us to protect and defend the wildlife that surrounds us, no matter where we live.
“The flash of a dark, shiny dorsal fin raises my heart rate another notch and transforms a Sea of Cortez swim from enjoyable to unforgettable.”
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