Inspired by change, challenge and creativity

An Interview with Susan Troccolo (and a Giveaway)


“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~George Bernard Shaw




A while back, I was given the distinct honor of being awarded recognition for this blog by a reader, Julie@Gardening Jules.  And I promised that I would do a few interviews in recognition of the honor.  Finally, I am getting around to the first interview, and it is indeed a special interview with author and blogger, Susan Troccolo.



I met Susan Troccolo in this wonderful blogging world almost 3 years ago when Susan found my garden blog, Gardens Eye View.  Somehow we both found our way to writing for the wonderful website, Vision and Verb, which is no longer online.  When I heard she was writing a new book, I decided I had to interview Susan.



Susan has been on this journey of writing a book for a while now, and I am learning so much from her.  She has just released her first ebook, The Beet Goes On, which consists of 4 essays.  As Susan says this will be ‘a taste of what’s to come’.  Eventually these four stories will be among the twenty or so included in her next collection, and I can’t wait for that collection.  So sit back, relax and enjoy this wonderful conversation with an amazing woman and author…..




Screen shot 2015-07-21 at 1.16.09 PM


1.  Susan I am so glad to have found you online through blogging.  I always find it interesting how folks get into blogging.  Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I knew that I had another book in me and I wanted to connect with more readers, the kind of readers that I thought might like my stories. You know, it’s funny, even traditional New York based publishers are advising their authors to start up a blog. This is not just for the Indies anymore. All book promotion is basically done by the author herself. I also was hoping, really hoping, that I could create something beautiful and fun and make new online friends. It has worked out that way!



2. Susan I really enjoy my visits to your blog, and have always been intrigued by its name.  What is the significance of the title of your blog?

Well, at first, it was purely a funny thought that came into my mind. It was me poking fun (in a tongue-in-cheek way) at all the three word titles out there now. My humor is a little quirky. Also, my blog covers so many topics that I needed to find something that would embrace a lot of life using the metaphor of the garden. It was: Life (with a big L), Change (our own aging process,) and Compost, (the mess it all makes in the process!) Gradually other people started providing other ideas that had significance for them regarding the significance of compost. They saw it as the gradual breaking down of all the elements of life into something rich, and nurturing for new growth. It became a metaphor that had more than one meaning and I like that: readers can make of it what they want. I always try to give readers an opportunity to make something I write their own.



HD-28 #1


3.  The creative spirit seems so much a part of you.  What are some of your creative endeavors that make your heart sing?

I’ve been a guitar player since I was seven. Teaching guitar was my first job at fifteen, through the Parks & Recreation Department where I lived. I love bluegrass—I used to be a pretty mean flat-picker, and I love blues. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed arthritis in my hands and so a lot of that skill is lost. But I’ll always play the guitar, I just love it. I also love speaking Italian. The sound is like singing.  And I get to use my hands to make a point-:)





4.  And what is your creative process?

That’s a tough one. I have to work really hard not to sabotage myself with thinking that my creative work needs to be  good coming out of the gate. I think it was Anne Lamott who said: Write shitty first drafts! Those were her words exactly. For example, if I just scratch things out when I’m in a vulnerable and open space and write in a plain, lined, school-type notebook, then I’m less concerned with expecting great things from the writing at first. (There will be plenty of drafts and editing to follow!) I guess I’d have to say my creative process is trying to get free. Also, my best stories have come to me in the middle of the night. I have woken up laughing; honestly it’s happened three times with pieces I’ve sold to online magazines.  Usually it’s something that makes me laugh or makes me cry.



5.  What new form of arts or craft would you like to learn?

I’d like to get better at cooking. I’m the one that always brings the salads to the Pot Luck Dinners! They are pretty good salads, but I get tired of making them.





6.  Do you have a favorite space or spot that is sacred in or around your home?

Two places really. My office and the garden. My office has a Tibetan Thanka on the wall and I meditate there. In the spring, summer, and fall,  I like nothing more than to take my coffee outside in my jammies and putter in the garden.



7.  I know you have traveled to many places in the world, so where would you like to travel next?

I’ve never been to Scotland and I’ve never seen Alaska, the inland passage. I’d also love to rent a cottage in the Cotswolds and just relax after the year I’ve had! So many losses.



Delphiniums & Dalhias watermarked


8.  Oh I would love a cottage in the Cotswolds.  Let’s shift gears now.  Tell me what famous person or not so famous person would you like to meet?

I’d love to meet Michelle Obama and her mother. What a mother she must have! I’d also like to meet Anne Lamott and the Jungian writer James Hillman. Oh, and Michael Pollen—what a thoroughly enjoyable writer he is!



9.  Now that is an interesting collection of people.  Susan, what is or would have been your dream career or job?

I wish I could have made it as a Country Western Singer in the old days, not now though, when everything is so over-produced. I know that sounds silly; but what a hoot! Unfortunately, my singing isn’t up to snuff. I play guitar better than I can sing.


Here’s a little treat.  Susan singing and playing the guitar.  I think she would have made a fine entertainer….




10.   If it is possible to pick a favorite book, what would you choose?

Two very different ones come to mind: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard  and the most exciting adventure story I know:  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. Oh, and anything by MFK Fisher.  Oh, and A Passage to India by E.M. Forster.





11.  You just finished writing the ebook, The Beet Goes On, and are writing a bigger collection of stories.  Can you tell us a bit about why you wanted to write this collection?  How does it fulfill part of your soul’s journey?

I want to write about aging to help myself understand it. I have found that the garden is the perfect metaphor for the process of life and death, the seasons of our lives. I also know that because of the cancers that I’ve had and recovered from, I still hold fear in my body. I want to learn to release that fear. I’m hoping the book—as much work as it is—will give me some peace at heart.

The larger print book will come out in early 2016.



Susie&Fly at the Beach


12.  Can you tell us anything about the process that you went through in creating your book that was a great lesson or an aha moment…words of wisdom?

I really push myself too hard. And my body always pays the price. I would never think of someone like Clint Eastwood as being a model of aging (!?!), but I read the other day that he said: “if you just relax, it can be fun.” Good old Clint. Imagine that. But I liked what he said. In that moment I got it. Just kick off your shoes, and relax. There is nothing to prove.  Also I have a note in one of my garden journals that reads: Dreamt I was Clint Eastwood. Woke up. I AM Clint Eastwood! It cracked me up. That’s the post-menopausal woman for you—we are forces of nature.



13.  Is there anything else you want to tell us about your life, and what might be next for you?

Right now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by all I need to learn to put forth my best work. Whether you go traditional , or indie, writing a book is hard work. The social media piece alone is daunting. I pray to be able to do it with joy…in fact I have a note on my computer from Jennifer Richardson that says: “As easy joy about it all.” That’s all I want. But I can tell you that the people who have shown up on my blog have really helped me in ways I wouldn’t have expected. These readers and other bloggers keep me writing. They make me want to tell my truth and to keep putting it out there. I couldn’t be more grateful. Beyond that, it really is day by day.



Well I really enjoyed this time with Susan.  Like I said, I always learn so much when I talk with Susan.  Please make sure you visit Susan Troccolo in all the wonderful places she hangs out:

Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page






If you would like a free copy of Susan’s new ebook, just subscribe to her blog, Life-Change-Compost.  You can also purchase the ebook on Amazon.  If you have any problems downloading the ebook, please email Susan at at



Susan will have a print copy of The Beet Goes On for purchase from Amazon soon.  If you would like to win a print copy of The Beet Goes On, leave a comment here, and LIKE Susan’s Facebook author page.  Then your name will be placed in a hat for the chance to win this wonderful book.  I will choose a name at noon on August 2nd, and email the winner.



All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Photos are the sole property of Susan Troccolo and their use in this post is by permission of the photographer.

Similar posts
  • Poetry Sunday: Born of Water     Born of Water   I was born of water; body Surrounded by and made of creator’s tears, Unwilling to enter this landlocked life.     And whenever I can, I return home- To a vast sea, breaking against rock and shore. Spraying me with turquoise delight Swirling, swimming around my limbs- These disappearing [...]
  • Poetry Sunday: Given Freely   Given Freely   Sometimes in the most hurried, stressful situations, it is worth our while to remember that a smile can light up our world….it can light up the whole world.  One small act of kindness, can change everything around us.   So with that in mind, in a very busy airport recently, I [...]
  • Poetry Sunday: Dear New Year   Dear New Year:   It feels good to write your name on this page….another year older, new numbers for this new year.  And the new numbers come easily to my pencil and fingers.  Most years, I will continue to write the old year, correcting myself numerous times as if I cannot let go….not fully [...]
  • Poetry Sunday: Dear Sky   Dear Sky     Dear Sky:   I bask under your brilliance, I sigh as you lighten through the hours.     I relax as you color my end of day, And I contemplate beneath your moon and stars.     Your colors emerge and delight; They renew my soul and sing to me. [...]
  • Poetry Sunday: Savoring     Savoring   For me, food was always an after thought.  Something I had to have to fuel my growing, in-constant-motion- child’s body.  Grabbing a bowl of cereal here and there; a quick sandwich.   And into adulthood, this still was the case.  I had my favorites, but still food was merely fuel to be gobbled, rushed, [...]


  1. Zena Toledo Zena Toledo
    July 30, 2015    

    Such a beautiful interview… Susan’s words are wonderful and so wise… I would love to read her book. Thanks for sharing this. Much love xx

    • August 1, 2015    

      Thanks Zena for your lovely comment. Absolutely I couldn’t agree more. To read her ebook you can get a free copy by subscribing to her blog at the links above…a fabulous read! Enjoy!

  2. July 30, 2015    

    This was so interesting …I popped over to her blog and am going back to bookmark it to read more later on ! 🙂

    • August 1, 2015    

      So glad to introduce Susan to you Deb….I hope you enjoy her blog and definitely subscribe and get a free copy of her ebook. You will be glad you did!

  3. July 30, 2015    

    An excellent interview with a multi talented woman! Her book is wonderful, as is her absolutely charming online presence.

    • August 1, 2015    

      Thanks Elena…so glad you enjoyed the conversation….I couldn’t agree more about Susan’s book and her wonderful personality!

  4. July 30, 2015    

    What a great endeavor, Donna, to have interviews like this on your blog…and to start off with Susie like this has really set the tone. BRAVA!

    • August 1, 2015    

      So glad you like the idea of interviews Ginnie! Susan is a perfect person to set a positive tone anywhere she can be found on the internet.

  5. July 30, 2015    

    We owe so much to Vision and Verb don’t we? Introductions to beautiful, creative, talented people all over the world.
    Loved this interview with Susan. Thank you.

    • August 1, 2015    

      I agree Soosie….what a beautiful experience V and V was….and I am so pleased you really enjoyed the talk with Susan.

  6. July 30, 2015    

    This was wonderful, Donna! I loved your questions and Susie’s answers:)
    And her singing is delicious, isn’t it:)
    Thanks for helping build such a wonderful community,

    • August 1, 2015    

      I had a lot of fun coming up with the questions Jennifer….and Susie is such a great conversationalist as it shows in her writing. Isn’t her singing such a delight….I am so glad to bring us back together with this interview!

  7. July 30, 2015    

    Loved reading this interview with Susan! It’s good to hear that writing a book is a challenge, and that bit about promoting the book yourself. It must be a daunting task but so worth it. Vision and Verb was an inspiring journey, and I’m glad I was able to share it with you gals!

    • August 1, 2015    

      I agree Deborah and I do miss our get togethers….and the rich info Susan has shared will be helpful to any author looking to self-publish! I am so glad you enjoyed the interview….her book is excellent too!

  8. Sue Sue
    July 30, 2015    

    Fascinating interview. Thanks so much for sharing. I wonder how many of us Vision and Verb ‘alums’ have/had an interest in music in addition to other creative endeavors? Loved getting better acquainted…

    • August 1, 2015    

      I love finding about each of our creative outlets Sue…what an amazing assembly of women from V and V….glad you really enjoyed the interview.

  9. July 30, 2015    

    Well, I so enjoyed getting to know Susan better. She is a lovely person I have met here online and very creative. I loved the video…. Michelle

    • August 1, 2015    

      I was so happy she sent me the video Michelle as it definitely gives us a wonderful perspective about her. Glad you enjoyed the interview!

  10. July 31, 2015    

    What a lovely interview it is nice to get to know Susan better 🙂

    • August 1, 2015    

      I really enjoyed putting the interview together Cherie and I am so happy to have shared it with so many wonderful people like yourself!

  11. August 1, 2015    

    Well, what a lovely visit you’ve given us! You aren’t the only one who feels she has learned from the interview, I’m still processing some of the (many – wonderful!) lessons living among Ms. Troccolo’s answers to your questions. I love the bit about Clint Eastwood – when I read the “Woke up. I AM Clint Eastwood!” I laughed out loud (and startled my cat).

    It will be my pleasure to drop in on the other sites you’ve courteously linked to and continue the “getting to know” process. Great post!

    • August 1, 2015    

      I am so very pleased that you enjoyed meeting Susan. She is a hoot and that particular answer was a riot….I laughed out loud too! She is an incredible teacher and she has such a wonderful insight into life…..I am glad you are going to explore more about her…enjoy the exploration!

  12. August 2, 2015    

    I loved reading this tribute to your friend! She sounds absolutely delightful. What a great dinner party that would be to have the people she listed all together. Though cooking for them would be kind of intimidating! What would be on the menu? (Nobody talks about James Hillman anymore. What a shame.)

    • August 2, 2015    

      I agree Debra….a fun dinner party indeed. Susan is a gifted writer and I am glad you enjoyed the interview.

  13. August 2, 2015    

    Donna, Thanks for this. I hadn’t stumbled upon Susan’s blog, but it (and she!) sounds delightful.

    • August 3, 2015    

      My pleasure Jean….enjoy Susan and her blog.

  14. August 3, 2015    

    Hi Donna, apologies for the late reply, I have been without my laptop and access to WordPress for over a month. Fingers crossed it’s on it’s way to being resolved. This is a lovely interview with Susan. When I am properly back up and running – working in a borrowed iPad today – I shall so over to Susan’s blog. I loved your interview, what a great idea and lovely way to get to know her better. Looking forward to reading more if your interviews and catching up. X

    • August 3, 2015    

      Oh no Julie….I wondered if you were still having issues. I am glad you will have some resolution soon…how frustrating for you. You were the inspiration for the interviews so thank you! I hope to have a second interview done for the end of September. One every other month perhaps. So many wonderful people to get to know.

  15. September 27, 2015    

    I love this interview series! I met Susie when I was in Portland for the blogger Fling. Such a great lady!!

    • September 27, 2015    

      Lucky you and thanks for the good words on the series. i hope to do one interview every other month.

Favorite Quote This Week:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” ~ Aristotle


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Me on Bloglovin:


Follow Me on Feedly:

follow us in feedly

Welcome to my blog…

Visit Me At My Garden Blog:

Gardens Eye View

Find My Poems Published In:


Bloggers Commenting Back
%d bloggers like this: