D.A. Spruzen: Crazy in a Good Way
September 14, 2012 by Dina McQueen
Novelist and writing teacher Dorothy Spruzen, aka D.A. Spruzen, is writing like crazy. That is, when she’s not teaching like crazy. Since D.A. will be signing her book Not One of Us this weekend, we thought you might like to know more about this crazy lady! (More information about the signing can be found at the end of this article.)
D.A was born in the UK. She came to the USA in the 1960s armed with two things: a green card and a strong desire to attain an American East Coast education. She worked in the undergraduate library at Cornell, moved to Manhattan, married her husband (still together after 40 years), and began a stint as the Manager of Publications for a defense contractor. Shortly after, she moved to the DC area with her husband.
Her inner writer was crying out to be heard, and led D.A. to the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, where she entered a short story contest. Though she did not win, she discovered that she wanted to improve her writing. Sitting in a seminar that reviewed the submissions to the contest, she realized that she had a long way to go.
D.A. realized that she wanted a mentor, and through a family contact, D.A. met a woman living in North Carolina who had graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. They worked together through mail correspondence. In those days that meant “snail mail,” and it wasn’t long before D.A.’s mentor suggested she get her MFA, a seemingly crazy idea, which she took to heart.
D.A. completed her MFA through the low residency program at Queens University of Charlotte. She self-published the first of a trilogy in 2010 called Not One of Us. However, the trilogy is on hold while she is working on a new novel, which she claims is, “my favorite, set in World War Two,” about a “mildly retarded fifteen year old boy,” who, with the love and kindness of “decent people,” ends up triumphing.
For this book, D.A. explains that she wants “to show what can happen when somebody like this is given the opportunity to blossom. He discovers he has talents for gardening, he learns to read, which was a big dream, and he is loved and appreciated by decent people. So even though he goes through a lot of trials and tribulations during that year,” the novel ends on a happy note.
And what about the rest of the trilogy? “I will return to the third part of the trilogy soon, and will self publish it next summer.”
In the age of digital, online, self-publishing and promotion, D.A. understands the challenges writers face. Even though she self-publishes, she is currently looking for an agent while working on her projects.
As if that wasn’t enough of a writer’s life, D.A. also teaches writing, both in public institutions, as well as in her home. You can find D.A. in the adult education division for Fairfax County, at the Pimmit Center and at the McLean Community Center. Her in-home critique workshops are also in McLean. The cost of these eight-week sessions at her home is $150, and she offers the classes two times in one day, either 1pm to 3pm, or 7pm to 9pm. Snacks and beverages are provided. For more information about D.A.’s critique workshops, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Saturday, September 15, from 1pm to 3pm, D.A. will be signing her book, Not One of Us, and participating in a meet-and-greet along with two other Northern Virginia Writer’s Club writers from 1-3 at the Reston Barnes & Noble.
About The Author:
Dina McQueen is the author of Finding Aster--our Ethiopian adoption story. (www.FindingAster.com) She works as a writer's coach, editor, and copywriter. (www.DinaWolff.com) Dina recently moved from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Reston, where she lives with her husband, Brian, five year old daughter, Aster, and Leela the cat.