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Community

Local author releases novel, prepares for area book tour


Photo By: Courtesy of Apala Egan
Photo Courtesy Of Apala Egan

Los Altos Hills author Ellen Sussman is set to embark on a book tour in support of “The Paradise Guest House.”

Novelist and 14-year Los Altos Hills resident Ellen Sussman draws inspiration from her frequent travels around the world.

Her recently released “The Paradise Guest House” (Ballantine Books, 2013) is set in Bali, where she visited years ago. The story centers around a young female tourist who returns to the island in search of the man who rescued her from terrorist bombings on an earlier visit.

“I am influenced by everything I read,” Sussman said in a recent interview. “I read all the time.”

Her travels have strongly influenced her writing. She based her critically acclaimed novel “French Lessons” (Ballantine, 2011) on her time in France, where she lived for five years when her children were young. Those years proved to be the crucible for the book. During her French sojourn, she made a conscious effort to observe everything about the French way of life and later incorporated her knowledge in the book.

Sussman shares her love of the printed word in a number of ways. She teaches weekend classes in writing at her home, where she often provides food not only for the mind, but also for the body. Students often can enjoy one of Sussman’s French lunches. Most of her pupils hail from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. She said she experiences her strongest connection to the local community when she teaches writing skills and helps organize writing groups.

“Writing is a solitary occupation, and it can be challenging as well,” said Sussman, adding that she believes in helping people create support systems for themselves in the form of such groups.

An avid supporter of the arts, especially the literary arts, Sussman opened her home last fall for a fundraiser for Litquake, the San Francisco-based organization that schedules an annual literary festival in October to promote interest in literature and develop a sense of writing community.

Sussman addresses book clubs and schools, engages in panel discussions for area writers’ organizations and participates as a judge in the annual writing contest organized by the Palo Alto Weekly that encourages talent in children, teens and adults.

The first stop on her Bay Area book tour is 7:30 p.m. March 16 at Kepler’s Books, 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park.

For more information and additional book tour dates and sites, visit www.ellensussman.com.

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