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Susan Lewallen + Uganda + Author + Doctor

Susan working on a survey in Uganda

Hi -- and thanks for visiting this website!

For twenty years I got to live in four different beautiful countries of Africa and travel around the continent to many others.  I think I learned new things about people and cultures and life almost every day. Now I’m using those experiences to write fiction  set in Tanzania.  

Those twenty years were busy; I had consuming work to do and we were also raising two boys. But no matter how busy it was, I always found time to read fiction. My kids got most of what they needed but probably not so much of what they wanted since I often just couldn’t put my book down. I like to think that’s what turned them into the wonderfully independent and resourceful people they are today.


Fiction books have let me escape unpleasant situations, kept me entertained in dull lonely times, and renewed my belief in the human spirit.  My very favorite books do a lot of the latter and make me fall in love with the characters.  Stones from the River (Ursula Hegi) and Snow Falling on Cedars (David Guterson) are just two among the hundreds that have done this.  I love Barbara Kingsolver's way of painting detailed portraits of characters to fit her compelling plots.  I love Isabel Allende for giving me a glimpse of places I haven’t seen, along with the political and historical background of those places.

I also like books that make me laugh. Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone has always been good for a chuckle. Two decades ago when I was sometimes overwhelmed by life in Africa I’d read Patrick McManus stories to whoop with laughter and be transported for a little while. 

My career as a doctor in Africa was fascinating but, after a lot of academic publishing, I decided it was time to write the kind of fiction book that I’d want to read myself, based on things I saw during my years in Africa.  As Joy discovers in Crossing Paths,  we’re all so much more alike than we are different, in spite of the differences we’re born with.  I like to imagine  what a world it would be if we all understood that!  

Sunday afternoon on the coast of East Africa

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