About the Author

Suzanne Goodwyn

I discovered Wilmington in the late 1980s when my mother relocated there from Northern New Jersey. At the time, the last leg of I-40 had just finished construction, a feat that would drastically change Wilmington in the following years, as it made getting to that section of the Carolina coast a much easier trip. My mother moved down there because she fell in love with the historic charm of the city and had always wanted to live by the ocean. I was equally captivated by it, and over the years as my family and I made frequent trips to visit, it became my home away from home.

I developed an early love of reading, and by the age of ten, I had started writing. By thirteen, I was sending out queries to book publishers and magazines. I managed to get published in Teen and Seventeen magazines in high school, and while at Tulane University, where I worked to further my writing skills while obtaining my Bachelor of Arts in English. The summer after graduating, I attended Bennington Writing Workshops in hopes of pursuing a writing career. I was enamored with the number of seasoned authors I met, but was having trouble developing my own voice. Shortly after, I visited a fortune teller named Emily who told me I would be a writer one day, but I had “a lot of other things to do first.” Whether due to Emily’s influence or the fact that I needed to earn a living, writing was put aside while I went to New York City to pursue work in television and film production, and then to work for a couple of years at HBO. Still looking for my path, I went on to earn my degree from New York Law School and worked in two law firms in Washington, DC, before opening my own telecommunications law practice. Throughout this time, the idea of writing was always very much with me, but there was little time and I was waiting for when, as Emily put it, I finished a few other things first.

Two of those other things included getting married and having children. Only while raising my two daughters did I finally find my voice. Late at night or whenever I had a few spare moments, I would jot down thoughts about being a new mother, relationships with family, and all the trials and tribulations that a parent goes through raising two headstrong and extremely bright girls. Add in that one of the girls had extensive medical problems, and writing became my way of expressing all the emotions that come with managing such difficulties. As teenagers, when my daughters didn’t want to listen to what mom had to say, I would write stories to convey my advice to them, hoping I could reach them that way. That is exactly how Wrightsville Beach came about. It was written to show my daughters what a loving relationship should be like, in hopes they would each find someone who would treat them well in their own dating lives.

So much of my life has happened in Wilmington. My wedding dress, which had been my mother’s, was altered there. We spent our first Christmas down there after my oldest daughter was born. Every summer, I would bring the girls down for marine science camp at UNCW and surf lessons, after which we would get lunch at the Trolly Stop or ice cream at Dairy Queen. We got hermit crabs, our first pets at Wings, where we would also buy kites to fly on the beach. As my kids got older, we would rent kayaks and paddleboards to take out on the Channel and go shopping downtown. Wilmington is where I first developed an interest in sea turtles upon seeing their nests on the beach. It is where I helped my mother during her last two years when she discovered she had pancreatic cancer, taking her to doctors’ appointments and spending weeks in Hanover Hospital and her final days at the Lower Cape Fear Hospice. Even after her passing, we continue to return year after year, building new memories and finding new friends while watching how Wilmington continues to grow.

Wrightsville Beach, my first novel, tries to capture so many of the feelings and experiences I have had throughout the years in Wilmington, while telling the story of two people finding their own paths. It has been a tremendous experience to put all these thoughts down on paper and to imagine a life there if I had it all to do again.