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Sunday, June 24, 2018

It Started in June by Susan Kietzman - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Bradley likes his colleague Grace and can't believe his luck when they go out for a drink after work one day and end up on the backseat of Grace's car. This encounter leads to a shocking discovery, Grace is pregnant. She's forty-two years old and is twelve years older than Bradley. Should Grace keep the baby? Are they ready to have a child and do they want to become a family while they've only just started dating?

Grace has always struggled emotionally because she wasn't wanted at home. She was the result of a teenage pregnancy and both her mother and grandparents were unhappy with her existence and let her feel this on a daily basis. It was the sole reason Grace never wanted to have kids, but now that she's pregnant she's changed her mind. She has plenty of love to give and her child won't grow up in a loveless household. Grace is determined to become a good mother. However, where does Bradley fit into her plans? Is he ready for such a big commitment and will their relationship survive unexpected parenthood?

It Started in June is a fascinating moving story. Grace is a strong and capable woman and she has a clear plan for the future. She never intented to become a mother, but being pregnant changes her and makes her softer. I loved seeing that transformation. Susan Kietzman explores each emotional consequence of the process in such a great detailed way that it felt natural and fabulous to follow Grace's thoughts and feelings. Grace is ready to have a baby, but the same can't be said about Bradley. He's an immature thirty-year-old. He still discusses everything with his parents, he doesn't know how to decide anything on his own, he isn't good at introspection and he can't keep up with the changes a baby will bring to his life. He's a sweet guy, but is having problems adjusting and that means trouble, a lot of it. Finding out if he'd be able to catch up kept me glued to the pages. It was incredibly interesting to see what Bradley would do and if he'd grow up eventually.

Susan Kietzman has a wonderful descriptive writing style. I love the originality of her story. It's real and honest, which fits the subject matter very well. Susan Kietzman doesn't spare her main characters, she explores their flaws and she thoroughly analyzes their feelings. The result is a well balanced and complete story. I really loved It Started in June, it's a terrific captivating story with many surprising twists and turns.


If you love original love stories filled with surprises you should definitely read It Started in June.

About Susan Kietzman

I grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut and went to Connecticut College, where my mother, two aunts, and grandmother went before me. After graduation, I worked in Manhattan just long enough to realize that I feel more at home in the country than in the city. This conviction did not prevent me, however, from going to journalism school at Boston University. I next moved to Mystic, CT, where I worked at a weekly and then a daily newspaper. Along the way, I met and married Ted and had three sons.

We spent time in Aurora, Ontario, and then moved Midland, Michigan, where I wrote fiction in the early mornings, taught English composition at a community college, and worked for various public relations firms, creating content for corporate clients. When we moved back to Connecticut, I continued teaching community college students and started writing grants for Mystic Seaport. I have since left the classroom and the Museum to focus on fiction.

I spend my free time enjoying the outdoors – walking, hiking, biking – and reading good writing.


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Connecticut and love living on the shoreline, where the water is either in view or close by. I’m married and have three sons, who live too far away from me. (They may feel differently!) And I have a 15-year-old dog named Daisy, who continues to be a sweet companion. I write in the mornings, right after I walk or go to the gym and call my mother. Coffee, however, is the very first thing on my daily agenda.

2) It Started in June has a strong female main character, what’s the inspiration behind Grace’s personality?

All my books have strong female protagonists because I like my characters to be as realistic as possible! I do not know anyone like Grace, so she comes from my imaginings. Because I got married and had children at a relatively young age, I have wondered what it would be like, what it might feel like, to not have children, to put one’s career ahead of family.

3) You write about a fabulous, but complicated work romance, how did you get the idea?

Work romances are fascinating to me. I can so easily see how they happen – the time spent together, the combined effort toward a shared goal, the inside jokes about the boss or co-workers, etc. You can spend more hours with a co-worker than with any other person in your life. Workplace romances are commonplace, and yet every tryst is a bit different. Some happen quickly while others take months to develop. Some are public while others are private. Some are sanctioned while others are taboo. Even the two involved in the affair have varied versions of how they came to be.

4) What does true love mean to you?

True love for another person is about much more than physical attraction or sex. Love means commitment, compromise, communication, and compassion. It’s about caring for someone almost as much as you care for yourself.

5) How do you prepare for the difficult emotional scenes in your stories?

I try to put myself into my character’s body and mind – to imagine what she or he is feeling or thinking. Difficult scenes are hard to get right, but they are a crucial element of every story.

6) How did your writing journey start and when did you know you wanted to start writing full-time?

I didn’t start thinking about writing as a career until I was in college and decided to be an English major. And I didn’t start writing full-time until about eighteen months ago; I always had a part-time job, not only to supplement my income but also to get me out into the world, where all the characters and storylines in my books take shape.

7) You love spending time outdoors, how does this inspire your writing?

I spend a lot of time walking around the town I live in. While walking, I’m not only thinking about the piece of the story I’m currently working on, but I’m also observing my environment and the people who populate it. I write about everyday life, which means my storylines and characters are all around me as well as in my head. Although on some days, I think about nothing at all.

8) A theme you’ve written about several times is the relationship between parents and their children, what’s so interesting about this subject?

Because, like a workplace romance, the relationship between a parent and a child can be complicated! There is no end to material, right?

9) You write about relationships in many forms, what’s the most fascinating part of exploring them?

The most fascinating part to me is getting the nuance just right. It’s not really enough to say they’re complicated, is it? I have to explain how and why.

10) What are your plans for the future?

More books, I hope!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a paperback copy of It Started in June and a beach towel from Susan Kietzman.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. It Started in June sounds like an engaging and thought-provoking story that explores the choices and revelations that come with life's most unexpected events.

  2. The book sounds great. Love the cover.

  3. I always appreciate originality in a story.

  4. Starts with an intriguing situation then layers in a helping of relevant backstory. Sounds great!

  5. It sounds like the story deals with some serious issues!

  6. this looks interesting and informative!

  7. This sounds fantastic! I love the cover art!!

  8. It is an interesting plot, and nothing is more interesting than a complicated plot. The title caught my eye, since here we are in lovely June!

  9. Love the sound and look of this book

  10. It sounds really good. I can't wait to read it!

  11. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing x

  12. Sounds good, many thanks for the review!

  13. I love the cover, it's so inviting! Thanks for the chance.

  14. Thank you for the great review and lovely interview :)

  15. I love the fact that Susan walks and observes people while planning her books; characters are the most important thing to me.

  16. I'm so excited to read it! Sounds amazing.

  17. We used to have picnics in amongst the dunes when I was a child, so the book cover makes me want to dig into the story.

  18. Dear Susan Kietzman, I love reading your stories. I'm your big fan! Would love to meet u one day :)

  19. Thanks for the fantastic prize and comp. Good luck everyone!

  20. Your book sounds wonderful, Susan!

  21. I would like to give thanks for all your really great writings, including It Started in June. I wish the best in keeping up the good work in the future.

  22. Aha! Another people-watcher! It's one of my favourite occupations.