Senior Publishes Book, Plans Thursday Book-Signing

Armstrong: 'When my kids see me accomplishing goals, they get excited and encouraged also'

May 7, 2013

Susan Armstrong tells the story of a 15-year-old girl that defies her strict parents and finds herself “trapped and helpless in the clutches of a dangerous world” she never imagined.

She recently published her young adult fiction novel, Torn Hearts, and plans a book signing event Thursday (May 9), from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the lobby of Wilmington College’s Pyle Student Center.

Armstrong is a senior at Wilmington College from Clarksville majoring in social work with a minor in criminal justice. She expects to graduate Saturday. The nontraditional student is a single mother with three children.

In fact, her children represent a major reason why she both is in college and an author.

“When my kids see me accomplishing goals, they get excited and encouraged also,” she said. “I’m going to school for my kids.”

Armstrong, whose novel was written under the pen name “Suz Hoagland,” has been writing seriously “with hopes of getting published” for more than a year. She described the practice as both energizing and relaxing.

“I’ve always loved to read,” she said, noting she has been inspired in the craft by her favorite authors. “Writing has become my outlet. It helps me relax and wash the world away.”

Torn Hearts features 15-year-old Samantha Summers, whose parents keep her “locked up” on the family farm and in school, never even allowed to go to the mall or do any of the things her friends are doing.

(LEFT) Susan Armstrong

Compounding her frustration is football captain Brad Johnson’s romantic interest in her and Samantha’s parents’ refusal to let her see him. Samantha also is “haunted” by secrets from her past.

Each of these scenarios plays into the teen defying her parents and accepting Brad’s invitation to attend the “party of the year.”

“Suddenly, Samantha’s life is turned around,” Armstrong said. “She is forced to face her own dark secrets and to discover the secrets that her friends have kept from her.

“Her journey is about finding herself and learning about true freedom, and finding the courage to stand up for yourself when everything else is crashing down.”