Wednesday, February 13, 2013


“Why is one place home and another place just isn’t?” The voice of Emma from AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE
On the heels of her parents’ separation, 16-year-old Emma moves to Pakistan, with her mother and two siblings. Emma’s no stranger to moving but starting over in a new school and a new country, without the support of her beloved father, against a backdrop of political turmoil, is a challenge even for an experienced traveler.
Yesterday was the launch for my debut novel, AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE. If you want more on what that experience was like, check out my blog,
Emma’s story is close to my heart. I’ve spent most of my working life counseling kids like Emma who change schools, countries, and even continents every few years. By sixteen they may have been to half-a-dozen schools, in as many countries, yet have no place that really feels like home. In fact, psychologists refer to kids like Emma as Third Culture Kids, because their culture, or their sense of who are in the world, isn’t tied to any one country, or group of people, but is a blend of the many places they’ve lived and people they’ve encountered.

Like a true global nomad, I’ve lived in ten countries, on four continents, including two years in Pakistan, the setting of the novel. Many of the things Emma experiences in the novel are things I went through myself during those two years. The rest are drawn from my years of working with kids, struggling to adjust to the ever-changing landscapes of their lives. For more on that, check out my interview on

So, yesterday, I sent Emma out into a new world, that of the reading public. I fear for her, as I would if she was starting over in any new place, but I also trust she will find friends. If you’ve taken the time to read this entry, you’re already someone who will take a chance on someone new, so I think you and Emma will get along just fine.


  1. Two years in Pakistan..... that is something.
    I wonder if it can be done in the present situation over there.

  2. What a beautiful post, Susan. I can't wait to read AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE.

  3. What a beautiful post, Susan. I can't wait to read AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE.

  4. Congratulations on your debut! I was born to gypsies (of a sort) and as a child lived in a lot of places including 2 years in Saudi Arabia, so I am super-excited to meet Emma. Keep the global stories coming!

  5. Huge congrats, Susan! I'm so excited that your book is out in the world!

  6. Looks like a book I want to read! I am a third culture kid too, I'm Dutch but grew up in Africa. Thanks for writing the book, we need to get the word out about TCKs!

  7. Thanks for the congratulations eveyone. It's so wonderful to know people who share, or are interested in, the TCK experience.

    Haddock, the school that I worked at in Pakistan is still open and one of my former colleagues -an American - is the principal, so it is still possible to work there but life has changed dramatically. It's become an "unaccompanied post" for Canadians, which means employees can't bring their families. Everyone lives "on compound" now and freedom of movement has been severely curtailed.

  8. A very happy book birthday to you, Susan!