Peace Grad Survives, Keeps
Susan Brauer, an
alumna of Queen of Peace High School, 7659 S. Linder Ave., Burbank,
visited the school recently to talk to students and to discuss her
book, Just Keep Dancing.
Brauer met students
in Peace’s creative writing class to talk about the autobiography
The following class
period, she joined fellow alumna to speak to students in physics
classes about the benefits of pursuing a career in engineering.
Brauer has achieved success as an electrical engineer and section
manager with Motorola, as a first-time author and as creator of the
publishing company Dreamers Tapestry.
Just Keep Dancing
is an account of Brauer’s relationship with an abusive alcoholic she
married two weeks after her high school graduation. It tells of the
reasons she stayed with him, the struggles she faced and the story
of her survival and the survival of her six sons.
“I didn’t want to
write a how-to book,” Brauer says. “I wanted to open a space in
women’s hearts and brains where I could slip my messages in and
change their lives in a positive way.” She adds that she removed
very little of the story in editing, noting, “Anything I removed
would be less than honest to you, the reader.”
Brauer notes that
throughout grade school and high school she never wrote for fun and
never took a class in writing beyond the required English courses.
She always had a talent for math and science, she notes, which
ultimately led her to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees
in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at
Despite her love of
reading, Brauer comments that she never considered using that love
to become a writer. “I could write a technical thesis that was 125
pages long,” she laughs, “but I never thought I could write about my
It was while she
was reading a book on writing by her favorite author, Stephen King,
that Brauer became inspired to start the work involved in becoming a
“To follow your
dreams, do something that brings you closer to it everyday,” she
advised the students. “Imagine what it would be like when you’re
there. Research. Talk to people. Believe it will happen because you
can dream it.”
Brauer began the
pursuit of her dream by recording herself speaking aloud in the car
on her way to work, and would type out her words when she got home.
“Writing a book is like weaving a tapestry,” Brauer told the writing
class. “You put the ideas and concepts together and slowly you see
all of the pieces come together.”
She joined women’s
groups and networked with other authors, but still had doubts about
her talent. “I had to redefine myself and my concept of who I was
when I was writing. You need to believe that you’re not kidding
yourself, that what you’re doing will mean something.”
Six years after she
made the decision to become a writer, Brauer completed her
autobiography and had 3,000 copies printed.
dreams they think they can’t fulfill. Mine were singing and writing.
Now, I feel like I woke up one morning and suddenly I can sing.
Everyday is like Christmas. Did it take me six years? Yes. But does
that matter? No, because the book is 100 percent mine,” said Brauer.