Perabo Lauches Book at Whistlestop Bookshop


Photo Courtesy of Katie Davison '16

Professor Susan Perabo presents her new book Why They Run the Way They Do, a collection of short stories, at Whistlestop Bookshop on Feb. 16.

Kristina Rodriguez ’19, Staff Writer

Dickinson’s English department professor and Writer in Residence Susan Perabo launched her book Why They Run the Way They Do at Whistlestop Bookshop in downtown Carlisle the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 16. Perabo read an excerpt from the book before answering questions and signing copies.

The book, a collection of short stories, follows a number of characters’ lives and accounts their experiences, unconfined to one topic.

“It’s 12 short stories and they are all about…people facing difficult situations or having to make hard choices or putting themselves in surprising and complicated circumstances,” Perabo said.

Perabo wrote her book “because I have a passion for telling stories and I enjoy inhabiting other people’s lives and other people’s voices for short periods of time.”

“This book is something I’ve been working on for 15 years,” Perabo said. It’s a collection of a lot of work that I’ve done over that time.”

Perabo has asked students for feedback on some stories in the book, “specifically because [one story] was about a couple of kids who were 17 and I thought it would be really useful to have input from people who were close to that age,” she explained.

“A lot of the problems that students face in their work are also problems that I face,” said Perabo, which is why she believes that “teaching students is very useful in [my own] writing process.”

As a professor who leads creative writing workshops, Perabo enjoys her work because “students are so passionate and classes are so small that the relationships between faculty and students are so close.”

Perabo reflected on how her relationship with her students has aided her writing, especially in character development.

“I really feel that teaching helps me a lot in the writing process,” she said. “One [reason is] because students inspire me and they also inform me, and being around a lot of people who are [college-]aged makes me more comfortable writing about characters who are [the same] age…But really it is an inspiration to be around younger people and people who care about reading and writing and take work seriously.”