Susan Clayton-Goldner: One of the Top 50 Indie Writers You Need To Be Reading

Finding a way back to something lost and the process of forgiveness and redemption are the recurrent themes in her work.

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.

Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona’s Medical School.

About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991–purchasing a 35-acre horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy road, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career.

Through the writing process, Susan has discovered she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.

Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality, was released in 2014. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Her novel, A Bend in the Willow was released in 2017 and is a Readers’ Choice Best Books of 2017 winner. She has just finished a three-book mystery series and is about to start #4.

After spending three years in Nashville, Susan and Andy now share a quiet life in Grants Pass, Oregon, with her growing list of fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. When she isn’t writing, Susan enjoys making quilts and stained-glass windows. She says it is a lot like writing–telling stories with fabric and glass.

Susan Clayton-Goldner

River of Shame

Something evil has taken root in Ashland, Oregon. And with it, an uneasy feeling sweeps down on Detective Winston Radhauser. If someone doesn’t intervene, that evil will continue to multiply until the unthinkable happens.

While on vacation with his wife and their newborn son, Detective Radhauser receives a call from Captain Murphy–a high school kid has been branded with a homophobic slur and is hospitalized in Ashland, a small town known for, and proud of, its diversity. And this is only the beginning. White supremacy, homophobia, and racism are one thing. But murder is something else.

Radhauser will do whatever it takes to find the perpetrators and restore his town’s sense of safety. With such hostile opposition, can he succeed, and will justice be done?

Tormented

Father’s Anthony’s devotion to God and His Church begins to unravel the moment Rita Wittier steps inside St. Catherine’s Cathedral in San Francisco. He struggles to control his feelings, but two years later, he is a man obsessed.

In an attempt to rediscover the priest he intended to become, Anthony flies back to Delaware to visit Father Timothy. If redemption can be found anywhere, surely it can be found in the church of his childhood and in the soothing Irish brogue of his former mentor.

The months pass, 60 Minutes does a special on Father Anthony and the Shepherd Academy—a school he started for disadvantaged children. He’s become a national hero— nicknamed the Good Shepherd. But he can’t get Rita out of his mind. He wants her more than anything—even God—and can no longer deny it. Six hours after he tells her how he feels, Rita is found dead in her car from an apparent suicide. Or is it murder?

Redemption Lake

Tucson, Arizona – Eighteen-year-old Matt Garrison is harboring two terrible secrets: his involvement in the drowning death of his 12-year-old cousin, and a night of drunken sex with his best friend’s mother, Crystal, whom he finds dead in a bathtub of blood. Guilt forces Matt to act on impulse and hide his involvement with Crystal.

Detective Winston Radhauser knows Matt is hiding something. But as the investigation progresses, Radhauser’s attention is focused on Matt’s father. Matt’s world closes in when his father is arrested for Crystal’s murder, and Travis breaks off their friendship.

Despite his father’s guilty plea, Matt knows his dad is innocent and only trying to protect his son. Devastated and bent on self-destruction, Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?

When Time Is A River

On a bench at the edge of the Lithia Park playground, someone is stalking two-year-old Emily Michaelson as she plays with her eighteen-year-old half-sister, Brandy. The child’s laughter curves through the sunlight, as if on wings. The stalker is more enamored than ever, but aware of Brandy’s vigilance with Emily, knows a kidnapping won’t be easy.

Planning to gain Emily’s trust, the stalker gives her a necklace—little girls love pretty things. A few days later, Brandy and Emily arrive at the park for the Children’s Health Fair. When the stalker sees them enter the public restroom, the opportunity is seized.

Not long after Emily’s disappearance, Detective Radhauser finds her rainbow-colored sneakers in Ashland Creek, their laces tied together in double knots. Brandy’s father and stepmother blame her for Emily’s disappearance. Radhauser feels sorry for Brandy but insists she stay out of the investigation. Brandy can’t do that. She is obsessed with finding out who took her little sister, and why. Will Emily be found in time?

A River of Silence

The past always finds us.

When Detective Winston Radhauser is awakened by a call from dispatch at 12:45 a.m., it can mean only one thing—something terrible awaits him. He races to the Pine Street address. In the kitchen, Caleb Bryce, nearly deaf from a childhood accident, is frantically giving CPR to 19-month-old Skyler Sterling. Less than an hour later, Skyler is dead.

The ME calls it a murder and the entire town of Ashland, Oregon is outraged. Someone must be held accountable. The police captain is under a lot of pressure and anxious to make an arrest. Despite Radhauser’s doubts about Bryce’s guilt, he is arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Neither Radhauser nor Bryce’s young public defender believe he is guilty.

Winston Radhauser will fight for justice, even if it means losing his job.

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