Guest Chick: Sue Hinkin

Please join us in welcoming the wonderful Sue Hinkin, author of the award-winning Vega and Middleton thriller series! 

What to do When Life Disrupts Your Plans

I was on a roll, writing regularly with focus and discipline, religiously attending my critique group, getting work published and then, life, as it inevitably does, totally upended my plans. A fall on the ice, a concussion, years of dizziness and a limited ability to focus ensued.

After crying, denial, lots of anger and cursing, endless rehab, I slogged through the stages of grief because I knew nothing would ever be the same again. I finally struggled to acceptance, a state I’m in at least most of the time. Okay, maybe half the time.

From this experience, I gathered a few things to remember for when the ‘big unexpected’ strikes again, as it inevitably will.

  1. Interruptions

Stop regarding upsetting events as interruptions of one’s “real” life. The truth is that what one calls the interruptions or crises are precisely one’s real life. All the fiction we write can’t replace that fact.

  1. Grieve your Disruption/Loss

Not grieving can result in irritability, anger, illness, obsessive disorders and other behaviors that are bad for you. A stiff upper lip will only paralyze your face.

  1. Simplify and Triage

Separate what’s critical from what isn’t. Let the latter stuff go, even if it causes a bit of guilt and discomfort. It’s better for you in the long run to cast off the less important work and put that energy into recovery.

  1. Recalibrate Your Expectations

You’re not going to be able to do the same things at the same pace after a traumatic event. Be willing to adjust your expectations to the circumstances and give yourself the blessing of grace.

  1. Reach Out to Others

Don’t isolate. If you feel you’re struggling, seek support from your colleagues, friends, and family. Give them the opportunity to love you and be there for you. My relationships in the awesome Colorado writing community were a great source of encouragement.

  1. Find the Good in the Situation

Now this one can seem impossible. Although my brain will never function the same after my accident, I have a new appreciation for folks who live their lives productively with disabilities, many much worse than mine. I included a quadriplegic vet as a major character in my latest thriller The Rx for Murder. Had it not been for my own struggles, he would not exist and he is very cool.

  1. Exercise and Breathe

Do something physical that puts you ‘in the moment’ where you can leave the stressors behind even if for a short respite. Walk, run, garden, do yoga, whatever—do something to give your mind and body a break.

  1. The Overwhelming Immediacy of the Crisis Will Abate

Remember the Hebrew saying by wise King Solomon, “Gam ze ya’avor,” which means, “This, too, shall pass.”

Voted Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year for 2021-22, Sue Hinkin was raised in Chicago and is a former college teacher and administrator, TV news photographer, and NBC-TV art department manager. She was also a Cinematography Fellow at the American Film Institute. Her thrillers, featuring Los Angeles TV news journalist Bea Jackson and photographer Lucia Vega, have been recognized with multiple awards including the Silver Falchion, Colorado Book Award for Best Thriller 2021 and The Colorado Author’s League Best Thriller for 2022. Book 5 in the Vega and Middleton series, The Rx for Murder, was recently released. Sue is a member of Sisters in Crime Colorado and Los Angeles, Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of American and is co-Chair of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Rush writing contest for unpublished writers. See more at

Sue Hinkin lives in Littleton, Colorado where she is the new grandmother of twin girls who already love a good book.

22 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Sue Hinkin

  1. Sue, I’m so sorry you’re still dealing with this, but I must say, you’re an inspiration to me. This came at the perfect time for me as I’m having a ton of stressors—huge and small—shooting at me from all sides. It’s absolutely true what you say … this IS our “real life” and the sooner we acknowledge and figure out our workarounds, the better—and happier—we’ll be. What’s that old saying? Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans? On my To Do list today is a complete overhaul of my schedule for the year. Priorities, amirite?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Sue,
    This is excellent advice. Like Becky said, it came at the perfect time for me.
    Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope we all see and try to mimick some of the strength you are showing us.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. From your post, it seems like you’re doing very well, Sue. Yes, it’s all real life, and must be lived on it’s own terms. And all experiences, good and not so good, are grist for the writer’s mill.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. What a beautiful post, Sue. And so true about ALL life being “real.” These are things all of us should take to heart, no matter how light or severe our curves/setbacks may be.

    Thank you so much for visiting the Chicks today, Sue, and congrats on the new book!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sue, you are such an inspiration–thanks for this lovely post, and congrats on The Rx for Murder. Your vet character sounds very cool indeed!


  6. Sue, I’ve watched you handle your new reality with grace, and you are an inspiration to so many of us! I love your books, and I’m glad you’re able to still write and produce. Thank you so much for these eight points which can serve as reminders for all of us when life events that are out of our control happen, as they so often do!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I first met Becky Clark at a Sisters in Crime-Colorado meeting soon after she’d survived a traumatic back surgery. Despite her obvious pain, she always had a smile and a witty wisecrack to make everyone around her feel at ease. I was inspired by her tenacity and still am! Serious shit happens, but continuing our writing if at all possible, using tough experiences to make our work more authentic and empathic, supporting others along the way, and as Becky would probably say–don’t forget that chocolate is the most important food group for any recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, you’re sweet, Sue. So much of the time we’re given the choice whether to laugh or to cry and I’ll choose laugh every time. And chocolate, of course.


  8. Thank you so much for your lovely, inspirational post, Sue. I absolutely love what you said about the perceived “real life” versus real real life. It’s the tough, real things that often make us who we are. ❤


  9. Dear Sue: Sorry I’m late–it has been one crisis after another this week. But I just wanted to say how much I loved your post. Very timely and helpful. And I’m so in awe of all you’ve been through and yet your attitude is fantastic and you’ve had so much success. xoxo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s