Susan Kelleher is the pen name of Susan L. Metzger, adopted when Spirit Dogs: Heroes In Heaven, the first volume in the Spirit Dogs series, was published in 1998 and retained for the sake of consistency.
She recalls beginning to write her first novel at age nine and has written numerous short stories and other novels since. She grew up with dogs, cats, horses, and her brother's pet crows and chickens in a rural setting near Elgin, Illinois. She was the assistant editor of her high school literary magazine and graduated from Iowa State University in 1970 with a BS in Sociology and minors in Psychology and English. Writing was her best subject, but she craved a more active life. She became very involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and decided to become a psychologist. She earned an MS in Counseling Psychology and an MBA in Management & Organizational Behavior from George Williams College.
She returned to her first love in 1987 and earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. Her first novel, Two Boys, is the based-on-fact story of a satanic child sexual abuse case and is published under her real name, Susan Metzger. Her second novel, Berengei: A Modern Fairy Tale, is about a mountain gorilla. Anticipated release is 2013.
The third book in the Spirit Dogs series, Heroes Return, released March, 2013, portrays the dogs back on Earth with Ivan experiencing his last physical incarnation as the hero he is destined to be. "These books have the potential to be a never-ending series," says Kelleher, "as the dogs experience recurrent cycles of death and renewal." She is also at work on Jolene, a post-Civil War story and Bertie and Pip, both novels with humans as central characters.
Her childhood menagerie of dogs, cats, horses, pet crows, and chickens, and her creation of Snowdown Kennels were a clear foreshadowing of her use of non-human characters to portray universal themes. She has been breeding, raising, and training Flat-Coated Retrievers since 1982. Ivan, clearly not a Flat-Coated Retriever, was a real Australian Shepherd who now resides in Dog Heaven after leading a long and fulfilling life.
Susan lives on the Front Range of Colorado where she teaches college writing and enjoys many outdoor activities.
In May, 2012, she was honored with membership in the Dog Writers Association of America.