SUSY FLORY (1) Signed Copy Giveaway and INTERVIEW

ABOUT AUTHOR: Susy Flory is a New York Times best selling author who grew up on the back of a quarter horses in North California. She took degrees from UCLA in English and psychology, and has a background in journalism, education, and communications.

She first started writing at Newhall signal with the legendary Scotty Newhall, an ex-editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and a one-legged cigar-smoking curmudgeon who ruled the newsroom from behind a dented metal desk where he pounded out stories on a Underwood typewriter. She taught high school English and journalism, then quit in 2004 to write full time for publications’ such as Focus on the Family, Guideposts books, In touch, Praise and Coffee, Today’s Christian, and Today’s Christian Woman.

Susy is the author or co-author of four books, including So Long Status Quo: What I Learned From the Women Who changed the World, as well as the much-anticipated 2011 memoir sho co-wrote with blind 9/11 survivor Michael Hingson, called Thunder Dog: the True Story of a blind Man, His guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero.

Susy is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), and a CLASS certified speaker.  She lives in San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two children.

How did this project come about? What compelled you to write this story?
Michael and Roselle
I first met Michael Hingson over a phone interview for another book I was writing for Harvest House called Dog Tales: Inspirational Stories of Humor, Adventure, and Devotion. Mike told me his story, and when he got to the part about God speaking to him as the World Trade Center collapsed just behind him, I had chills. At the end of our 30-minute conversation, I was inspired and challenged by Mike's courage and can-do attitude as a blind man competing and succeeding in a world not set up for him. I asked Mike if he'd ever thought about writing a book. He said yes, but he needed help. Soon after, we met in person, talked through the project, and decided to work together, and that's how Thunder Dog was born (or whelped :)

Where were you when you heard about a plane hitting the Twin Towers?

 I was a high school English teacher at the time. I was preparing to leave for school when my mom called and told me to turn on the TV. I was getting dressed when I saw the first tower collapse. I couldn't believe my eyes. I drove to school, shaky, and someone wheeled a TV into the classroom and we just watched, and talked.

What fascinated you about Mike’s story? 
Two things fascinate me about Mike's story. On a day of utter and complete chaos and destruction, Mike was looking to help others (and did). If ever there was a time and a place where he would be expected to look for and accept extra help due to his blindness, this was the day. But he did not. Second, Mike holds no anger or bitterness at the religious group that spawned the terrorists who put him through hell that day, and killed and wounded thousands of others. I still find that hard to believe.

What did you enjoy most about this project? 
Photo of me, Mike, and Roselle just a few weeks before she passed away this summer. She was squinting because the sun was in her eyes
I enjoyed getting to hang out at Mike's house with his wonderful wife, Karen, and his three rowdy and wonderful yellow Labrador Retrievers. There is never a dull moment!

What parts of the book were hardest for you to write? 

The hardest part of the Thunder Dog project was the 9-11 research. I read dozens of books and articles and hundreds of personal testimonies about the experiences of that day. It was overwhelming and I felt much grief and sorrow for the untimely deaths of so many innocent people and for the pain and terror they went through that day. The research forced me to relive the events of 9-11 through the experiences of a person lived it; that was hard enough. But to read the transcripts of the 911 calls or the phone calls to friends and family of those who didn't make it out alive still haunts me. Worse, though, were the first hand accounts of witnesses who saw the jumpers or who made it out when their friends did not. I will never forget their words or their stories.

What was your favorite part of the book? 

My favorite chapter of Thunder Dog is called Woman on Wheels, about Mike's wife, Karen. She has been paralyzed from birth and is the wind beneath Michael's wings. But she has never been interviewed and shuns the limelight. We became friends and she let me interview her for the book. I love her intelligence, her honesty, and her bravery. She and Michael are an amazing couple. As Mike says, "She is my eyes and I am her feet." I liked the mix of had in the book of you telling Mike’s story of him escaping the Twin Towers and all that happened in the stairwell on their way down, and that mixed with flashes of Mike’s past growing up. Great blend. It made the read very interesting on many levels.

 Did you do reach on this project? Visit any other guides dogs and facilities? If you did, what was your impression of the whole process? Anything surprise you? Stand out?

I did quite a bit of first hand research, including trying to replicate Mike's journey down 1,463 stairs to safety. My husband and I found a high rise in San Francisco and asked for permission to walk down 78 flights of stairs. It wasn't too difficult, but we both had trouble walking for the next three days. I also enjoyed visiting the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in San Rafael, California, a number of times. If you ever get a chance, pay a visit. The puppies are adorable! An interview with Roselle's trainer at Guide Dogs really surprised me. He said he was in no way responsible for how well she guided Mike at Ground Zero---he said she was a special dog with a God-given gift. "Most dogs would have fallen apart." Roselle didn't fall apart, and instead guided Mike through smoke, debris, panicked crowds, the tower collapse just 100 yards away, and the 300-foot debris cloud. No one knows how she did it, but she did. She saved Mike's life and they worked together as a team to help others, too.

Stetson our retired racehorse, drinking tea out of my NYTimes Crossword Puzzle commuter cup 
Stetson reading Thunder Dog
SF Susan G Komen Walk for the Cure. It was in September 2011 and we did 3 days, 60 miles. (Ouch!)


If you had the opportunity to hang out with any two people (alive or dead) in the history of the world (besides Jesus that’s a given), who would you pick and what would you do? 

I would sit down to coffee with Deborah, the judge from the Old Testament, and find out what it was like to lead Israel into a battle where the odds were overwhelming. What tremendous faith! Which God answered with miraculous deliverance.
The other person I would like to have met is Mother Teresa. I would have liked to see her in action both in the slums and Calcutta and to have been with her at the Nobel Prize awards ceremony where she refused the celebratory dinner and instead told officials to give the money they would have spent to the poor. 

A friend of yours has a time machine and they are letting you use it to visit Two events in the history of the world. Which two events would you visit and why?

The resurrection of Lazarus so I could meet three of Jesus's best friends and see a tremendous and unexpected miracle.

The other event is my parents' wedding. They both had horrific childhoods but found each other, fell in love, and lived happily ever after, until my dad died at 47 of cancer. I would love to see them young, in love, and finding the strength in their bond to enable them to overcome their difficult beginnings.

Name three movies you can watch over and over again.

Man From Snowy River (because I'm a cowgirl--yee haw!)
Fly Away Home
Pride and Prejudice

Name three of your favorite book you read as a child? 

 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Walter Farley's Black Stallion series
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

What movie did you watch as a child that really impacted your life?

The Sound of Music. I loved Julie Andrews' infectious joy with the Von Trapp kids and I think it helped me be a better mother. Keeping things light and fun and joyful and musical is a great way to approach parenting. As my Irish mother always says, "It's better to laugh than cry."

THANK YOU Susy for this opportunity to get to know you and your books. This was an amazing read not only of a horrific day but of an amazing man and his trusted companion. Thanks for the FOUR books that you are giving away @ THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK CHRISTMAS PARTY and the ONE on my blog. 

Lots of opportunities to win this AMAZING book Starting DECEMBER 1st @ TBCN! Thanks for stopping by and sharing this story with us.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network 


** Mandatory** Answer this question.
Where were you when you first heard the Twin Towers had been hit by a plane? 


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********DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; open only to residents of the  U.S.A and Canada, must be 18 years or older to enter, odds of winning depend on number of entrants.

 This giveaway is sponsored by the author and is in no way affiliated with Facebook or Twitter. Winner will have 3 days to respond to email with your name and address - If we haven't heard from you another winner will be picked. *****


  1. The day of 9/11 I was working as a receptionist and we were all called into the conference room and watched. The remainder of the day was just a daze as we couldnt believe it. Even though I live in Canada it left a big impact on all of us as we had clients in the U.S. and it affected our data field.
    Over the years since the attacks it has been interesting to read about the accounts of the survivors and it happened in my generation and I still am interested in the situation!
    God has truly been honored despite what happen that day that the world fell apart!
    God bless you for writing such an amazing dog, having a Service Dog myself I can imagine how important Roselle was to Mike that day and not only to help him but to help others. God gave us animals for a reason and I believe anyone that has a Service Dog has a very special animal and partner!
    God bless you all!

  2. What a wonderful review. Can't wait to read the book. I was in the office at Shadowbrook Baptist Church in Suwanee when I heard about 911. Thanks for the interview Nora & Susy!

  3. What a great post I can't wait to read the book. It would make an awesome movie. I remember the day well. I was getting ready to go to work early for a meeting. I called my boss and all the managers went to her house and watched for hours. It was a tragic day and yet so many miracle took place that day. Enter me in the contest I would love to read this book.
    Glenda Parker

  4. When I heard the news of the terrorist attack on 9/11, my husband was taking me to the dentist for dental surgery. I was medicated and did not really comprehend the new broadcast until after leaving the dentist office. So many people lost their lives that dreadful day; and all of our lives were impacted in one way or another. Also our oldest son signed up to join the military on this day.
    Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

  5. Oh my, what a wonderful interview! Thanks Nora, Suzy and Mike. Roselle was beautiful. May she rest in peace!

    I was walking from my car to the office at the manufacturing company where I work. I could hear one of the radios in the shop and heard that a plane had hit one of the towers. I thought (as most did) that it was a small plane. When I went home from work that day, I went straight to the barn to cuddle the black two week old lab puppies nestled in the hay. As a matter of fact, I wrote a story about how our puppies offered healing during that time, and an excerpt is in "A Prince of a Dog" by Revell books! Just remembered that! lol

    I would love to win a copy of this book!

    phillman64 at gmail dot com

  6. On 9/11 I was away from the house and when I returned home, the moment I walked into the house, my husband said, "We are at war." I said, "why?" He answered, "Come, see the
    TV. We have been hit! The Twin Towers have been hit by airplanes and they are falling. People are jumping out from the very top floor." I could not believe it. I sat down with him and watched it from then on and praying for the families and those even still in the building. Unbelievable that this could happen. Questions abounding in my mind. Where would be hit next? Who did this and why would anyone try and kill so many people?
    Barbara from Finding Hope Book Club

  7. I had all three of my kids with me because I had just taken my littlest to the Dr. I was at the Target Pharmacy getting a prescription filled when my husband called and asked where I was. I told him. He said, "Go to the TV Dept and check out the news. A plane had flown into the twin tower.

    I gathered my kids and got to the TV Dept in time to see the second plane hit the other tower. My husband called me back. Said, "I'm leaving work. We need to be together as a family right now. I'm not sure what is going to happen next I want us to be together"

    We lived in Florida in between Disney World, Kennedy Space Center and Patrick Air Force base. Never thought I'd see the day they asked people to evacuate Disney World and closed the place down.

    It was one crazy day that made us talk to our kids and each other about the important things like making sure that we see each other in Heaven if that's how that day turned out.

    I'll never forget! I know none of you will either. Thanks EVERYONE For sharing your story. If you don't win here there will be (4) more copies offered at the Book Club Network starting DEC 2nd

  8. I was at work on 911. It was early on the West Coast. A friend first told me. The large company that I worked for at the time had a TV in the conference room. They let us go in there and watch the news. I don't think that any of us will forget that day.
    Please enter me in the contest. I have been eyeing Thunder Dog for awhile, wanting to read it. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Debbie Clark

  9. I was on my way into work when we heard on the radio that the Twin Towers had just been hit. I worked for a large corporation and they had the radio on so that we were able to follow what was going on that morning. "Thunder Dog" sounds like quite a book and am glad for the oppportunity to be entered.


  10. I am a follower


  11. I am a follower and email subscriber. I was at work and my mom called me and I turned on the news and saw it. What a sad day in American History. Please enter me in contest.

  12. I am an email subscriber, I was at home with two of my youngest children when we heard it across the television. And we were stunned. Thank you for the contest. Carmee Ross

  13. 9/11 - I was at a friend's house when we heard the news. I then drove to find my 17 yo son who was attending a firefighting class. When I arrived, the students, instructors, and other ff were all watching it on tv.... It was a day I will never forget.

    Jamie luvs2stmp [at] yahoo [dot] com

  14. I have had my eye on this book for some time now..... I am a follower and subscriber. I answered the question in a previous post.

    Jamie luvs2stmp [at] yahoo [dot] com

  15. This looks like a great book and I can't wait to read it. I don't think any of us will forget where we were 9/11. I was at work and got the word from a boss who came in later than I did. We spent the rest of the day watching the news.

    My husband was out of town and was supposed to take a flight home. I was so worried that he might be on a flight. And spent some time trying to reach him. I remember for a while, there was a lot of confusion and no one was sure how many flights had been hijacked. What a day that was.

  16. I was at work on 9/11 and a co-worker informed us of what had just happened. It was so shocking.
    Look forward to reading Thunder Dog, what an amazing story!


  17. i was at home and heard about it on the radio.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  18. What an inspiring interview and book. Thank you.

    I was walking along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. I could see the tower that had not been hit and a cloud of smoke. I was immediately concerned for my daughter who was down there in school. I reasoned with myself that if I could see the tower, then the smoke I was seeing must be from something farther north and that I was just being a nervous mother.

    Five minutes later when I walked into my office I found out that indeed the fire was from the other tower (that had been blocked from my view by buildings. My daughter's school was evacuated as the first tower fell.

  19. I was at our women's Bible Study. I had to run to the office for the other leader and as I walked in the church secretary was on the phone and told me that one of the World Trade Center Buildings had been hit by a plane but didn't know the size of the plane. When the ladies started filtering in to the Study, we learned that the other tower had been hit as well and then the Pentagon. We knew we were under attack. I would love to have this book to read. Thank you so much for the opportunity!!! Many blessings to you!!!

  20. I was teaching Kindergarten at the time of the attack.
    There was a knock at the door and the secretary gave me a note to read. I was surprised. But I could not alarm my students. I was shocked when she returned with another note indicating DC had also been attacked. Many frightened parents began coming to the school for their children. It was a difficult day because I still wanted to protect the remaining students from any fear. I watched the attacks on tv when I arrived home and broke down in tears!

    chakasa58 at gmail dot com

  21. I was home when I heard the news but my husband was at the airport ready to board a plane to the DC area--of course the airport canceled his flight and he drove home.

  22. I was at home and was called by a friend who simply said, "turn on the TV". Those images are forever burned into my brain. I felt very privileged to hear Michael speak at the college where I teach in the Bay Area some years ago.

  23. The true beauty of this story is one man and one dog's amazing courage. The trust that Michael had in Roselle to get him to safety and the bravery of one dog to do just that. Get her master safely home. I believe this is one of the most beautiful stories I have read. It was amazing the insight into 9/11 and how through it all, there was bravery and a story of victory.