There are gifted teachers, who are truly passionate about their subjects and students. They instruct, encourage, and mentor.
At Converse there are many wonderful professors, but for me there is one teacher, who is exceptional. She is my mentor, Susan Tekulve. And I am ecstatic that she has won the SC First Novel prize to be published by Hub City next May.
I am so looking forward to reading The Stranger Room. This is a project she has worked on for quite a while. She is such a lovely writer. Her detailed scenes transport you to the places she has written about.
In my first class with her, I resisted changes she wanted me to make to a short story. After cutting the scene she didn't feel was working. I read the piece aloud, but as I got to the spot where I cut the scene, I realized the pace picked up, the tension was building, and the story was better. What I cut was a good scene, but it wasn't right for that story.
I'm also a big summarizer. My story endings were always lacking because of the summary at the end. Once she marked through the last couple of paragraphs of a story and after reading it again, I realized she was right. Her primary goal is to make her students better writers. I am so thankful to have her for a professor and mentor.