Promo Post: Inspired by Susan Schaefer Bernardo @MrsSJDonovan

Posted May 14, 2018 by Lisa Mandina in / 0 Comments

Book info:
Title:  Inspired
Schaefer Bernardo

Genre: MG/YA Fantasy/Mythology
Release Date: May 2018
Publisher:  Inner Flower Child Books


Rocket Malone is not thrilled with the direction her life is taking. Her mom
has just remarried, and they are moving from their hip cottage in Venice Beach
to her stepfather’s home in Hollywood. Her best friend, Gillian, has a new
friend and a new boyfriend, and Rocket feels left behind. When she finds out
that her mother is pregnant with twins, she is furious. 

All of these problems are quickly overshadowed when Rocket discovers that she
is descended from the Greek muses, and is therefore obligated to serve as an
apprentice to the nine mythological sisters. Rocket sees herself as smart but
not creative, and apprenticing to the muses does not come naturally to her. She
tries to help several people, but just cannot find the right person to

Along with the fun, intelligent story about Greek gods, muses, and other
mythological figures, Inspired captures the trials and tribulations of
discovering oneself while dealing with the challenges of middle school. Rocket
does not want her life to change, but she must adapt, learning to share her mom
and her best friend while finding new ways to create her own joy. 

Rocket and her friends have some very serious problems. Rocket’s father committed
suicide; her mother is in the midst of a high-risk pregnancy. Her friend Ryan
lost his sister in a car accident and then was abandoned by his father; the
home he shares with his mother is destroyed in a fire. These issues are
thoughtfully addressed in the story as the adolescents learn not to blame
themselves, to accept what is, and to help one another through the hardest

Inspired is delightful, insightful, and charming as it encourages
kids to face their obstacles and chase their own passions.
Add to

Daydreaming Is In My
Job Description
Last night, I dressed up like a Greek goddess. My friends
and I made sparkly tiaras together. We blew up a giant Pegasus and floated it
in the pool. There was music – lyrical classical soul-stirring music – and party
tunes, too. I set Goddess oracle cards and poetry books inside my giant purple
tie-dyed tent. My table was groaning under the weight of platters of delicious
Greek food – spanakopita and baklava and hummus and tabouleh and dolmades –
yum! There was laughter, and impromptu dancing. Old friendships were
celebrated, and new friendships were ignited.
Why all the excitement? Well, I wanted – needed – to
celebrate INSPIRED, a novel I launched yesterday!
I have been asked…What inspired you to write Inspired?
Well, the short
answer is this: I had a dream about a girl named Rocket who takes a job with
Muses…and I remembered that dream when I woke up.
The long answer
requires tweaking the question a bit, to “what inspired you to KEEP writing
this book
?”  Because this
book took a very, very long time to
finish. That dream came to me in 1994, when I was living in Boston, newly
married, working in teaching and public relations and trying to keep alive my
dream of being a professional writer. I first wrote Inspired as a movie for a screenwriting contest, which I didn’t
win.  I stuck it in a drawer, but the
idea kept dancing at the back of my imagination.  I revised the screenplay a million times. Gave
up on it. Decided it would be better as a novel, and wrote a new first draft. I
wrote many, many more drafts.
Along the way, my life kept happening. We moved. We had
children. I worked. I wived. I volunteered. I wrote a lot of other things:
school newsletters, more screenplays, short stories, journals, grant proposals,
lesson plans, marketing copy, rhyming invitations for my kids ‘s birthday
Then, I stopped writing altogether.  I had my heart broken, you see, and I was
grieving, and I became very, very stuck in a dark, sad place.
Creativity saved me. Friendship saved me. Magical women came
into my life, when I needed them most, and reminded me how much I love to
dance. To sculpt. To paint. To walk along the beach, crying, and write a poem
about it.  I started breathing more
deeply and seeing the world as wonder-full once again. And EVERYTHING began to
inspire me and find its way into my book (even the hard, sad, lonely stuff like
losing someone I loved and feeling lost and unwanted began to inspire my art
and poetry!).
Once I started creating again, more magical things began to happen. I found new love, and my heart
kept healing. Soon after that, an artist-mom-friend and I created and indie
published a children’s picture book about love called Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs to
give to children who were grieving (like mine). A famous actor saw that book
and invited us to collaborate on another picture book to help kids coping with
trauma. That second book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, was
sent ON AN ACTUAL ROCKET to the International Space Station and read
aloud by Astronaut Kate Rubins … And the main character of my novel is NAMED
ROCKET! (it doesn’t get much more magical than that, right? Crazy
synchronicity!). Courtenay and I published a third picture book called The
Big Adventures of Tiny House,
and soon we were jetting around the
country speaking at tiny house festivals and schools and libraries.
Somewhere along the way, just like Rocket in my book…I realized
that I was surrounded by people who loved and cared about me, and I began to
trust my voice, and I realized I was ready to launch my Rocket! I have an amazing dancing friend Kara, who also happens
to be a book editor, so I hired her to be my book “doula” and help me
get Inspired
finally, finally edited and proofread and birthed into the world….where,
hopefully, it will inspire other girls to trust their voices and create more magic in the world.
That’s something to celebrate, don’t you agree? 
In fact, on Mount Helikon, the home of the Greek Muses,
there is always something to
So make yourself a tiara and have a crazy costume party with
your favorite people…write a love song or a tragic opera…paint or sculpt or
invent a gizmo or learn an instrument or travel somewhere cool or explore a
museum or hug a redwood tree or cook up an exotic dish….The possibilities are
infinite! Shoot for the moon – you might land on the Space Station!
Just get INSPIRED…and see where it takes
xoxo Susan Schaefer Bernardo

About the Author:

Hello!  My name is Susan Schaefer Bernardo,
and I’ve been writing poetry and stories since I could hold a
crayon!   I am a big believer in the power of creativity.  The
process of writing poetry or making art allows me to express and understand my
emotions.  Through our imagination, we find ways to move through painful
experiences and transform them into something very beautiful and healing.  

I wrote my first book Sun Kisses, Moon
because I wanted to reassure my kids (and myself!) that we are
always connected to the people we love.  Writing my poem “Tonic Waters”
helped me cope with grief over my mother-in-law’s death.   I was so
honored when “Tonic Waters” was published in an anthology and read aloud at the
2014 World Cancer Day Concert – because it meant my words might console others
experiencing similar pain.  I’m currently finishing my first YA novel for
girls, and I’ve just finished collaborating on a wonderful new book to support
children who have suffered a traumatic event.  

I love to learn just as much as I love to teach,
and I hold a B.A. in English (UCLA), M.A. in English Literature (Yale) and
elementary/secondary teaching credentials (Pepperdine).  I keep my inner
flower child happy and inspired by sculpting, dancing, exploring tide pools,
raising chickens in the city, traveling to cool new places (and attempting to
speak the language, even if it’s just please and thank you), and taking long
nature walks with my sons and our rescue terrier Poppy.  I’m happiest when
I’m barefoot and surrounded by beauty.


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