The SURVIVOR Project

Read the true stories of sexual assault and abuse survivors, paired with their portraits. As told by the survivors and transcribed by Arnold, survivors take a stand to voice what they have gone through in hopes of others never having to go through it themselves.

Susan Arnold presents her second published work, The SURVIVOR Project.

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Interview with The Clarkston News

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Six years ago Susan Arnold began writing her first novel Blue Vigilante which she just self-published.
Arnold, a 2015 graduate of Clarkston High School, explained the series began in her eighth grade English class at the junior high school.
Her teacher, Robert Albee, gave the class a short story assignment.
“As we were writing, I struggled keeping the short story short,” Arnold said. “Mr. Albee, after grading the assignment, told me that he could see there was so much more potential to the story. I just kept writing and writing and turned the short story into a four-novel-long series. The writing journey was crazy.”
During the writing journey, Arnold takes readers into the world of Marybeth, also known as “Bat.”
In Blue Vigilante, Marybeth chooses to join the most feared gang in America, Black Bullet, in a rash revenge-fueled decision, Arnold explained.
During her initiation, she proves herself to be an amazing fighter, the best the gang has ever seen. She quickly works her way up the ranks to third in command.
When she witnesses a ruthless murder during a gang fight she is faced with a moral choice, leading to the decision to quit fighting for Black Bullet. But making the decision isn’t as easy as she thinks.
“As third in command, she knows too much to simply stop fighting and she isn’t old enough to drop out of the gang, so the leader, Trigger, decides the only way to solve the problem is to kill her,” Arnold explained.
Arnold finished the first book only a few months ago and mixed in writing with being a full-time student, learning how to drive, working a part-time job and that was before she graduated from Clarkston and went on to Northern Michigan University.
“Not to mention that I matured and that changed my writing voice,” Arnold added. “Though I wish that I could have published Blue Vigilante sooner, I’m glad I didn’t. If I had published the book as a 13- or 14-year-old, the pace and tone of the book would not match the rest of the series.”
She added writing the book wasn’t the hardest part or publishing – it was editing.
“It’s a constant back and forth battle between writing and then polishing, cutting and rewriting. I’ve edited and reread BV so much, that I practically know it by heart,” she said.
Arnold enjoys Blue Vigilante because it’s the first book and series she wrote and a project she continued working on.
“I have a stack of written works I started but never finished,” she explained. “Blue Vigilante captured my imagination enough to make me stick to it.Also, I think entire idea of the plot is something that hasn’t ever really been explored before, which makes it very interesting.”
The target audience for Blue Vigilante is young adults, but Arnold added anybody would enjoy reading it.
“As long as they’re mature enough to read it,” she said. “This book involves a gang, which means violence, drinking and drugs. I wouldn’t recommend the book for kids under 12.”
Arnold is attending Northern Michigan University and pursuing a master’s degree both in English Writing and Photography.
Blue Vigilante is available online.
~Staff Writer Wendi Reardon