New York Times
Article by Emma Mai Ewing, Special Correspondent to The New York Times, July 27th 1975 transcribed below
“From the time American soldiers gave me chewing gum as a child during World War II, I had wanted to come to America to seek fame, fortune and romance, and I had always wanted to write,” Susan Howatch recalled the other day.

The British born author, whose books sell in the millions and have been published in at least a dozen languages, reflected on her life in her studio, which sits atop the Palisades and affords a sweeping view of the Manhattan skyline.

“I studied law at first, instead of writing,” Mrs. Howatch said, “because I was told I'd never make a living writing.”

She is writing now, and making a, living. 'Cashelmara' Mrs. Howatch's novel about a wealthy and titled English family, hit The New York Times best seller list in May as soon as Fawcett Crest published it in paperback.

Last year, when it was first published by Simon & Schuster, it was on the hardcover best‐seller list for five months. At least 1.5 million copies have been sold in both hardcover and softcover.

It was 'Penmarric' the epic novel spanning three generations in Cornwall (it has sold at least 2 million copies since it was first published by Simon & Schuster in 1971), that catapulted Mrs. Howatch to fame and fortune.

The author found romance soon after arriving in New York 11 years ago with two suitcases, no job and £100, about $240.”

She met Joseph Howatch and was married to him five months later — in August, 1964.

Together with their 4 year old daughter, Antonia, they now live in an eight room, white shingled house in Englewood, which Mrs. Howatch compares with the “middle class suburb south of London where I grew up.”

“Writing about England helps to ease my home sickness, and I have a special fondness for Cornwall, where I spent holidays as a child,” Mrs. Howatch said. “But now I am at work on a saga set in England and America during the twenties and thirties. I hope to complete it by 1976. I usually do four or five drafts and write mysteries between drafts.

“Sometimes, I return to the studio after dinner and work for two or three hours, but I'm not an evening person. I prefer to work in the Morning. When I was finishing ‘Cashelmara’ I was at the studio soon after 6 A.M.”

On a recent afternoon at the studio, Mrs. Howatch, accompanied by Antonia, talked about haw her success had affected her family.

“Actually, ‘Penmarric’ changed our whole way of living,” she declared. “I wanted to write in a room with a view. Now I do, and Joe resigned from his job to devote himself to writing, painting and sculpting. He's a sort of modern Renaissance man—very talented in all kinds of things—while I can only hold a pen.”

“I'm no good at drawing or sewing and I produce only plain food.” Mrs. Howatch added wistfully.

Antonia sketched several colourful crayon drawings resembling butterflies, and then announced with the aplomb of the very young:

“When I grow up, I want most of all to be a mommy like my mommy, but I will also write books like she does.”

Mrs. Howatch began writing when she was only two years older than her daughter.

“I wrote short stories at 6, started a saga along the lines of ‘Penmarric’ at 12, and at 17 began collecting rejection slips,” she recounted. “Everything in my life was going wrong in England' I was working in a law office, but had to write in spite of the rejection slips. I had no romance. My life was dull, and I was deeply discouraged."

“As soon as I came to New York, however, things began to go right. Within a year, my first book. ‘The Dark Shore,’ which I wrote in England, was accepted by the Ace Publishing Corporation. My next five books were also published by Ace. All six romantic suspense novels were later printed in hardcover by Stein & Day, and now Fawcett is reissuing them in paperback.

“But back to how our lives have changed. People said, ‘I suppose you and your husband will buy a larger home,’ but that doesn't interest us. It's a comfortable house. My husband is a rather reserved person, so my success is a bit awkward for him. We both cherish our privacy, but I was surprised that he wants no interviews or photographs at home, where his own superb creative talent is so much in evidence.

“Joe has focused more on writing for the past two or three years. He has had articles published and has finished his first book, a novel. I don't know what it's about. We never read each other until we are in print. Now he's making changes my agent suggested.”

Mrs. Howatch excused herself to get Antonia a bottle of tonic water, her favourite drink.

“My husband is much better with children than I am.” she said. “We share caring for Antonia, but she will be in England most of June, visiting my mother and stepfather. I'll go for her in July. I usually go to England at least once a year, and I also travel abroad for both business and pleasure. Sometimes, Joe goes with me, but he doesn't like to travel as much as I do.

“The three of us do things together, like going to Jungle Habitat or Great Adventure and to the Jersey shore [Beach Haven] or good old Jones Beach. Joe and I go out locally once a week to dinner and the movies, or into New York to the theatre or opera. We both enjoy opera and classical music, and I'm also a country and Western music fan. We have a rather good record collection at the house.”

The couple is now considering renting their home and going to Ireland for two years.

“It's a tax haven for writers,” Mrs. Howatch said. “I'm also interested in Celtic culture, and I'm keen to get back to my roots for a while.”