Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1961. Although her artist mother bought her daughter her first easel and box of paints when she was five, it was her father’s love of family storytelling that captured their young daughter’s attention.
Gregg Gilmore knew at an early age that she wanted to write but was soon drawn to journalism not fiction. While at the University of Virginia, she wrote for the student paper, The Cavalier Daily, and held an internship at the Nashville Banner. But after graduation, her interests shifted to museum work and she took a secretarial position with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
A year later, she entered graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a Masters of Arts in American Studies. Still drawn to the written word, she asked one of her professors what she should do at this point with her writing. He told her she needed to live life first.
So she did. She married in 1983 and, with her husband, Dan, raised three daughters. She has since made hundreds of cupcakes for bake sales, chaired school book fairs, and taught Vacation Bible School all the while writing for papers including the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor and the Chattanooga News-Free Press. While on staff at the Free Press, Gregg Gilmore wrote a weekly column about parenting in the South.
Her first novel, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, is rooted in summer vacations spent with her paternal grandmother and grandfather, a revival-bred preacher, who after church on Sundays, always took his granddaughters to the Dairy Queen.
Gregg Gilmore currently lives in Nashville.
About the Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen:
It will be available June 9, 2009 in soft cover. It has received rave reviews, has been a best-seller and is currently a 2009 SIBA Book Award nominee.
It’s the early 1970s. The town of Ringgold, Georgia, has a population of 1,923, one traffic light, one Dairy Queen, and one Catherine Grace Cline. The daughter of Ringgold’s third-generation Baptist preacher, Catherine Grace is quick-witted, more than a little stubborn, and dying to escape her small-town life.
Every Saturday afternoon, she sits at the Dairy Queen, eating Dilly Bars and plotting her getaway to Atlanta. And when, with the help of a family friend, the dream becomes a reality, she immediately packs her bags, leaving her family and the boy she loves to claim the life she’s always imagined. But before things have even begun to get off the ground in Atlanta, tragedy brings Catherine Grace back home. As a series of extraordinary events alter her perspective—and sweeping changes come to Ringgold itself—Catherine Grace begins to wonder if her place in the world may actually be, against all odds, right where she began.