Cushman discusses 'Cherry Bomb' during LWB

(Above) Susan Cushman signs a copy of her book "Cherry Bomb" for Kathy Dyess during Luncheon With Books.
Staff Writer

Susan Cushman discussed her first novel at Luncheon With Books at the Bryan Public Library on Thursday. Her book was published by Dogwood Press.

"We are always glad to have Dogwood Press authors," said Lucille Armstrong, president of Friends of the Library. "Joe Lee is a favorite of ours and we are always pleased to have his authors come and visit with us."

Armstrong said Lee and Cushman donated a copy of "Cherry Bomb" to the Bryan Public Library.

"This is my first time to be in West Point," Cushman said. "Your downtown is so beautiful, the downtown windows decorated for Christmas are wonderful."

Cushman said she had lived in Jackson originally and now lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

"I've been through Eupora, Aberdeen, Starkville, Pontotoc and now West Point courtesy of Joe Lee," Cushman said. "I love going to these events at libraries and meeting new people."

Cushman wrote a book called "Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimers" to help others who are enduring the loss of a loved one to this disease.

"Tangles and Plaques is non-fiction. I hope I can help someone who is facing this," Cushman said. "My mother passed away last year from the disease. My grandmother also had it. So I try very hard to read a lot and keep my brain engaged. I eat right and exercise, too."

Cushman said "Cherry Bomb" was a labor of love. She was abused as a child by her grandfather and two other people while in her 20s.

"I didn't want to make the book about me," Cushman said. "So I decided this book would be a work of fiction. So the main character is Mary Catherine, given the nickname ‘Mare' by her mother.

She grows up in a religious cult, escapes to the streets of Macon, Georgia, where she is a graffiti artist in the early 80s." Cushman read several passages from her book, both to highlight the budding artist’s life on the street and her rescue to the Southern College of Art and Design in Atlanta.

"Some wonderful things do happen to the characters in the book," Cushman said. "It isn't all gloom and doom. There in light and Mare has to travel to find it."

Cushman said the name of the book comes from Mare's artistic tagging while creating graffiti in Macon.

"There was little graffiti in Macon, Georgia, during this time period," Cushman said. "But all of Mare's designs bear the image of a cherry with a black stem and the word bomb underneath."

Cushman said she painted for 10 years, but gave up painting in order to write.

"I can't do both," Cushman said. "When I paint I become very intense. I take my artwork very seriously. So for now, I am concentrating on my writing. I have two more books I plan to start to work on."