Susan VanHecke is an author of biographies, memoirs, and history for children and adults. Her books for young people include the teen war memoir Rock 'N' Roll Soldier (HarperCollins, 2009), www.RockNRollSoldierAMemoir.com, written with Vietnam veteran Dean Ellis Kohler, foreword by Graham Nash; the nonfiction for middle-graders Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers (Boyds Mills Press, 2011), www.RagginJazzinRockin.com; the easy-reading picture book An Apple Pie For Dinner (Marshall Cavendish, 2009), www.AnApplePieForDinner.com; and the forthcoming picture book about the American Civil War, Under the Freedom Tree (Charlesbridge, 2014), www.UndertheFreedomTree.com.
Susan's books for adults include Race With The Devil: Gene Vincent's Life In The Fast Lane (St. Martin's Press, 2000), adapted into an award-winning screenplay; Three Steps To Heaven: The Eddie Cochran Story (Hal Leonard, 2003),www.ThreeStepsToHeaven.net, with Bobby Cochran; and Roadwork: Rock And Roll Turned Inside Out (Hal Leonard, 2007)/Raising Hell On The Rock 'N' Roll Highway (Omnibus UK, 2009), with rock photographer Tom Wright, foreword by Pete Townshend of the Who. Of Roadwork, Barnes & Noble Booksellers CEO Steve Riggio said it's "probably the best book on rock & roll ever published."
Susan's writing has also appeared in numerous publications, including Old House Journal, Spin, Creem, Goldmine, Kerrang, and Reflex magazines and the Washington Post. For fifteen years, she was an arts and entertainment reporter for the Virginian Pilot, the major daily newspaper of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Susan is the children's market columnist at Authorlink.com, one of the largest and longest-running online communities for the publishing industry.
Susan holds a BFA degree in film and television production from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and has worked in the fields of publicity, promotion, and advertising. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Susan's awards include a research grant in 2007 from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for her historical fiction work-in-progress, The Girl in the Box; second place in the Nashville Screenwriters Association Awards, 2006, for a screenplay adaptation of her Gene Vincent biography Race With The Devil, screenplay by Adam Spellicy; a 2010 Cooperative Children's Book Center pick for Best Biography/Autobiography and 2009 CYBIL Award and 2011 South Carolina Book Award nominations for Best YA/MG Nonfiction for Rock 'N' Roll Soldier; 2012 American Library Association Notable Children's Book and 2011 CYBIL Award nomination for Best YA/MG Nonfiction for Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin'; and a pair of Virginia Literary Award nominations, for Race With The Devil and Colonial Place and Riverview: 100 Years of History.