Contemporary novelist Sue Miller is born this day in Boston.
Miller graduated from Radcliffe College in 1964 and briefly worked as a high school teacher. She later worked as a model, a cocktail waitress, and administered psychological tests to rats in a university lab. She took three different masters’ degrees, in creative writing, teaching English, and early-childhood education. She taught preschool for eight years and married.
When she was 35, she took a creative writing workshop and almost immediately published several short stories. In 1986, she published her first novel, The Good Mother, about a single mother whose ex-husband sues for custody of their child because she’s involved with another man. Critics praised the book’s maturity, grace, and subtlety, and expressed surprise at finding these qualities in a first novel.
Miller has continued to write accomplished novels portraying the modern family, including Family Pictures (1990), about rearing an autistic child; For Love (1993), about a woman who returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death; and While I Was Gone (1999), about a happily married veterinarian who flirts with the idea of an affair when an old lover moves to town. In 2001, she published The World Below and in 2005, Lost in the Forest.