blackIn September 2017, Bancroft Press will be releasing Elizabeth Leiknes’ “Black Eyed Susan,” an irreverent homage to the Wizard of Oz. In her third novel, Leiknes asks the questions: What would you do if you only had a few months left to live? For Susan Spector, she’s going to go find the rainbow, and possibly her real mother. Along the way, she meets a variety of colorful characters; Toto, the scarecrow, the tin man, and the Cowardly Lion are all included if you look hard enough.

Filled with song references to everything from Cher to Bob Dylan to Celine Dion, “Black-Eyed Susan” tackles the most tragic subject and manages to make it humorous. Leiknes takes her lead character on a madcap journey of fun, romance, and Kermit the Frog. Her protagonist Susan might be dying, but she’s always ready to make a joke. She reminds the reader that even if things are difficult, you should never stop laughing.

Elizabeth Leiknes spent her childhood obsessed with tornadoes, rainbows, and what might be on the other side.

She wrote “Black-Eyed Susan” while listening to the musical stylings of Donna Summer, Bruce Springsteen, and the Willie Nelson album “The Rainbow Connection.”

She has a secret soundtrack running in her head 24-7, and her bucket list includes traveling cross-country using random songs on the radio to guide the way. This would be really cool if she didn’t have a full-time job. And two kids. And a husband. And a mortgage. And horrible map reading skills. Like her protagonist, she can’t decide if she’s dreamer or just plain ambivalent. Or whatever.

Elizabeth is the author of two other published novels, “The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns” and “The Understory.” She teaches middle-school English near Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

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