Author M. Sue Bergin
Sue Bergin is a writer and hospice chaplain who lives in Orem, Utah. She drives throughout a five-county area to accompany dying men and women on their final journeys. She earned a bachelor’s degree from BYU, a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a master of fine arts from UCLA in screenwriting. She is a board-certified clinical chaplain through The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy.
Sue writes the Family Focus section for BYU Magazine and has written for many other publications, including the Ensign, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, and Psychology Today. She has been a public relations executive for BYU and has taught writing courses at BYU and the University of Utah.
Her dearest loves include time with family, small dinner parties with friends, rescuing animals, collecting art, and creating things with her hands – from soulful collages to crocheted earrings. She believes with all her heart that there really were gold plates, that the Book of Mormon is the most remarkable book ever written, and that Jesus Christ is our only hope, personally and globally.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You will feel better about yourself, gain skills for coping with perfectionism (almost all of us have a least a little of it in some area!), and feel more joy and peace.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I was totally in love with “A Little Princess.” In the fourth grade, I sat down at my dad’s manual typewriter and adapted the book into a little play, then made my siblings and friends act it out. I still have the manuscript.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Find some really strong glue, smear a lot of it on the chair you use for writing, and sit down.
What is your favorite Quote?
“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me” — from the Saturday Night Live character Stuart Smalley. Those skits skewering 12-step programs always cracked me up. Al Franken wrote them and played the Stuart Smalley part.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
A U.S. Senator. As I wrote in my book, I was a serious child. I now have no desire whatsoever to be a U.S. Senator. Ironically, Al Franken is now a U.S. Senator! You can’t make up this kind of stuff.
It’s so cliché, but chocolate. The darker the better.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
I’m eager to see “Lincoln” but haven’t been able to set aside the two-and-a-half hours just yet. Same goes for “Anna Karenina.” I was haunted by that book as a teen and can’t wait to see how they’ve adapted it for the screen.
You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?
An original Brian Kershisnik painting. His work is so beautiful and so moving. I especially love his paintings that include dogs. If he did commissions (I don’t think he does), I would ask him to paint my beloved dog Rex and make sure he included his signature halo around Rex’s head. Rex died a few years ago, and in my book I tell the story of how he was an important piece in my becoming a recovering perfectionism.
What do you do in your free time?
I love to crochet. I’ve crocheted hundreds of intricate snowflake ornaments over the years and have given most of them as gifts. This year I’ve tried crocheted earrings, and they’re turning out pretty well. I also love to create collages and spend a lot of my free time in my little art studio space in my basement.
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
I watch “Revenge.” It’s so silly and soap-opera-ish, but it pulls you in. It’s not predictable, and it’s so fun to be surprised! That’s rare for TV. One of the leads, Madeleine Stowe is magnificent. I can’t take my eyes off her when she’s on the screen. She’s been a favorite of mine since she starred in “Last of the Mohicans.”
If you could take over the world, would you?
Yes, and then I would turn it over to my parents as co-world dictators.
What’s your biggest challenge as a writer? How did you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it?
Carving out time to write. I work full-time as a hospice chaplain and also do a lot of volunteer work that I am committed to long-term. I’m not a high-energy person, so writing time can be very challenging. I got Am I a Saint Yet? written by cutting my work hours temporarily to 32 a week instead of 40. My employer was understanding, which was a great blessing, and that made a huge difference. I’m revving up to do that again for the next book.
Am I a Saint Yet? Healing the Pain of Perfectionism
We all want to be perfect. But attempting to perfect ourselves instead of relying on the Lord can actually sabotage our spirituality. Discover how to recognize perfectionism in yourself and find relief for your soul in this encouraging book that combines scriptural principles with real-life case studies. Change your thinking and move onto a more authentic and joyful gospel path.
1 copy of Am I a Saint Yet?
Open to US only