Recently, I had the honor of attending a PRSA Phoenix media breakfast (you can read my recap here) which was focused on the Valley's top lifestyle media. I was lucky to meet and get to speak with Susan Lanier-Graham after she spoke on the panel.
Susan, a travel and lifestyle writer, is originally from Virginia, then the mountains of Colorado, before moving to Arizona more than 20 years ago. She has her bachelor of science degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland University College and her master of science degree in liberal arts and research from Regis University.
Susan is currently the editor of WanderWithWonder.com and the wine editor at Luxe Beat Magazine. She is also a regular contributor to Travelocity as a “Gnational Gnomad” as well as Green Living AZ, So Scottsdale! magazine, Uptown magazine and AAA Highroads. She also writes for a variety of other print and online publications including Life Refined, AAA Home and Away, Modern Luxury, Montage Magazine, Fairmont.com and many others. She is also a member of Society of American Travel Writers and the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist and belongs to the French Wine Society.
In her free time, Susan enjoys exploring new wines, checking out the local culinary scene, reading, spending time with her husband Bill and her close-knit family that includes a son (who is a local chef), daughter-in-law (who works with Susan at WanderWithWonder.com) and five grandkids ranging in age from 9 months to 10 years.
So, Susan, time to share!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
I have always loved weaving words into stories and when I get a chance to experience the
“wow moments” I see, around the world or across the street, and then share those moments with others, I am happy. It is fulfilling to be able to travel the world and discover how other people live, love and laugh.
This crazy industry has changed so much in the 30-plus years I’ve been a part of it. I sold my first article to Colorado Homes & Lifestyles while I was still in college. I did it the old, traditional way. I had an idea, wrote up a brief letter, typed it on a typewriter, mailed it in an envelope with the requisite SASE (stamped, self-addressed envelope). I thought it was an easy way to make a living when I received a contract in return mail about three weeks later. Over three decades, I’ve seen so many newspapers and magazines come and go. I’ve supplemented my writing with public relations work, hospitality consulting, vacation and event planning, tour guiding, teaching, training and a ton of corporate writing about everything from computer software to website copy. I’ve authored books (more than 70 at last count), written for newspapers and have had hundreds of articles published in a variety of magazines.
When I first started down this crazy road, there was no World Wide Web, Google or social media. No one had ever heard of a blog. A social media campaign? I never would have thought I would do anything like that. Today, I am learning to embrace writing online, negotiating social media campaigns, writing for audiences I could never have anticipated. I work to always keep my skills current. I have taken courses in how to perfect SEO, for example. I constantly look for new ways to get my writing and photography in front of new audiences. I am getting more proficient every day with all of today’s social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest…and even recently had my first Periscope encounter.
I think the most important thing in the media world of 2015/2016 is to be constantly reinventing ourselves. We have to be open-minded and able to adapt. I am excited to experience whatever the next chapter might be in my life. I see WanderWithWonder.com growing and expanding into a major online magazine during 2016. We will have two distinct focuses – one on the local scene and the other on grand adventures both near and far. It is an exciting time to be involved in the media and I am thrilled to be part of the Phoenix media at a time when the food and wine scene has never been better here in my adopted home state.