"Anything you read can influence your work, so I try to read good stuff.""I go straight from thinking about my narrator to being him.""I grew up here and my friends are here. There's nothing wrong with here.""I have no idea why I write. The old standards are: I like to express my feelings, stretch my imagination, earn money.""I like having a private name and a public name. It helps keep things straight.""I was a tomboy and most of my close friends were male.""Movies can't ruin books. They can only ruin movies.""My characters are fictional. I get ideas from real people, sometimes, but my characters always exist only in my head.""Sometimes, I feel like I spent the first part of my life wishing to be a teen-age boy, and the second part condemned to being one.""When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."
Susan Eloise Hinton was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, on July 22, 1948. She first began writing in grade school, inspired by reading, especially books by Shirley Jackson.
While still in her teens, Hinton became a household name as the author of The Outsiders, her first and most popular novel, set in the 1960's. The year she began writing it was in 1965. The book was inspired by two rival gangs at her school, Will Rogers High School, the Greasers and the Socs, and her desire to show sympathy toward the Greasers by writing from their point of view. It was published by Viking Press in 1967, during her freshman year at the University of Tulsa and it became the second-bestselling young adult novel in publishing history, with more than 14 million copies in print and still sells more than 500,000 a year.
Hinton's publisher suggested she use her initials instead of her feminine given names so that the very first male book reviewers would not dismiss the novel because its author was female. After the success of The Outsiders, Hinton chose to continue writing and publishing using her initials, because she did not want to lose what she had made famous, and to allow her to keep her private and public lives separate.
After The Outsiders
Publicity and pressure led to three years of writer's block for the young author. Hinton's boyfriend was tired of her being depressed all the time, and made her write two pages a day. She did so, and completed That Was Then, This Is Now in 1970, the year she graduated from the University of Tulsa with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1970. She married her boyfriend a few months later. That Was Then, This Is Now was published in 1971.
After The Outsiders, her best-known book is Rumble Fish, which was originally published in 1968 as a short story in the University of Tulsa literary journal Nimrod, which was then a literary supplement to the University of Tulsa Alumni Magazine, and later expanded into a novel in 1975. She also wrote Tex (1979) and Taming the Star Runner (1988).
In August 2009, Penguin Books released a special edition of Wuthering Heights for children with an introduction by Hinton.
Awards and honors
In 1989, Hinton was the first recipient of the Margaret Edwards Award, presented by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the ALA. The award recognizes an author whose work depicts the experiences and emotions of teenagers and is widely accepted by young people.
In 1997, Hinton received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.
In 1998, Hinton was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame at the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers of Oklahoma State University.
Film adaptations of The Outsiders (March 1983) and Rumble Fish (October 1983), both directed by Francis Ford Coppola, established the careers of many film stars, such as Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Tom Cruise, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, and Mickey Rourke. Also adapted to film were Tex (1982), directed by Tim Hunter, and That Was Then... This Is Now (1985), directed by Christopher Cain.
Hinton herself acted as a location scout, and she had cameo roles in three of the four films. She plays the nurse in Dally's room for The Outsiders. In Tex, she is one of the teachers. She appears as a prostitute propositioning Rusty James in Rumble Fish.
The only film script adaptation Hinton wrote of her own work was for Rumblefish, which she co-wrote with Coppola.
In 2009, Hinton portrayed the school principal in The Legend of Billy Fail.
Hinton states that she is a private person who is not comfortable talking about her personal life. She has revealed, however, that she enjoys reading (Jane Austen, Mary Renault, F. Scott Fitzgerald), writing, taking classes at the local university, and horseback riding.
She currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband David Inhofe, a software engineer, whom she married in the summer of 1970 after meeting him in her freshman biology class at college. In August 1983, they became parents to Nicolas David Inhofe, who has worked a sound effects recordist on the movie The Meltdown.