Page One Podcast

Ep. 25: Susanna Hoffs: This Bird Has Flown

Episode Summary

In Episode 25, we interview ‘80s pop rock icon, Susanna Hoffs, who made a bold and courageous career shift to give us her debut novel, This Bird Has Flown, a sexy, hilarious and heartfelt story about a 33-year-old one-hit-wonder whose luck is about to change. In this intimate and wonderfully open interview, Susanna reveals what it was like to experience the freedom from playing the setlist that made her famous and find her voice as a writer. Not only that, but Susanna is now 64 and literally rocking her third act. It just doesn’t get much better than hearing how a rock star aspires to be a novelist and loves to “get lost in the sentences.” This was one of my favorite conversations with a woman who epitomizes badassery and reinvention, still creating and enjoying the artist's life on whatever stage she commands. I hope you enjoy it.

Episode Notes

Page One, produced and hosted by author Holly Lynn Payne, celebrates the craft that goes into writing the first sentence, first paragraph and first page of your favorite books. The first page is often the most rewritten page of any book because it has to work so hard to do so much—hook the reader. We interview master storytellers on the struggles and stories behind the first page of their books.

About the guest author:

Boasting one of pop's most beloved voices, Susanna Hoffs grew up in L.A. with an ever-present soundtrack of '60s music. She loved to sing and play guitar, going on to study the arts in college. Stirred by punk and new wave, Susanna started her first band with David Roback while at UC, Berkeley. Upon returning to L.A., she placed a want ad which led her to Vicki and Debbi Peterson. In December 1980, they met in the garage of Susanna's parents' home and a band was born. Blending ’60s garage rock, lush harmonies, and jangly guitars, the Bangles became a seminal band of the ’80s with a string of hits from three platinum-selling albums. Over the decades since, the Bangles continued to tour and release LPs. 

In 1991, Susanna issued a pop-heavy solo album, When You're a Boy. Five years later, her eponymous LP brought her closer to her musical roots than she'd been in a long time which was met with critical praise. After working together in the Austin Powers films, Susanna and Matthew Sweet formed Sid 'n Susie, releasing three volumes of their acclaimed Under the Covers series. In 2011, she stole away to the studio for Someday, a retro modern solo set that served as a stylish homage to the '60s pop that she grew up on. She followed that up in short order with two EPs. More recently, Susanna has collaborated with the Zombies, Tom Petty, Chris Martin, Mike Campbell, Jack Antonoff, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, Aimee Mann, Andrew Bird, Jon Brion, Maya Rudolph, and others. Her debut novel, This Bird Has Flown, is published by Little Brown, a division of the Hachette Book Group. She’s a graduate from UC Berkeley with a degree in art and lives in Los Angeles with her husband of three decades and has two sons. You can find her at and follow her on Instagram @susannahoffs.

About the host:

Holly Lynn Payne is an award-winning novelist and writing coach, and the former CEO and founder of Booxby, a startup built to help authors succeed. She is an internationally published author of four historical fiction novels. Her debut, The Virgin's Knot, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers book. She recently finished her first YA crossover novel inspired by her nephew with Down syndrome. She lives in Marin County with her daughter and enjoys mountain biking, surfing and hiking with her dog. To learn more about her books and private writing coaching services, please visit or find her at Instagram and Twitter @hollylynnpayne.

If you have a first page you’d like to submit to the Page One Podcast, please do so here.

As an author and writing coach, I know that the first page of any book has to work so hard to do so much—hook the reader. So I thought to ask your favorite master storytellers how they do their magic to hook YOU. 

After the first few episodes, it occurred to me that maybe someone listening might be curious how their first page sits with an audience, so I’m opening up Page One to any writer who wants to submit the first page of a book they’re currently writing. 

If your page is chosen, you’ll be invited onto the show to read it and get live feedback from one of Page One’s master storytellers. Page One exists to inspire, celebrate and promote the work of both well-known and unknown creative talent.  

You can listen to Page One on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher and all your favorite podcast players. 

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The Page One Podcast is created at the foot of a mountain in Marin County, California, and is a labor of love in service to writers and book lovers. My intention is to inspire, educate and celebrate. Thank you for being a part of my creative community! 

Be well and keep reading.