Novelist | Essayist | Podcaster
Orchestrator of Short Fiction
An "ebullient and engaging story of youthful longing and independence... An enjoyable, starry-eyed coming-of-age tale."
In 1984, punk is rampant. Andy Warhol rules. And 20-year-old art student Jessica is sick of all the excitement going on without her. Hungry for the life she’s convinced is just beyond her fingertips, she sets her sights on an avant-garde study abroad program in London she can’t afford. Meanwhile, hometown boyfriend Drew wants to see other people if he’s not exciting enough to keep her stateside.
Jess and her buddies rent a beat-up apartment, trolling new wave clubs and waitressing double shifts in New Hope, PA, a cool and artsy restaurant town on the river, to scrounge-up tuition money. Then Jess meets Whit, a steamy daredevil guitarist who crawls through her window and makes her head spin like a record. The girls deal with cheating waiters, mystics, a military drag queen buddy, a Svengali bouncer, and the specter of AIDs. Before long, Jess has to decide if the men in her life will leave her as damaged as her cracked-glass mosaic art projects—and whether they’ll stand in the way of her dream semester in New Wave London.
"To hell with the American Dream. I want a reason to kick and scream."
-- Jessica Addentro, waitress, artist, and aspiring multimedia superstar, 1984
in ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Praise for "Once in a Lifetime" - The Novel
Wow. What a read. The characters are rich and in-depth. They pull you through the story and make it an enjoyable ride. The setting brings the ‘80s to life, and reminds the reader love, fun, hopes and dreams are timeless topics no matter what they are dressed in. Suzanne has captured the essence of the timeless struggles of youth and opportunity.
-- The And I Thought Ladies
Award-winning Literary Lifestyle Brand
"Mattaboni’s prose is rich with sharp dialogue, musical references, and painterly details: 'I’m a half-formed mosaic, dancing around in a world full of indecision and New Wave anarchy and the mystery terror of AIDS,' says Jess, at one point ... the author has a talent for enlivening even minor characters with memorable personalities, and she manages to capture the very real magic of small bohemian towns. Overall, it’s as much a nostalgia trip as it is a bildungsroman, but the reader won’t have to have personally lived through the ’80s to appreciate this ebullient and engaging story of youthful longing and independence.
An enjoyable, starry-eyed coming-of-age tale."
A smart and entertaining read, the writing shines with engaging imagery and insights about the nature of creativity ... In Once in a Lifetime, Suzanne Mattaboni again showcases her writing prowess through humorous and quirky prose, following the antics of overly ambitious art student (and wayward, temporary waitress) Jessica Addentro as she and her band of avant-garde roommates navigate the new wave-charged summer of 1984. As she desperately works to kick-start her romantic and artistic life outside the boundaries of her college dorms, she deals with everything from mystical bosses, gritty punk concerts, a drag queen buddy with military training, livid restaurant patrons—and a gorgeous bass guitarist who climbs through her window and makes her head spin like a record. This new romantic tryst makes her feel she’s coming closer to that elusive, exciting life of music, creative potency, and near-fame she’s convinced she’s destined for—or when the dust clears, it could just present another barrier between her and her goals.
... Mattaboni stays true to her own solid feminist roots, considering the piece is being billed as a romantic comedy that’s not all about the guy. It rather keeps the emphasis on a set of core female relationships that make this story stand up and come to life. However imperfect the young women in this novel are, and as much as they falter in trying to push their lives forward, they are staggeringly devoted to supporting one another.
-- Johnny Bigg
Los Angeles Wire magazine
Suzanne is an author, retro podcaster, blogger, essayist, songwriter, and overachiever originally from Long Island, New York. She’s the author of Once In A Lifetime, an '80s-themed piece of feminist women's fiction. She was recently named a "Woman of Influence" by Lehigh Valley Business, and is a member of the Newsweek Expert Forum 2022.
Suzanne's short fiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She won honorable mention in the 2018 Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition for her poem "Most of the Lights," and was a finalist in the 45th Annual New Millennium Awards. She was also a first place winner of Seventeen Magazine's Art and Fiction Contest.
Her work has been featured in "Chicken Soup for the Soul," Seventeen, Newsday, The Huffington Post, GuidePosts.com, Mysterious Ways, Child, Dark Dossier, Motherwell.com, Turtle, Humpty Dumpty's, Six Word Stories, Channillo.com; plus additional anthologies including "Stories Through the Ages" by Living Springs Publishing, "Running Wild Anthology of Stories" by Running Wild Press, and “What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Relationship Like This?” by Crossing Press.