Susan G. Mather shares her transition to writing Historical Fiction

Susan Mathis joins me today to talk about her latest release and how her journey shifted from writing non-fiction to writing Historical Fiction.

Thank you for joining us. Susan, you’ve had a long career in writing. Tell us how your journey shifted to writing novels.

I can’t remember not writing. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path.

 

Before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of 12 Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction, co-authored with my husband, Dale. I also authored two picture books and am published in various book compilations including three Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. 

 

I swore I’d never write fiction, but never say never! My hubby and I went to a book talk/signing, and after we left, I jokingly said, “I could write a story about a quilt!” I then proceeded to tell him the entire story, and he said, “Well, write it!” Thus began my journey of writing historical fiction.

 

 What is your most difficult writing obstacle transitioning from non-fiction to Historical fiction?

Transitioning from writing nonfiction to historical fiction was a huge leap but a wonderful discovery in finding my sweet spot. I studied fiction writing for about two years before launching out in this wonderful journey. I read books about the craft, went to writing conferences, and learned from mentors, crit groups, and more, and I’m thrilled to dedicate the rest of my writing career to this genre. Now I’ll have five published historical fiction books on the market and am working on another for the end of the year.

 

What is your latest published project, Devyn’s Dilemma?

 

It’s 1910, in the Thousand Islands, New York. Others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, but to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.

Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her.

Why did you choose this time and setting for the second in your Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma?

 

I grew up just twenty minutes from the Thousand Islands. In fact, my husband and I visit the Thousand Islands region in upstate NY every summer. It’s a beautiful, largely unknown, piece of the world where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. There are nearly 1800 islands there, including the largest, Wolfe Island, which is in Ontario, Canada.

 

I chose the Gilded Age because that’s when the playground of the rich and famous took off…1872 until about 1910.

The Bournes were one of the Gilded Age titan families from New York city whose “hunting lodge” called The Towers was built on Dark Island. Intrigue, mystery, and beauty surround this Thousand Islands Gilded Age story.

 

All summer long, tourists enjoy cruising around the Thousand Islands, passing by Pullman Island, and hearing the stories of yesteryear. As a historic landmark, Pullman Island is invaluable, and so are the stories that go with it.

 

What kind of research did you have to do?

 

Ah, how I love research, and I love to be accurate. Besides combing through volumes of information, there’s nothing like being there, on the island. The owner of the island has had us over to visit the island twice now. He’s toured us around and let us roam at will to get the “feel” of being there. My sweet hubby took hundreds of photos, which make it really nice to jog my memory as I write.

 

I’m also super blessed because my historical editor is the president of the Thousand Islands Historical Association and has written several nonfiction books about the island. She’s awesome and has gone through each of my manuscripts with a fine-tooth comb. When I mistakenly have my character take a left instead of a right to get to the kitchen, she faithfully corrects me.

 

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If you could go back in time where would you go?

I’d love to meet my great-great-grandmother, Margaret, and hear what she thinks of her story, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy.

 

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

I enjoy reading everything from children’s picture books to nonfiction to contemporary and historical fiction. But if I had to choose, I’d settle in with Christian historical romance and that’s what I’m writing from now on. Smiles.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

My dining room table overlooking the Rocky Mountain Front Range, Pikes Peak, and the Air Force Academy.

 

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

 

Susan is also a published author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her wonderful husband, Dale, and relishes each time she gets to see or Skype with her four granddaughters.

 

Lighthouse Publishing: https://shoplpc.com/devyns-dilemma

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Devyns-Dilemma-Thousand-Islands-Gilded/dp/1645262731

Website: www.SusanGMathis.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanGMathis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susangmathis

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susangmathisaut

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6044608.Susan_G_Mathis

 

A Peek into the Writing life of Author Susan G. Mathis

Susan G. Mathis is my guest today. Her journey from journalist writing to historical fiction is an encouragement to all writers that there is a season for everything. And she has had many seasons. Welcome Susan, let’s get started with one of my favorite question.

SusanGMathis pro(1)

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I can’t remember not writing. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path.

Before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of 12 Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction, co-authored with my husband, Dale. I also authored two picture books and am published in various book compilations including five Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. 

I swore I’d never write fiction, but never say never! My hubby and I went to a book talk/signing, and after we left, I jokingly said, “I could write a story about a quilt!” I then proceeded to tell him the entire story, and he said, “Well, write it!” Thus, began my journey of writing historical fiction. I currently have two published historicals, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and Christmas Charity.

I love hearing the diversity of your writing journey. What is your latest published project?

Katelyn’s Choice is the first in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series releases March 15, 2019 with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Katelyn's Choice by Susan G Mathis cover

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

Sounds very interesting. I love the idea of adding actual historical characters to your work.

How do you research for your book?

A few years ago, my husband and I visited Wolfe Island, Pullman Island, and Singer Castle on Dark Island. We met some wonderful people who kept the intriguing Thousand Island history deep in their hearts, and I gleaned all kinds of valuable information and made special friends in the process. My historical editor is the president of the Thousand Islands Historical Association and a Thousand Islands author herself. Seeing and experiencing the area as I wrote made my writing come to life, and my historical editor keeps the history accurate.

I love hearing you have a fact checker for you historical details. This is so important for any writer. Even contemporary genres need those go to people to be sure the descriptions are accuate.

What inspired you to write your book?

I grew up in the Thousand Islands and there are so many wonderful stories to tell. The Thousand Islands Gilded Age is full of wonderful islands and characters like George Pullman, Frederick Bourne, and hundred of famous people like J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt and others. So, I aim to tell at least some of them.

Sounds so interesting. I’ve read about some of these historical celebrities so it will be interesting to visit them in the pages of your books.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Jeremiah 29: 11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Quite an inspirational verse for writers. Thanks for sharing.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My husband, Dale, is so supportive, loving, and patient. He encourages me, puts up with me spending hours on the computer, and listens to all my crazy creative thoughts. He’s a saint!

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write at my kitchen table overlooking the beautiful Rocky Mountain Front Range. I usually have a scented candle and cup of tea keeping me company.

Sounds wonderful, I’m envious of your view.

Tell us about your next project.

Book two of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series comes to life in Devyn’s Dilemma. It’ll release in April 2020. Here’s the summary of the story: Twenty-year-old Devyn McKenna is nervous about working on Dark Island in the imposing Castle called the Towers, a 28-room structure complete with dungeons, underground passageways, and castle secrets. Devyn struggles to find the self-confidence she needs to carry out her duties as a housemaid in the summer home of the wealthy president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Frederick Bourne. As she serves the likes of Brig. Gen. Cornelius Vanderbuilt III and others, her curiosity for learning grows. But when she is accused of stealing his plans for expanding the NYC subway and learns her brother ‘borrowed’ the plans and the man she loves believes she was the culprit, her faith is tested like never before.

Wow! I’m definitely interested. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself and your books with my readers. And readers grab a copy of Katelyn’s Choice and if you have a moment post a review for Susan.

Susan’s bio:

Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in Upstate New York. Katelyn’s Choice, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, and Christmas Charity will transport you to a time and place few have visited. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her husband, Dale, and relishes time with her four adorable granddaughters. Find out more at www.SusanGMathis.com.

Buying links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katelyns-Choice-Susan-G-Mathis/dp/1946016721/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1548078303&sr=1-1

 Barnes & Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130536525?ean=9781946016720

Lighthouse Publishing: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/katelyns-choice

 

Connect with Susan at:

 

Website: www.SusanGMathis.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanGMathis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susangmathis

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susangmathisaut

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6044608.Susan_G_Mathis

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108568340293012416399

 

 

 

 

Katelyn's Choice by Susan G Mathis cover