An interview with Susan G Mathis
Several of you wanted a deeper look into me as an author. Why? Beats me. But since you asked, here it is. Enjoy!
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How would you describe your writing to someone who hasn’t read any of your books? I currently have five published books, and I have three more coming out in the next twelve months—one in November—so standby for more.
My debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, hooked me on writing fiction, and I’m excited to turn my attention to writing historical fiction full-time. In fact, I have so much fun with it that just a few weeks ago I wrote 8,667 words in one day—almost three chapters of my newest book!
My journey has been multi-faceted, and I consider my writing as ministry. My first two books are Tyndale published nonfiction premarital books—The ReMarriage Adventure and Countdown for Couples. I also have two published children’s picture books—Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. You can find more information and links right here on my website or on Amazon.
I’m also published in several compilations as well. And as the former Editorial Director at Focus on the Family of 12 unique publications and Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine, I’ve done a lot of writing. 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. It’s been a really fun journey!
What inspired you to write The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy? I swore I’d never write fiction, but never say never! My hubby and I went to Angela Breidenbach’s 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 The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy.
How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb? The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacyis the story of a 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mom who are connected by faith, family, and a quilt.
How did you research or plan your book? My cousins did lots of research on our ancestory, so that was the basis for the 1850s immigrants. But I did extensive research about the Irish potato famine, the history and culture, the customs, and so much more. I also visited Ireland and Wolfe Island, Canada, and my hubby and me event went to Ireland to see where it all began. It was an epic trip!
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book? Any woman who enjoys historical and contemporary fiction would find The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy interesting. The book is full of history, family, faith, and most of all, hope.
Do you relate best to any one of your characters? The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is based on my family story—my great great grandmother, Margaret, and loosely based on my story as well. The hardest part about writing Maggie’s story was not holding tooclosely to my story!
Do you have any photos of the setting of your book? The antique photo on the cover that represents Margaret is my grandmother. I have many, many photos of the setting on my website and Facebook pages.
Tell us about any places your characters visit that you’d encourage readers to visit. Northern Ireland, upstate New York, Wolfe Island, Canada, and Colorado Springs. By the way, all of my novels are set in the beautiful Thousand Islands in upstate New York. If you haven’t been there, you definitely should add it to your bucket list.
How does your personal experience enrich this book?Oh my! It’s all about personal experiences! The historical family, my ancestors, have six children from ages nine months to thirteen years. Can you imagine immigrating on a famine ship with six kids? And how did they feel leaving Ireland and moving to the New World? The contemporary character has her own struggles similar to my past. She’s a single mother who has lots of challenges, especially when her only daughter nearly dies in Africa. Yes, it is two stories of my personal journey in one novel.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book? I’m a Morning Dove, so after working out at the Y, I spend most of my mornings and early afternoons plugging away on my computer, dreaming up a fine story, and creating characters that connect to the reader.
What’s your next project? I actually have three: Christmas Charity comes out November 1 and it’s about Susan, the ten year old in The Fabric of Hope. She’s all grown up now, and Susan Hawkins and Patrick O’Neill find that an arranged marriage is much harder than they think, especially when they emigrate from Wolfe Island, Canada, to Cape Vincent, New York, in 1864, just a week after they marry—with Patrick’s nine-year-old daughter, Lizzy, in tow. Can twenty-three-year-old Susan Hawkins learn to love her forty-nine-year-old husband and find charity for her angry stepdaughter?
In March, the first in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series comes out. Katelyn’s Choice is the story of nineteen-year-old Katelyn Kavanagh who leaves her family’s struggling farm to work on Pullman Island for the famous George Pullman. There she finds herself serving powerful men such as President Ulysses S. Grant, and Generals Sherman and Porter—and falling in love with her best friend’s brother. Katelyn gains popularity with some of her friends by spilling the sensitive high society gossip she’s privy to. But when she overhears a possibly damaging presidential conversation, she knows she can’t tell anyone. She could lose her job—and endanger the president’s 1872 reelection—and jeopardize her relationship with the man of her dreams. Still, the scandalous news just keeps begging to be told…
Next summer, Sara’s Surprise comes out. It’s the story of Sara, Katelyn’s best friend and kitchen maid from Katelyn’s Choice. More to come about this soon.
And now I’m working on the second book in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series. It’s about Singer Castle on Dark Island. Intrigued? I am!
Do you have any writing quirks or quirky habits when you’re on deadline? When I’m writing, I love to sip a cup of tea from a fine china teacup and burn a lovely scented candle. Hey, I’m Irish and I love sensory stimulation. Smiles.
What person has been most beneficial to your writing career? My husband has been my cheerleader, my coach, my confidant, my comforter, and my godsend through all the challenges, changes, and accomplishments.
What’s one unusual fact about you? I grew up very, very Irish. I went to St. Patrick’s church and school. St. Patrick’s Day was my family’s biggest celebration. All that has rubbed off in the pages of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy.
What’s your passion in life? Loving others—my husband, family, friends, and grandkids. But my writing passion is to bring God glory.
Hope you enjoyed that. Stay in touch for more!
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