An interview with Susan G Mathis

Hey friends,

Several of you wanted a deeper look into me as an author. Why? Beats me. But since you asked, here it is. Enjoy!

Smiles, Susan

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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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Meet Andrea Boeshaar

Andrea’s publishing career began in 1994 when her first novel was released by Heartsong Presents book club (Barbour Publishing). In 2007, Andrea earned her certification in Christian life coaching and she’ll soon earn her bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

Meanwhile, Andrea continues to write. Her latest releases include: Give Me Thine Heart and Love’s Guiding Light (Steeple View Publishing). In 2019, the long-awaited third installment in her Shenandoah Valley Saga will release.

Tell us about your newest book.

My latest release is Love’s Guiding Light. It is a historical romance about a young woman fearing the loss of her home at the North Point Light and the men in her life who attempt to help her—but only one is successful.

The story is set here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is centered around the North Point Lighthouse. I grew up not far from the lighthouse which fell into disrepair by the time I set out to research it back in 1999. At the time the Coast Guard owned it and I wasn’t allowed inside the cottage or tower for fear it might be unsafe. Now, however, it’s owned by a private entity who has fixed and refurbished the North Point Light and visitors are welcome.

What genre do you focus on and why?

My work is more-or-less Christian historical romance. Some books contain more romance than others and some are even lighter on Christianity than others—mostly because of publishers’ requirements. Now that I’m a hybrid author, however, and one who is concentrating on the Indie side of hybrid, I can enjoy writing the stories God puts on my heart. I’m not beholden to a publisher’s guidelines, and it’s quite freeing. It almost feels like the way Christian romance / fiction used to be in the 1990s.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I write because I can’t NOT write. Oh, I take breaks, but sooner or later, I’m drawn back to my pen and journal (to write devotionals) or the computer keyboard. I suppose it’s the same reply a musician might give if asked a similar question. He cannot stop making music like he cannot willfully stop his heart from beating. So it is with me and writing.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

My main character’s names are Amanda and Ezra. For him, I wanted a less-common, biblical name and for her, I wanted a name that brought a strong yet naïve young lady to mind—I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. Quite the opposite as you’ll see that Amanda in Love’s Guiding Light is quite a force to be reckoned with.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I like to write early in the morning—sometimes before it’s even daylight. I don’t shower or get dressed, I write while wearing my jammies. I usually get a couple of hours in before getting ready for my day job. Unfortunately, I’m unable to write for a living.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

Being an author is hard work. Period. Why? Because authors aren’t paid by the hour for what they do. In fact, sometimes they are not paid at all.

Before going Indie, I fretted over making back my advances from my publishers and worried about disappointing my editors. I think many times my fear got in the way of good writing. Now that I can impose my own deadlines and my company is publishing my stories, I feel freer because no one is investing in me—except me. I also have a very good critique partner and editor, both are distinguished in the publishing world. I don’t want readers to conclude that going Indie means my work gets published unchecked. It does not. There are still rewrites and revisions to deal with—and even then, having to pay my editor, a formatter, a cover creator, an author may not see a single monetary reward. And that’s just the beginning investment. Next comes the advertising.

Yes, there is much to consider as an author. I like to say that typing “The End” on a manuscript really means it’s just the beginning.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

The best part of being an author is getting that email or handwritten letter from a reader who says my story changed her life somehow. The readers who contact me range in age from 12 to 94 and it makes my day when an email from a reader pops into my inbox. That’s the reason I write. I write for my readers. I write to show faith in Christ in action so readers’ faith might be strengthened somehow.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my family. I have a husband of 40 years who still loves me; I have three grown sons who each has his Master’s Degree. I have a wonderful daughter-in-law and 5 precious grandchildren. They are my pride and joy.

What is your favorite pastime?

I enjoy family get-togethers which, now that the grandkids are getting older and busier the get-togethers are, unfortunately, few and far between. I also enjoy Civil War Re-enactments. I LOVE Christmastime. I love the baking, the shopping and buying gifts for others. It’s September as I write this, and I was just thinking this morning that I should wrap all the gifts I have already purchased so little eyes don’t spy them in my closet. They know where Grammy keeps them.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Yes, I’ve written quite a few books. Readers can find them on my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Boeshaar/e/B001JPCEJK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

What are you working on now?

I’m writing the third installation of my Shenandoah Valley Saga. This book is called There Is A Season. I anticipate the release date to be April 2019.

Website:  https://andreaboeshaar.com/

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/Loves-Guiding-Light-Andrea-Boeshaar-ebook/dp/B07F6JD59C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536609351&sr=8-1&keywords=love%27s+guiding+light

Social media links:

Twitter: @AndreaBoeshaar

Facebook: @Andrea.Boeshaar

 

 

 

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Meet author Joan Campbell

Joan Campbell is the author of Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus and a contributing writer for Disciplines (The Upper Room) and Closer to God (SU). Fiction is Joan’s first love and her Poison Tree Path Chronicles is an intriguing, fantasy adventure with an underlying message of grace. Joan is a workshop facilitator for MAI, a ministry which trains and mentors Christian writers across the world. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Tell us about your newest book.

Guardian of Ajalon is the final book in the Poison Tree Path Chronicles trilogy. In Chains of Gwyndorr (book 1) Shara discovers two objects—a powerful rock that gives dreams of the past and future and an ancient book written in a forbidden script. The consequences of Shara’s choice to use the magical rock unfold in Heirs of Tirragyl (book 2) whereas in Guardian of Ajalon (book 3) she is vividly drawn into the ancient book’s story. Here she discovers her true identity and the love she has longed for her whole life.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I love writing fantasy because it allows me the freedom to explore my Christian faith in imaginative ways. Also, I don’t have to do too much research because I create the world my characters inhabit.

Why do you write? What drives you?

When I’m not writing I feel miserable. Writing allows me to escape my somewhat predictable life and to process my thoughts, impressions and emotions. Once I’ve started writing a story, I carry on with it because I need to know what happens next. I know that sound’s crazy but my characters have a way of taking over and derailing my plot lines.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

In the morning I spend time with God because when I’m not in a good place spiritually and emotionally, I struggle to write. I usually only start writing at about 4 pm and then I’ll write about 750 words. I’m not a particularly fast writer but with consistency the word count adds up.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

Looking for a publisher is an emotional rollercoaster ride and it’s difficult to keep believing in yourself and your work when the rejections slips roll in.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

I love it when someone tells me one of my books touched them. Just today I received an email from an early reviewer of Guardian of Ajalon and she wrote, “Success and words fail me to tell you how much I loved it!  How you wove His story into the story so made me think of the Chronicles of Narnia!” When you read something like that you are walking on air for a few days.

What are you most proud of?

Hearing that Chains of Gwyndorr won the 2017 Illumination Award was a great moment.

What is your favorite pastime?

I love travelling and exploring, particularly in South Africa which is a beautiful and varied country. I never grow tired of our wildlife, coastline, rugged mountains and our warm and welcoming people.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

I have a book of short stories, reflections, prayers and art called Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus. The short stories are written from the perspective of individuals who encountered Jesus in the gospels.

What are you working on now?

Another fantasy trilogy. The first book is called The Crown Vendetta and I’ve just completed the first draft.

Website: www.joancampbell.co.za

Link to book:

Chains of Gwyndorr

Heirs of Tirragyl

Guardian of Ajalon

Encounters: Life Changing Moments with Jesus

Social media links:

Author Facebook Page

Twitter

Goodreads

 

 

 

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Meet Cindy Ervin Huff

Cindy Ervin Huff, a multi-published writer and winner of 2014 Editor’s Choice and 2017 Maxwell Awards for her first novel Secrets and Charades. She has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. A member of ACFW and founding member of Word Weavers, Aurora, Illinois. Check out her blog Jubilee Writer www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com or visit with her on social media.

Tell us about your newest book.

In my newest novel, New Duet, Isabella Wilson lost her identity as an artist when she married Music Pastor Ron Marklin. Verbal abuse and manipulation suffocated all her creativity and placed a strangle hold on her faith. Her husband’s sudden death during a church service poured guilt on her heart. Seeking penance, she agrees to live with her irrational mother-in-law. When her self-esteem reaches an all-time low, she discovers the truth behind Ron’s death and finds the strength to relocate to her sister’s home in Illinois. There she hopes to find her pre-Ron self and maybe her artist muse.

Wounded Warrior Dan Sweeney puts all his effort in appearing normal. Which isn’t easy when his prosthetic leg and missing fingers set him apart. His PTSD and panic attacks are kept at bay by his service dog, Brutus. Rebuilding his life as a civilian is harder than anything he encountered in the army. Isabella finds herself drawn to Dan which both scares and excites her. Until she can stand alone once more, she isn’t ready to stand with Dan. The military has made Dan a patient man. He senses the connection between them. Isabella’s vacillating response to his overtures both frustrates and encourages him. He will do whatever it takes to win the heart of this fragile woman.

What genre do you focus on and why?

I love historical romance and contemporary romance with more than boy meets girl substance. My stories have more going on before the characters reach their happily-ever-after. Things readers can apply to their own lives. Hope in hard times.

Why do you write?

As long as I can recall I’ve made up stories in my head. I’d talked out my imaginary scenarios in the shower and as I drifted off to sleep at night. It wasn’t until I became a Christian I felt God calling me to write. I wrote everything from skits to radio dramas to newspaper columns and children’s stories. I didn’t start writing novels until I was 50. That was awhile ago.

What drives you?

Now that I know God is in the character’s creation in my head, I freely release them on the page. I can’t not write.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

My heroine is Isabella Wilson and my hero is Dan Sweeney. Both characters “told” me their names. Isabella is Hispanic, adopted by a white family who has other international children. Dan is a wounded warrior.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

Oh, wow. Interesting question. I have my eldest son’s family living with me. He did his stent in the Army, and he and his wife went back to college. My three darling granddaughters live with us too. So, there’s lots of school preparation and after school homework. On top of that, my daughter-in-law’s father also lives with us. They are Filipino, and he had lived with them in Germany. Almost daily, we dog sit my eldest daughter’s aging dachshund. I work a part-time job and am responsible for my elderly mother in assisted living. On any given day my perfectly laid out schedule gets side-tracked. It seems the more writing commitments I have (presently I have four), the more my schedule gets wonky. But that’s life. Next year we will finally be empty-nesters, the chaos will probably take on other forms.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Believing in myself. There is always someone I feel is a better wordsmith. And before I was published, there were the naysayers. Now that I have book two coming out and other books in the pipeline toward publication, I still fight that unworthy feeling. Seeking the Lord always brings me back to trusting him for the words, the right critiques and editors to help shape those words, and the connections He wants me to have for publication.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

Creating stories. I get to talk to people in my head without anyone thinking I’m crazy. And share God’s truth without hitting people over the head with Scripture.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

That question always draws a blank. But my most recent WIP led me to interview a Chinese college student about her culture. During the interview, she asked if she could ask me a personal question. She wanted to know why I looked so young on my FB page. (That’s my author headshot.) She went on and on about how she thought I was in my forties. I smiled and said, “it’s touched up.”

What are you most proud of?

Fulfilling my dream of getting a novel not only written but published. Secrets & Charades was rejected twenty times and took twelve years and lots of rewrites to receive a contract. New Duets only had a few rejections.

What is your favorite pastime?

Reading and playing games with my family. I have five children and when we all get together it’s game night. I also love walking with my hubby when the weather is nice.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Secrets & Charades is my historical romance.

What are you working on now?

It’ll be in a historical romance novella collection slated to release in 2019. It will be interesting to only write 20,000 words when I’m use to 80,000. I have completed the sequel to Secrets & Charades, but it is not contracted yet and the third book in the series is underway.

Website: www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com

Social media links:

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016144/

Facebook Author page:   https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/

Twitter: twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

Facebook:www.facebook.com/cindy.e.huff.

 

 

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Meet author Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, and author. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as an assistant editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He is the author of six books and has been published in numerous publications.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Although I’ve had a number of articles and devotions published in a variety of publications, my latest published book is Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). This was a follow up to Grits, Grace, and God (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). Since I’ve lived in the South my entire life, these titles were an attempt to put a Southern flare on the devotions.

What genre do you focus on and why?

My genre is religious nonfiction, and specifically, devotions. Having been a pastor for most of my working career, these come easier for me. I need a daily pickup, and devotions from others give me encouragement for the day. I write devotions, hoping mine will do the same for others.

Why do you write? What drives you?

I played around with writing a little during college when my English professor forced the class to keep a journal. Initially, I hated writing in it every day, but as time progressed, I enjoyed it more and more. I began writing devotions, and, eventually, began to think about having a number of those devotions put together in a book. As readers commented on how the words helped them, I became even more determined to pursue the gift of writing that God gave me.

What does a day in your writing world look like?

I am a five o’clock a.m. writer, with the exception of the summer. Since I am a school teacher, my summers are free. During those months, I am a six o’clock a.m. writer. But my thoughts are already formulated before I write. As all writers should, I keep a pad with me at all times and jot down writing ideas. The night before, I think seriously about what I’ll write the next morning. With an outline in hand, my writing the next morning takes less time from my already busy morning schedule. My goal is to write 400 words per day, with the exception of the weekends. I take Saturday and Sunday off to refresh and regroup.

What is the hardest part of being an author? Why?

Rejection. Although my writing credits are numerous, I’m sure my rejections letters or emails would be longer if I had kept them—which I didn’t. Not taking the rejection personally was the hardest thing for me to learn, regardless of editors telling me not to. It wasn’t until I had a few acceptances under my belt that the rejections became less painful. When I became an editor, they became even less painful. I began to understand that the rejection likely wasn’t about me but about an editor having to choose among hundreds of manuscripts, articles, or devotions that were sent to them. I also began to trust God more to open the doors he had in mind for me.

What’s the best part of your author’s life? Why?

I suppose there is no feeling like the feeling an author gets when they see their name in print. Getting paid a little helps, too. But the best part is seeing how God uses what I write. I’ll never know the full scope of it, but comments from readers help.

What is the craziest thing you’ve experienced as an author?

I suppose the craziest thing that has happened is also the most ironic thing. My first attempt at having a devotion published was with Christian Devotions. At that time, the editor, Cindy Sproles, worked with individual authors to help them improve their writing skills. She returned my devotion with kind words and numerous red marks. I was devastated. But she didn’t reject it. After several revisions, she finally told me it was ready. Today, nine years later, I’m the Managing Editor for this same website, doing for other authors what she did for me.

What are you most proud of?

As a Christian, I’m proud that God chose to adopt me into his family. As a husband, father, and grandfather, I’m proud of the wife, children, and grandchildren who support me. As a writer, I’m proud of the many who have and continue to support me in my writing journey. As an editor, I’m proud of two special editor friends who took a chance on me and let me wet my feet in the editing world.

What is your favorite pastime?

My favorite pastime is doing what I once hated: reading. I enjoy reading devotions, theological books, Christian living books, historical fiction, and yes, some of those sappy romance novels where everything turns out just as the reader wants it to.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Prior to Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church, I had the following books published: Grits and Grace and God (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning,Morning Serenity, Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books), and Authentic Christianity (Smashwords).

What are you working on now?

I am currently working with the publisher at Ambassador International, hoping this will result in a contract for another devotional book.

Website: http://www.lovelinesfromgod.com

Links to book:

https://www.amazon.com/Grits-Gumbo-Going-Church-Martin/dp/1941103847

Social media links:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/linesfromgod

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martin-wiles-5a55b14a

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

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/103365483951277333062

 

 

 

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