About a year ago, I went, in fear and trembling, to my first area writer’s group meeting, which at that time consisted of myself and three other ladies in the Western Kentucky/Western Tennessee area. I mean, two of these ladies were PUBLISHED authors! I mean, they even put their pants on differently, don’t they? Well, it didn’t take long, over Culver’s burgers and ice cream, to find out that published authors are regular folk, and that having a good friend like Susan Page Davis is sometimes the best encouragement an aspiring writer can have!
Susan is the author of thirty-seven published novels. Prairie Dreams is her new series from Barbour Publishing. A Maine native, Susan now lives in Kentucky with her husband, Jim. She’s a past winner of the Carol Award and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest.
Welcome, Susan! What was it that inspired you to become a writer?
I have always made up stories, and I have written them since I learned to write. I’m not sure what got me started. But when it comes to seriously writing fiction and trying to get published as an author, I think I was inspired to try when I realized I had a full-length novel in my head. I wrote the story out and started trying to sell it.
You’ve lived in, and written about, so many places! If you could set a book anywhere in the USA, whether or not you’ve been there or not, where would it be, and why?
Right now, probably in Albuquerque. My father-in-law was born there, and I’d like to see it and learn more about it.
Speaking of places, how does living in my own state of Kentucky compare to other places you’ve lived?
Okay, here’s the scoop. It’s warmer, and it has more heavy rains and tornadoes, fewer blizzards and hurricanes. When it does snow, which isn’t often, nobody knows how to drive in it. Kentucky also looks different from Maine or Oregon or any of those other places. . .It’s got flat roads, for one thing. The birds look almost but not quite right. It has lizards and poisonous snakes. It has more ticks and fewer mosquitoes. It has no moose, but lots of possums. The sun never gets up as early or sets as late as it does in a Maine summer, but that’s understandable since Kentucky is a whole lot closer to the equator. At the grocery store, I can find canned okra and bourbon-flavored baked beans, but I often can’t find molasses or fresh seafood or buttercup squash. They put whipped cream on milkshakes here, which seems a bit “overkill” to me, and gravy on lots and lots of things. And I frequently have to ask someone to repeat what they said, or ask what they mean. But all in all, it’s a pretty cool place.
Hey, I recall trying to get a barbecue sandwich in Indiana – it’s not quite like we have in Western Kentucky, is it? I’m just glad to have you close by!
Now, back to writing –
What author, dead or alive, would you like to mentor you? Why?
Dick Francis. I love his mysteries, and I’d love to be as good at pulling clues together.
You have written historical, suspense, and romance. How do you approach different genres?
They all take a lot of planning and research. Historicals probably take a little more, as I have to check EVERYTHING. The 1857 book I just finished is an example. Yes, they had sleeping berths on some trains then, but Pullman cars came later. So did railroad dining cars. That put a cramp in my characters’ journey. I check words and phrases to be sure they were in use at the time. I look up types of fabrics to be sure they were available and plants to be sure they grew in that area at the time. But contemporaries take research too—the place, the occupations, the weapons—it just never ends. And I love it.
The research angle hit me when I realized I may have placed a stagecoach in an area that might have been served by a railroad! Thank goodness for Internet resources!
So, what’s next for Susan Page Davis fans?
I have four historicals coming out in 2012. The first, in March, is Almost Arizona, which will celebrate 100 years of statehood with an action-filled romance. In April and October, the second and third books of my Prairie Dreams series will release. A lot of people are waiting for Lady Anne’s Quest, to answer some questions about the Stone family and see if Lady Anne finds true love in the Wild West. In the final book, A Lady in the Making, you’ll see what happens to Uncle David, the new earl, as he heads out of Oregon and into danger. Also in April, you’ll see Cowgirl Trail, the next book in the Texas Trails series. It’s a lot of fun.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for Lady Anne – and the Texas Trails series is amazing.
What question would you like to ask our readers?
What book that you’ve read in the last year would you most like to see made into a movie?
Thanks so much for joining us, Susan, and our readers! Remember, leave a comment during our “Authorpalooza,” and you may have a shot at a pack of books, including Susan’s own The Lady’s Maid!
Back-cover of The Lady’s Maid:
An Aristocratic Brit searching for her lost uncle . . .
A German Maid determined to protect her mistress . . .
A disagreeable Scout waiting to see the ladies fail . . .
A Ruffian dogging their every step . . .
And the Prairie that challenges their very survival.
Lady Anne Stone’s uncle is the new Earl of Stoneford. The only problem is, he disappeared into America’s Wild West. With only her personal maid, Elise Finster, as determined chaperone, Anne embarks upon a quest to find David Stone. First stop, St. Louis, where the ladies discover their quarry went farther west five years ago. Resolute in their mission, Anne and Elise join a wagon train to Oregon. But will their prairie-dream adventure turn into a Wild West nightmare?
Scout Eb Bentley, initially skeptical that the women can survive the journey, soon finds himself falling for the determination, charm, and beauty of one lady in particular. Can he keep her alive long enough to win her love?
Or will the ladies succumb to the rigors, ruffians, and rustlers along the trail?