Today we’re featuring Susan G Mathis on the blog. She has a fascinating reason for writing her latest book that she’d like to share with us.
Susan G Mathis’ Book & Writing Process
Table of Contents
Q: What is the title of your book and what is it about?
A: Mary’s Moment
Summer 1912 Thousand Island Park’s switchboard operator Mary Flynn is christened the community heroine for her quick action that saves dozens of homes from a terrible fire.
Less than a month later, when another disastrous fire rages through the Park, Mary loses her memory as she risks her life in a neighbor’s burning cottage. Will she remember the truth of who she is or be deceived by a treacherous scoundrel?
Widowed fireman George Flannigan is enamored by the brave raven-haired lass and takes every opportunity to connect with Mary. But he has hidden griefs of his own that cause him great heartache. When George can’t stop the destructive Columbian Hotel fire from eradicating more than a hundred businesses and homes, he is distraught.
Yet George’s greater concern is Mary. Will she remember their budding relationship or be forever lost to him?
Publication date: March 17, 2023
Q: What genre is Mary’s Moment?
A: Christian Historical Romance
Q: What inspired you to write your book, and how did you come up with the idea for it?
A: My mother, Mary, inspired this story. When she was a young woman, she spent two summers serving her aunts in the Thousand Islands Park. Every summer she’d take me there for an ice cream at the Guzzle and tell me stories of her time in the Park. So, it was always my desire to write about it.
When I began researching and discovered the tragedy of the three 1912 fires that nearly destroyed the Park, I had my story, especially because my mom nearly lost her father in a barn fire when she was just fourteen.
Q: What scene was the hardest one to write and why?
A: It’s always hard to inflict pain on the characters you’ve grown to love, so having Mary get hurt in the fire and then manipulated by a villain wasn’t easy.
Q: What are some themes and tropes that are included in your book?
A: All eleven of my Thousand Islands’ stories have hope as the central theme. Hope for a better future. Hope for love. Hope for healing. Mary’s Moment also focuses on healing broken hearts, forgiving those who hurt you, and embracing God’s redemption.
Q: Who is the ideal reader for this book?
A: Goodness! I have readers from ages 10 to 100, and not just Christians. Though the majority of my readers are women, men love it too, especially for the history.
Q: What’s the one thing you want readers to take away from reading your book?
A: All my novels are based on a specific place in the Thousand Islands and are the true stories of the owners of that island. So, my plot is generally true. Then I overlay the storyline of the fictional servants to create the story. This makes my stories a bit more challenging, but I love a good challenge.
Q: Plotter or pantser? Share a bit of your writing process.
A: I’m a plotter but listen to my characters when I need to alter the plot. I’ve been teaching writing, editing, or writing most of my life. But before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of twelve Focus on the Family publications.
My first two published books were nonfiction. Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage with an Indonesian and Spanish version, and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness, have helped thousands of couples prepare for marriage.
I’m also the author of two picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure.
Moreover, I’m 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’ve also several hundred magazine and newsletter articles. All that was a great foundation for my writing and publishing present and future.
When I started writing fiction…I was hooked! My imagination has become my playground and the characters my friends. And since I love research, historical fiction is perfect for me. I love the challenge, the freedom, and the fun of creating with the Creator. But…I only tell this to those who love fiction—or they might lock me up as a crazy person. Smiles.
Q: What does a typical writing session for you look like?
A: I generally write on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 6-8 hours. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I research, edit, plan, and do marketing.
Q: What was the most challenging aspect of writing and publishing? How did you (do you plan to) overcome it?
A: Spending so much time on marketing, social media, etc, is challenging. I’d rather just jump into the story world and have fun. But separating writing and the other stuff helps me handle things more efficiently.
Q: Why do you write?
A: I grew up just twenty minutes from the Thousand Islands—the setting for all my stories—in upstate New York. Actually, half of the 1,864 islands are in NY and the other half are in Ontario, Canada. So, I spent every summer and more exploring the beautiful region. I’ve stayed on several of the islands and camped and rented cottages there. So, after I wrote my debut novel about the largest island, Wolfe Island, I was hooked. There are so many fascinating stories to tell.
Now, I take an annual Thousand Islands Book Tour to the islands where I meet with fans, friends, and family. I’ve stayed in Singer Castle, Casa Blanca, and other places that are the settings of my book. I’ve talked with the owners of the islands, local historians, and researched in the Thousand Islands archives.
Writing Advice from Susan G Mathis
Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out?
A: Journal—and keep them. That was never encouraged in my childhood, but I liked to write and never kept my work. My four granddaughters now journal and it’s a fascinating glimpse into their precious lives.
Q: What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received? How has it impacted your life?
A: Never stop learning the craft. I’m always working on improving my work, whether with a craft book, writers’ groups, or writing conferences.
Just for Fun
Q: If you were not a writer, what would you want to be and why?
A: A travel guide. I’ve been to fifty countries and hope to visit several dozen more in the next year.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I can’t pick just one. I have a craft book, a fiction book, and a spiritual book going at one time.
Q: What’s the one question you wish I’d asked and how would you answer it?
A: 5 things fast about Susan G. Mathis that have nothing to do with writing:
- I’ve been to 49 countries.
- Tea is my comfort drink.
- I grew up very Irish, so Irish sayings are in all my books.
- I have an adorable Maltichon named Lucy.
- Water is life-giving to me.
Let’s Connect with Susan G Mathis!
Q: What are you working on next?
A: A Summer at Thousand Island House is coming out on July 25 with Wild Heart Books. It’s part of their Gilded Age series.
About A Summer at Thousand Island House
She came to work with the children, not fall in love.
Part-nanny, part entertainer, Addison Bell has always had an enduring love for children. So what better way to spend her creative energy than to spend the summer nannying at the renowned Thousand Island House on Staple’s Island? As Addi thrives in her work, she attracts the attention of the recreation pavilion’s manager, Liam Donovan, as well as the handsome Navy Officer Lt. Worthington, a lighthouse inspector, hotel patron, and single father of mischievous little Jimmy.
But when Jimmy goes missing, Addi finds both her job and her reputation in danger. How can she calm the churning waters of Liam, Lt. Worthington, and the President, clear her name, and avoid becoming the scorn of the Thousand Islands community?
About Mary’s Moment
Thousand Island Park’s switchboard operator Mary Flynn is christened the community heroine for her quick action that saves dozens of homes from a terrible fire. Less than a month later, when another disastrous fire rages through the Park, Mary loses her memory as she risks her life in a neighbor’s burning cottage. Will she remember the truth of who she is or be deceived by a treacherous scoundrel?
Widowed fireman George Flannigan is enamored by the brave raven-haired lass and takes every opportunity to connect with Mary. But he has hidden griefs of his own that cause him great heartache. When George can’t stop the destructive Columbian Hotel fire from eradicating more than a hundred businesses and homes, he is distraught. Yet George’s greater concern is Mary. Will she remember their budding relationship or be forever lost to him?
About Susan G Mathis
Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty-five times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.
She has ten in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Peyton’s Promise, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, Colleen’s Confession, Rachel’s Reunion, and Mary’s Moment. Her book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and four Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is a Selah Awards finalist.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to enjoy the Thousand Islands.