become a writer? In other words, what made you actually sit down and write something?
I can’t remember not writing. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to fourth through eighth graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and 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 was the former Editor/Editorial Director of twelve 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.
Every writer is eventually asked this question, but where do your ideas come from?
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 hundreds of famous people like J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt, and others. So I aim to tell at least some of them.
Why do you write what you do?
I fell in love with the Thousand Islands as a young girl, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2016 that I felt inspired to write The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series. By then I had completed my debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, a story set partially on the largest island, Wolfe Island, Canada. Christmas Charity is also set in the Thousand Islands.
What is the hardest thing about the creative process of writing?
Time. I have too many ideas for one lifetime.
What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
I’ve gleaned all kinds of valuable information and made special friends in the process of researching and writing my stories. 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.
If you’re a Christian, what are the challenges you believe Christian writers face now and in the future?
The market is so inundated by the good, the bad, and the ugly that it’s hard to find the space and audience.
If you would, please tell us what was the hardest thing about writing your last book? And how long does it typically take you to finish your books?
Both of my novellas took about three months to write. The hardest part was finding the time to get it out of my head and onto my computer. The toughest scenes to write were the abuse scenes. As someone who’s been there, I know how traumatic it is.
Name your three biggest frustrations about the writing business.
The time it takes to do all the marketing, the social media that constantly changes its algorithms, and the challenges of building a platform.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about the creative process?
Everything. I love creating a world and characters that touch the readers’ lives.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
In all my stories, I include an Irish character and tea, since I’m Irish and love tea. But faith, hope, and love are reoccurring themes in my stories.
What are you reading at the moment, and who are a few of your favorite authors and why?
I enjoy reading everything from children’s picture books to nonfiction to contemporary to historical fiction. But if I had to choose, I’d settle in with Christian historical fiction. That’s what I’m writing from now on.
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: 1910, 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.
Tell our readers how they can find you on the Internet.
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 first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, is available now, and book two, Devyn’s Dilemma, will release in April 2020. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are available now. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more information.
Susan has also published two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children's picture books, and stories in a dozen compilations. She has also published hundreds of articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her wonderful husband, and relishes each time she gets to see or Skype with her four granddaughters.