Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 30 novels in the historical romance, mystery, romantic suspense, and romance genres. Her latest electronic book, Mailbox Mayhem, includes a story originally published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and a companion story. A Maine native, Susan lives in western Kentucky with her editor husband Jim and the two youngest of their six children. Visit Susan at her Website:

Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?
It was a dream, but I didn’t see it as a realistic possibility until I was much older. I also dreamed of running a hotel and owning a horse ranch.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

My first novel was published the year I turned 50. I’d been seriously writing fiction for about five years at that time.

Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?

My standard admonitions are to read extensively and write something every day. But I’m also seeing the increasing importance of networking. Join a writers’ group, whether a local group that actually meets or an online group like American Christian Fiction Writers ( . The benefits of both types are huge.

Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

I usually get up about 6 every morning and see our kids off to school. They are high schoolers, and our son drives them each day. Once they’re off, I start working on my current project. We recently moved from Maine to Kentucky, and it’s been quite an adjustment. Weather is just one thing of many, but I will just say we were used to heavy snowstorms. Down here people don’t know how to deal with snow or drive on it. But t
hey take their tornado warnings very seriously. That was unnerving the first few times, but we’re getting used to it. I think.

Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?

Oh, of course I do! I might think I have the greatest idea since instant pudding, and editors listen and shake their heads. “Not something we’re looking for.” That happens sometimes when I meet with editors at conferences. Other times, my agent submits proposals for me. If it’s an editor I’ve worked with before, he might run a capsulized idea past her. If the editor says no, he gets to take the rejection and then softens it for me. Sometimes he’ll tell me something like, “Hey, Susan, this publisher isn’t interested in that idea, but they really want … (something else)…right now.” I love it when I hear what the editor wants. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing for an author—trying to figure out what the editor want
s. Of course, there are times when my agent calls me with great news: “Hey, Susan, the editor LOVES your idea. Can you work up a full proposal in the next couple of weeks?” I guess the biggest change from my early writing days is that I no longer get those rejection letters in my mailbox.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island is set in 1860, when the Prince of Wales visited Canada and the United States. Here’s the gist of the story:

Prince Edward Island pulls out all the stops to prepare for the visit of Prince Albert Edward (Queen Victoria’s son, later King Edward VII) in 1860. Molly Orland, a farmer’s daughter, is hired as a housemaid at the governor’s mansion, where the prince and his entourage will stay. Peter Stark is sent ahead of the royal party to ensure the arrangements are in order. Though Peter and Molly are attracted to each other, there seems to be no future for them, since Peter must soon leave with his master, the Earl of Washburn, and Molly will lose her job if discovered to be engaging in a flirtation with one of the visitors. However, Molly’s family harbors a secret that connects her family to Washburn’s. Can she and Peter overcome the past and set right a 60-year-old wrong?

If you could only share one line from Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island, which one would you choose and why?

I like it when the man who once pursued Molly says to her in a rather snooty way, “I hardly expected to see you here tonight.”

Molly replies, “Perhaps you should raise your expectations.”

I like that because I personally am not clever and quick with a comeback. I’m so glad my characters don’t have to plod along like me!

Readers often talk a lot about the hero and heroine of a story, but today I’d like to know something about your villain. Does he or she have a redeeming quality? Why or why not?

This story is unusual in that there isn’t one major villain. However, there are several people who make Molly and Peter’s life difficult. The Prince of Wales stands out, and yes, he had many redeeming qualities. Unfortunately he was a bit of a rascal, too. Some readers might also see the Earl of Washburn (Peter’s employer) as a bit of a villain at first. He of all people has reasons for acting the way he does. Then there’s the housekeeper, whom Molly dreads. She’s a very good housekeeper, but nowadays we’d say she ought to work on interpersonal relationships a bit more.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?

I went to PEI for a week and visited as many historic sites as I could. I also spent time at the archives in Charlottetown, and at Province House (known as “the Colonial Building” in my story’s day). It was a wonderful experience, and I loved seeing some of the actual rooms the prince saw in 1860 and reading newspaper accounts about his visit. I also used many Websites and books. One very helpful volume has the daunting title of Royal Spectacle: The 1860 Visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada and the United States.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’ve just finished writing Captive Trail, which is a new venture with a new publisher. Moody Publishing has contracted a six-book series, Texas Trails, written by me and two of my favorite authors, Vickie McDonough and Darlene Franklin. The books all feature members of the (fictional) Morgan family, in different decades. Darlene’s Lone Star Trail will release first, then my Captive Trail in September, followed by Vickie’s The Long Trail Home. Next spring you’ll see Darlene’s A Ranger’s Trail, my Cowgirl Trail, and Vickie’s End of the Trail.

Now I’m working on Lady Anne’s Quest, the second book in my Prairie Dreams series from Barbour. The first book is The Lady’s Maid, releasing in October. In that story, an English lady and her maid go to America to find the lady’s uncle, who doesn’t know he’s now the Earl of Stoneford. The trouble is, Uncle David disappeared into the West. Lady Anne and Elise decide to join a wagon train to Oregon, hoping to find him there.

The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?

Study the writing craft. Writing is work. Become a better writer, and learn what publishers are buying now. You may have a fantastic idea, but if nobody wants it right now, it will be a hard sell.

What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?

Oh, Lisa! I’m not afraid of anything.
Susan is giving away a copy of her book, Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!


  1. Hi Susan. Great interview! I'm so glad you now live close to me. I learn something about writing every time we get together. But watch out for those tornadoes! I've lived in the South all my life, and I'm still not used to them.

    Looking forward to meeting you for lunch next week.

    Sandra Robbins

  2. Ack! I'm jealous that you and Susan get to sit down for lunch together. :-)

    Susan, you have been and continue to be one of my favorite authors (and people)!! Thank you for stopping by The Borrowed Book. Many blessings on you and your work.


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