Susan Page Davis is the author of more than forty published novels. A native of Maine, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim and the two youngest of their six children.
Tell us a little about yourself. How did your writing journey begin?
I was a home schooling mother who worked part time as a newspaper correspondent when I realized I had a novel in my head. That was in 1999, and I have been writing fiction ever since. My first sales were short stories to Woman’s World, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and GRIT. In 2003, my first historical novel, Protecting Amy, was bought by Heartsong Presents. It was published in 2004, and was soon followed by a suspense series with Harvest House and more historicals, mysteries, romantic suspense, and two children’s books. I quit my day job in 2007 and am now writing four or five books each year.
How long did you write before you sold your first book?
I’d been writing nonfiction as a job for many years, but I had seriously been writing fiction for about four years.
What book(s) are you reading, or have read lately?
Right now it’s Reading the Clues, by Charlotte Carter, mystery #3 in the Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop series. I’ve contracted to write book #14 for this series, so I’m reading the earlier books, which were done by several different authors. I like this series set in Cape Cod. With my New England upbringing, the setting is a natural for me. The mysteries are engaging, and the characters are fun to read about.
Which fictional literary character most inspired/inspires you?
When I start to feel as though my characters are all alike, I go and read something very different from what I usually write. It would be hard to pick just one inspiring character, though. Maybe Horatio Hornblower.
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?
I definitely still get rejections, but usually the blow is softened because my agent gets the word first. He breaks it to me gently.
Tell us a little about your latest release:
My book is A Lady in the Making, part of the Prairie Dreams series.
Millie Evans has changed, choosing to leave rather than join an outlaw gang with her brother. Hoping for a new future, she boards a stagecoach and finds that one of the passengers is David Stone—a man she and her brother once tried to swindle. As she tries to convince David she’s changed, her brother’s gang holds up the stagecoach. Fighting beside David goes a long way to softening his heart, but he’s still not convinced. Someone is trying to keep him from reaching England to claim his inheritance. Is Millie involved? Millie must trust God to show David the truth, but will he see before it’s too late?
What inspired you to choose the setting for your novel?
For A Lady in the Making, it was an outgrowth of the series. In book 1, the main characters go from England to America and west to Oregon. In book 2, they stay in Oregon. In book 3, they head from Oregon back east and then to England. (Of course, these are not the same ones who made the reverse trip in book 1.)
What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?
Although I used to live in Oregon and have done a lot of research on its history, I had to do quite a lot, just to get David and Millie out of Oregon. The time period (1857) is early for big, well-organized stagecoach lines, so I had to figure out how they would get from The Dalles, Oregon, to St. Louis, Missouri. It was doable, but things like Indian unrest in Idaho and troubled relations with the Mormons in Salt Lake City made it challenging. Once they crossed the Mississippi, they could hop a train, but they were a few years too early for the Transcontinental Railroad.
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
Right now I’m doing a couple of mysteries for Guideposts Publishing. I enjoy writing contemporary mysteries between my historical books—the variety keeps me from getting stale.
Where can readers connect with you?