Hope you’re all well in this crazy year we find ourselves. Thanks for being such faithful readers of history. I’m blessed to have a chance to chat with you for a bit, friend to friend.
I can’t remember not writing. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have 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 the former Editor/Editorial Director of 12 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!” That began my journey of writing historical fiction.
I grew up just twenty minutes from the Thousand Islands. In fact, I visit the Thousand Islands region in upstate NY every summer. It’s a beautiful, largely unknown piece of the world where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. There are nearly 1800 islands there, including the largest, Wolfe Island, which is in Ontario, Canada.
I chose the Thousand Islands Gilded Age because that’s when the playground of the rich and famous took off…1872 until about 1914. All summer long, tourists enjoy cruising around the Thousand Islands, touring Singer Castle and Boldt Castle, and hearing the stories of yesteryear. As a historic landmark, Casa Blanca is invaluable, and so are the stories that go with it.
And how I love research! I also love to be accurate. Besides combing through volumes of information, there’s nothing like being there on the island. The owners of the islands have had me over to visit their beautiful islands. They’ve toured me around and let me roam at will to get the “feel” of being there. I’ve taken hundreds of photos, which make it really nice to jog my memory as I write.
I’m also super blessed because my historical editor is the president of the Thousand Islands Historical Association and has written several nonfiction books about the island. She’s awesome and has gone through each of my manuscripts with a fine-tooth comb. When I mistakenly have my character take a left instead of a right to get to a room, she faithfully corrects me.
So that’s me in a nutshell. I love history. I love writing. I love the islands. And I love my readers. And now…for the rest of the story. Here’s a bit about my six historical novels and novellas. Hope they’ll bless you!
Book 3 of the Thousand Islands Brides series
It’s the summer of 1912. Reagan Kennedy assumes the position of governess to the Bernheim family’s twin nephews, and her life at Cherry Island’s Casa Blanca becomes frustratingly complicated. Service to a Jewish family when she is a Gentile and tending to eight-year-old, mischievous boys yields challenges galore.
Daniel Lovitz serves as the island’s caretaker and boatman. He tries to help the alluring Reagan make sense of her new world, but she calls into question his own faith background and forces him to face the hurts of his past. Then there’s the jealous lady’s maid who seems intent on wedging herself between them. Can he and Reagan ever find common ground on such a small island?
Check out the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc3W_tu55vE&t=14s
Book 2 of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series
Devyn McKenna is forced to work in the Towers on Dark Island, one of the enchanting Thousand Islands. But when Devyn finds herself in service to the wealthy Frederick Bourne family, her life takes an unexpected turn.
Brice McBride is Mr. Bourne’s valet as well as the occasional tour guide and under butler. Brice tries to help the mysterious Devyn find peace and love in her new world, but she can’t seem to stay out of trouble—especially when she’s accused of stealing Bourne’s money for Vanderbilt’s NYC subway expansion.
Book 2 of the Thousand Islands Brides seriesKatelyn’s best friend, Sara O’Neill, works as an assistant pastry chef at the magnificent Thousand Islands Crossmon Hotel where she meets precocious, seven-year-old Madison and her charming father and hotel manager, Sean Graham. But Jacque LaFleur, the pastry chef Sara works under, makes her dream job a nightmare.
Sean has trouble keeping Madison out of mischief and his mind off Sara. Though he finds Sara captivating, he’s jealous of LaFleur and misreads Sara’s desire to learn from the pastry chef as love. Can Sean learn to trust her and can Sara trust him—and herself to be an instant mother?
Book 1 of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series
Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.
Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.
Book 1 of the Thousand Islands Brides series
Susan Hawkins and Patrick O’Neill find that an arranged marriage is much harder than they think, especially when they emigrate from Wolfe Island, Canada, to Cape Vincent, New York, in 1864, just a week after they marry—with Patrick’s nine-year-old daughter, Lizzy, in tow. Can twenty-three-year-old Susan Hawkins learn to love her forty-nine-year-old husband and find charity for her angry stepdaughter? With Christmas coming, she hopes so.
The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy
An 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mother are connected by faith, family, and a quilt. Will they both find hope for the future? After struggling to accept the changes forced upon her, Margaret Hawkins and her family take a perilous journey on an 1851 immigrant ship to the New World, bringing with her an Irish family quilt she is making. A hundred and sixty years later, her great granddaughter, Maggie, searches for the family quilt after her ex pawns it. But on their way to creating a family legacy, will these women find peace with the past and embrace hope for the future, or will they be imprisoned by fear and faithlessness?
Ask me a question or leave a comment about something from today’s post for a chance to win a free copy of one of my books. I’ll draw the winner on Thanksgiving Day. Good luck!
About Susan:Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemmaand Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award.