Meet Prolific Writer, Susan Page Davis!
Don't forget to leave your comment and email address for a chance to win her historical book! Sounds fantastic.
How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
I’ve always written stories, since I was a young girl. I started writing “books” in junior high. But then life got in the way. There was College and Work and Marriage and Children. Then I wrote nonfiction for many years, for a newspaper and magazines. When I was 45, I decided to try a serious attempt at writing fiction. It took a couple of years for me to begin selling short stories, and four years to sell my first book. It was published the year I turned fifty.
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
I write in several genres. The book we’re featuring today is historical romance. These are romantic stories set in the past. They might include real events, places, and even real people sometimes. In The Blacksmith’s Bravery, I made up a town in southeastern Idaho, and all the characters are fictional. But the setting is the Idaho mountains in the 1880s. This series couldn’t have taken place anywhere else.
I also write in the romance, mystery, and romantic suspense genres, and I have a couple of book for young people on my backlist. Whatever strikes me as a compelling story, I write.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
Right now I usually spend most of the day at writing or writing-related tasks. I am blessed to have a room for my office. The amount I write per day depends on my deadlines. Right now I am writing an average of 2,000 salable words per day, as well as doing some editing and promotional material.
You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?
The Blacksmith’s Bravery
This is book 3 in The Ladies’ Shooting Club series, about a group of women in 1880’s Idaho who support each other while learning to shoot in order to protect themselves.
By age twelve, Vashti Edwards was orphaned and working her way west in saloons. Life in Fergus, Idaho, has given her new hope in Christian friends from The Ladies Shooting Club and an employer who turned her saloon into a restaurant. But money’s tight, and Vashti tries to get the job she’s dreamed of—as a stagecoach driver. Griffin Bane, local blacksmith, is overseeing the stagecoach line and admits he needs more help. But can a woman—even one known to be a good markswoman—handle the challenges and dangers on the trail? And can he brave the beautiful distraction she makes riding alongside him?
Vashti and her boss, Griffin, turn to the Ladies’ Shooting Club of Fergus for extra gun power when the stagecoach line is targeted by robbers. Members willing to defend the passengers and mail can ride the Fergus-to-Boise route for free. Throw a little unforeseen mayhem and romance, and you’ll find this journey unforgettable.
The Blacksmith’s Bravery is the third installment in the Ladies’ Shooting Club series, from Barbour Publishing. These books are available in stores or online at Christianbook.com, Amazon.com, bn.com, and other booksellers’ sites.
What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?
Acceptance and forgiveness are very important to this story and the entire series. Vashti and Griffin must learn to accept themselves and each other as they are. Forgiveness from God, from others, and from themselves brings them along their journey.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?
I have had days like that, when I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” But those days are fewer and farther between than they were five or six years ago. Before I had an agent, I remember I always tried to keep at least ten short stories or book proposals in the mail to editors. While they were out, I would write away on the next one. I remember one day I got back three rejections in my mailbox in one day. That was very painful. Now I’m in the delightful position of not usually writing the book until after it is bought. That doesn’t mean I don’t have discouraging days. I received a rejection on a book proposal—cushioned through my agent—just a few days ago. It definitely helps to have a squishable agent. He /she can take the worst hits for you and help you put them in perspective. (One of my agent’s stock lines is, “She doesn’t hate you, Susan.” So I guess that tells you I do still have “those” days.)
Who’s inspired you the most?
Many, many people have taught me things that have helped in my writing—other authors, teachers, my parents, my critique partners. But there are three people who always encourage me and make me want to do better, and I’d like to recognize them here. Pat, you taught me to read and so much more. You always have a word of cheer for me. Pam, you’re always ready for whatever comes next, and you urge me to get out of my own little box. Mim, I’ve tried to emulate your graciousness and generous spirit. These are my sisters. We didn’t pick each other, but we choose to remain close friends.
Would you explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
I’ve been privileged to work with several publishers, and I believe the connection is in God’s hands. But I believe in taking steps as you seek God’s will. For my first published book, I deliberately targeted Barbour’s Heartsong line. I’d already received several rejections on a police mystery series, and was beginning to think that would never sell. (It hasn’t. Any editors out there want to see it now?? )
But seriously, I began to study the Writer’s Market for publishers open to unagented unknowns. Ones that would publish books from a Christian world view. Ones that paid royalties. The intersection was Heartsong. I read several of their books and determined to sell to them.
I sent Tracie and Jim Peterson several manuscripts and got several rejections (encouraging rejections, but still “NO’s”) before Jim finally called me on the phone and told me that Heartsong was buying my book. I’ve had a great relationship with Barbour ever since, and I say that even though ALL of their editors subsequently gave me rejections. So far I’ve published 14 Heartsongs, three mysteries, two novellas, and three trade books with Barbour, and more under contract.
For my other publishers (including Summerside, Harvest House, Love Inspired, and JourneyForth) it’s been a case of sending or having my agent send the proposal to the publisher where it seems it would fit best. Guideposts was a little different—I auditioned for a spot in their Patchwork Mysteries series by submitting a sample chapter, and they chose me from a fairly large pool. I’m now working on my second book for them. And no, I’m not sitting back and relaxing yet. I don’t plan to retire for a while, and it’s still vital to find the right publisher for a story and vice versa.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
There are tons of places I’ve never seen and would love to see. I wonder if one of my editors would be interested in a story set in Switzerland…or Tahiti…or New Zealand. I’ve always loved animals (right now we have a cat, a dog, and a horse), and I enjoy puzzles and reading and genealogy. I also like needlework but haven’t had time to do any for a while now. I hate to cook. I also dislike vinegar and mustard.
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
Come see me at http://www.susanpagedavis.com/. At the end of each month I draw at least one name (sometimes several) to win a free book, and the winners choose the books they want. I won’t use your name for anything else, so feel safe in entering (there’s a little “enter the monthly contest” form on the left side of my home page).
The Blacksmith’s Bravery can be read as a standalone if you haven’t read the other books in the series—but why would you want to miss the fun? Look for The Sheriff’s Surrender and The Gunsmith’s Gallantry too.
I also have a page on FaceBook that my daughter Amy maintains for me. I can’t answer your comments there, but she tries to post my interviews, book signings, new releases, and other events: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Page-Davis/139580589399172?v=wall
Don't forget those comments, readers, and your email address! You don't want to miss a chance to win this book!