Sunday, November 08, 2009
I’m very excited about a couple of deals in the offing. They’re not quite ready for me to talk about, but readers can look for more history and mystery from me! My Ladies’ Shooting Club series will debut in December, too.
What conferences will you be attending this year? Will you be a speaker at any of them?
I plan to attend ACFW in Indianapolis in September 2010. I don’t know yet whether or not I’ll be speaking. At the last one, I gave critiques, and I found that very rewarding. There’s a possibility I’ll be at a couple of others, but nothing definite yet.
If you were in charge of planning the panel discussion at a writing conference, what topic would the panel cover, and who would you ask to be on the panel, and why?
I’d like to hear acquisitions editors tell what makes them reject a manuscript, and also what convinced them they needed to buy the last five they accepted.
How important is it to you to be active in writing organizations?
I wouldn’t say you couldn’t succeed without it, but I know it was a tremendous help to me, and a great blessing to discover groups like American Christian Fiction Writers and Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers, where people support each other in ways I’d never dreamed. I met my critique partners through ACFW, for instance.
Where in the community or your church do you volunteer?
I am my church’s financial secretary. Right now that’s the most of it. I used to lead a home school support group and take part in DAR volunteer efforts.
Who are the five people who have made the most impact on your life, and how?
Definitely my parents. They were saved a couple of years before I was born, and they did their best to bring up their children in the Lord. My three sisters are high on the list, too. We are all very different, but when hard times come, we turn to each other.
Tell us about the featured book.
White Mountain Brides is an anthology of three stories. It begins with the 1689 massacre at Cochecho, N.H., and each focuses on a young woman who was captured by the Pennacook Indians and taken to Canada. One stayed with an Indian band for five years. One was married against her will to a French farmer. The third lived with nuns in a convent. When the three return to New Hampshire, the townspeople have trouble accepting them back into their circle. But in the Lord’s timing, each finds love and a new life.
Please share the first page with us.
Cochecho, New Hampshire, 1689
Richard Dudley bolted upright, his heart pounding in the dark. The sound that had wakened him came once more—a distant but terrible shriek, splitting the night. Only an Indian out for blood could make that gruesome noise.
“Richard!” His father’s forceful voice came from below.
“I hear it.”
“Quick! Wake your sister. We must run to Otis’s.”
“I’m awake,” came Catherine’s voice from behind the half partition that separated their sleeping areas in the loft.
Richard scrambled to pull on his breeches and shoes. A moment’s hesitation could mean death in an Indian raid. He leaped down the ladder, pausing only to be sure Catherine made it safely down in her billowing skirts. His parents hadn’t built up the fire, and only a faint glow from the coals lit the room. Richard sensed movement and knew his mother was gathering emergency supplies. No doubt his father had dashed to grab his loaded musket that hung above the door. Richard groped his way to the corner where his own weapon leaned against the wall.
“Stephen,” his mother gasped, and Richard’s heart sank at the thought of his younger brother.
“He’ll be safe at Otis’s garrison,” her husband said. “It’s ourselves we must worry about. Catherine?”
“Take this.” Their mother’s voice was low and urgent. She pressed a sack into Richard’s hand, and he knew it held food. He suspected his mother and Catherine also carried food or blankets. They had discussed sudden flight many times across the supper table and practiced it once before when an outlying farm was raided and the warning came to fort up at the nearest garrison.
That would be Otis’s, the closest fortified house. The blacksmith and his large family offered protection for other settlers whenever needed, as did Waldron, Heard, and other prominent men in the struggling community. Their houses were fenced all around, and built of sturdy oak, with rifle loops for windows above and the second story protruding over the first, so that attackers could be fired down upon. Richard prayed the people within would be safe, as well as the other families that were certainly running toward them.
The four of them crept outside and headed silently across their newly planted cornfield, avoiding the path. Richard cringed with each step, knowing he crushed tender plants he and his father and brother had worked hard to nourish. Worrying about that was senseless. If they did not make it to the safe haven, the corn would not matter. His thoughts flew to the Minton family—Sarah and her parents. They were closer to Waldron’s garrison. Had they made it there in safety? He couldn’t think of her now. Distraction could mean death.
His mother stumbled, and his father reached to steady her. Richard hurried on, taking the lead and hearing Catherine panting behind him. Ahead, the savage screams increased, and a flash of foreboding told him they were running the wrong way, even as his feet took him onward.
They topped a rise, and Richard stopped abruptly. Catherine slammed into him, and the air burst from his lungs.
“Sorry,” she gasped, clinging to his jerkin.
“Look.” Richard held her arms and turned her toward what he had seen. A fiery glow lit the sky ahead.
His parents came up beside them and stood silent for a moment except for their labored breathing.
“Otis’s is burning.” His father’s voice quivered with hurt disbelief. The stronghold they had counted on, near the center of the settlement, had been attacked.
How did you get the idea to write this story?
I am a direct descendant of Richard Otis, the blacksmith who was killed in that raid. Several of his children and his wife were captured. His daughter Judith, my ancestress, was captured but rescued by men of the village. After visiting the Woodman Institute in Dover, N.H., where the last 17th-century garrison house is preserved under a pavilion, I knew I wanted to write about these people. Richard Otis’s house was burned, and 400 years later, archeologists dug up the site. My sisters and I were able to see artifacts including hinges and nails that were probably made by Richard Otis. This visit impressed me deeply, and I began collecting true captivity narratives. After several years, I felt I was ready to begin writing about it. My stories are fiction, but I believe they ring true to the times.
Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Visit my Web site at: http://www.susanpagedavis.com/ . I’d love to see you there. I’ll also be reading and talking to people at the Lithgow Library in Augusta, Maine at 10 a.m. on December 5. If you’re in the area, drop in and say hi!
Thank you, Susan, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here's a link where you can order the book. If you're going to order from Amazon anyway, using this link will help support this blog.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.