Bio: Susan Page Davis is the author of more than thirty published novels. Prairie Dreams is her new series from Barbour Publishing. A
Maine native, Susan now lives in with her husband, Jim. Kentucky
Welcome back, Susan. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
It varies. For the most part, my heroines are much younger, prettier, and braver than I am. Elise Finster, in The Lady’s Maid, shares some qualities with me. She second guesses herself, as to whether or not she’s done the right thing and whether she can protect her mistress. Her highest desire is to see those she loves safe and happy.
I just finished reading The Lady's Maid earlier today. I absolutely loved it. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I once tied a murderer’s necktie. I was reporting on the trial for a newspaper and after the lunch break I went back into the courtroom early. No one else was back yet except the defendant and his guard. The guard was trying to help the man tie his tie, but was having trouble doing it “backward.” He asked if I could tie one on another person, so I did it. Later that day, the defendant was convicted of murder.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was very young I began creating stories. As an adult, I spent many years as a nonfiction writer. Finally I decided to seriously try fiction. I sold my first short story in 2001 and my first book in 2003.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m an eclectic reader. I most enjoy true history, natural science, mysteries, historical novels, fantasy, and romantic suspense. Right now I’m reading Dinner at the St. James, by Sandra Robbins, for fiction, and The Cowboy: His Characteristics, His Equipment, and His Part in the Development of the West, by Philip Ashton Rollins, for nonfiction.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I ignore the world and let it run.
Very good answer, Susan. How do you choose your characters’ names?
That’s a bad question for me because I’m awful with names. I forget real people’s names and have trouble creating fictional ones. Once I realized one of my characters was a real person—a rather public person. Had to change his name. And my son pointed out to me that one of my books had the hero and heroine named George and Laura, during the Bush administration. Changed her to Rachel.
I’ve used a lot of methods, most born of desperation: the usual baby books and phone books, census lists (for most common names in historical periods), asking people who live in a particular state for regional surnames, and begging my kids to help me. (“If you can’t help me come up with a decent name for this character, I’ll name her after YOU.” That usually works.)
In a few instances, friends and relatives asked me to use their names in books.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
By nature, I think I’d be some reclusive, rarely seen critter, like a pine marten. But real life has made me more sociable.
What is your favorite food?
Fruit, just about any kind.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Expectations. It took some major adjustments.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Lady’s Maid features Elise Finster, who accompanies her young mistress, Lady Anne Stone, on a voyage to
in 1855. Lady Anne’s father
has died, and her Uncle David is the new Earl of Stoneford—if he steps forward and
claims the title. But David disappeared into the American West when Anne was a
baby. Now it’s up to her and Elise to find him. But obstacles abound. Mules, a
lazy hired man, mountains, unexpected romance, and a sinister stranger stand in
their way. America
The Lady’s Maid is the first book in the Prairie Dreams series, and releases October 1, 2011.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“Come with me, Elise. I can’t face him alone.”
Lady Anne gripped her hand so hard that Elise Finster winced. She would do anything to make this day easier for her young mistress.
“Of course, my lady, if they’ll let me.”
They walked down the sweeping staircase together, their silk skirts swishing and the hems of their crinolines nudging each other. Lady Anne kept her hold on Elise’s hand until they reached the high-ceilinged hall below.
At the doorway to the morning room, Lady Anne straightened her shoulders. A pang of sympathy lanced Elise’s heart, but she couldn’t bear this burden in the young woman’s place. Anne Stone had to face the future herself.
“Good day, ladies.” Andrew Conrad, the Stone family’s aging solicitor, rose from the velvet-upholstered sofa and bowed. “Lady Anne, you look charming. Miss Finster.”
Elise murmured, “Hello, sir,” while Lady Anne allowed Conrad to take her hand and bow over it.
From near the window, a tall, angular man walked forward—Anne’s second cousin, Randolph Stone. Ten years older than Anne, the studious man lived in a modest country home with his wife and two young children and eked out a living on the interest of his father’s meager fortune. Elise gritted her teeth, a reaction he always induced in her. With effort on her part, Lady Anne never guessed how much she loathed
“Anne.” Stone took his cousin’s hand and kissed it perfunctorily. He nodded in Elise’s direction but didn’t greet her.
I didn’t expect to see you here.” Lady Anne arched her delicate eyebrows at the
“Mr. Stone had some questions, and I invited him to come with me today, so I could explain the situation to both of you.”
Lady Anne said nothing for a long moment, then nodded.
“Er, if it pleases you, my lady, this is confidential business.” Conrad shot a meaningful glance Elise’s way.
Elise felt her face flush, but held her ground. She wouldn’t leave until Lady Anne told her plainly to do so. Besides, he’d brought along an extra person. Why shouldn’t Lady Anne have that right as well?
“I would like Elise to stay.” The lady smiled, but with a firmness to her jaw befitting the daughter of an earl.
Conrad nodded. “As you wish. Shall we begin, then?”
Lady Anne sat on the upholstered Hepplewhite settee and signaled for Elise to sit beside her. Elise arranged her voluminous skirt and lowered herself, avoiding the direct gaze of Randolph Stone. He didn’t care for her, either, and Elise knew exactly why, but she didn’t believe in letting past discord interfere with the future.
How can readers find you on the Internet?Come see me at www.susanpagedavis.com
Thank you, Susan, for another interesting peek into your life and writing.
Readers, you're going to love this book. Here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
The Lady's Maid (Prairie Dreams)
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
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 4 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 if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.