Welcome, Susan. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My goodness! The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is based on my family story—my great great grandmother, Margaret, and loosely based on my story as well. The hardest part about writing Maggie’s story was not holding too closely to my story!
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
When I went to
Ireland last year, I took a “Flat
Sally” (sister to Flat Stanley) with me. I took photos with her and made a
storybook for my grandgirls about my trip—and wrote it completely in limerick!
When did you first discover you were a writer?
My mother quips that I started my writing career when I signed my crayon drawings—on the foyer wall—with a great big “S”! Though I’m not sure that was the start I wanted, I can’t remember not writing.
My journey has been multi-faceted. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, written missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path. As a Tyndale published author of two premarital books—The ReMarriage Adventure and Countdown for Couples, two children’s picture books—Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure—and now a debut novelist—The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy—my writing journey has been a diverse one.
I’m also published in several compilations as well as working as a freelance writer and editor, a writing coach, and a speaker, I’m simply passionate about working with words. And as the Former Editorial Director at Focus on the Family of 12 unique publications and Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine, I’ve done a lot of writing. It’s been a really fun journey!
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy reading everything from children’s picture books to nonfiction to contemporary and historical fiction. But if I had to choose, I’d settle in with Christian historical fiction.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It may sound like a pat answer, but taking time to pray, read the word, and worship keep me in balance. I especially enjoy worship music while doing mindless work such as cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
The historical characters are the actual names of my ancestors. But the contemporary characters evolved during my writing process, and we have become good friends!
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Although I am so humbled to have accomplished such diverse published works, I’m most thrilled to have my family legacy in print. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy has been a work of the heart, mind, and emotions.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A butterfly. Because I’d experience the miracle of changing from a caterpillar to a free and beautiful butterfly and flit around my world, dancing on flowers and bringing joy to all who see.
What is your favorite food?
Being Irish, I consider tea as my comfort drink, and with it, the Irish Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake sounds really good right now.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Switching from nonfiction to fiction was a steep learning curve. Coming from the succinct world of journalism and editing, spilling lots of description to “show vs tell” was my biggest challenge. But once I “got it,” I was a bird set free!
Tell us about the featured book.
The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is a story of an 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mother are connected by faith, family, and a quilt. 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
Please give us the first page of the book.
“No! I cannot take me family on a coffin ship!” Margaret Hawkins shook her head as she spoke her thoughts aloud to her eight-month-old baby. The drooling baby girl sat on the dirt floor, playing with a wooden spoon, unconcerned with her mum’s words. Margaret stabbed her needle into the quilt on her lap. “How could Father even suggest such a thing? Half the poor Irish people don’t even survive the trip to the
Margaret glanced down at baby Meg and tried to dismiss the unpleasant thoughts racing through her head. She felt much older than her thirty-two years and weary of all the troubles.
She resumed her work, holding up the partially finished quilt to survey the stitching before setting it back on her lap. She took off her spectacles and rubbed her aching eyes, but she was grateful to finally have a few moments to add a piece of her mum’s favorite dress to the quilt. Maybe she would get one of Father’s old shirts to add to it, too.
By the dim morning light of the calfskin-covered window, she sewed. From where she sat, she turned her ear toward the sounds of four of her six children, squealing and playing tag outside in the yard. She chuckled as she heard Susan, her eldest daughter, bossing the others around, as usual.
What a brood they be. Growing up too fast, that they are. I shall add a patch of cloth for each of them, and one day this quilt will tell our family history. Before it be done, it will be filled with fabrics from many of our dear family members who are now here, already in heaven, and one day, heaven bound.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m at www.SusanGMathis.com,
on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SusanGMathis/,
on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis,
on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/susangmathisaut,
on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6044608.Susan_G_Mathis,
and on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/108568340293012416399
Readers, here are links to the book.The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy - paperback
The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy - Kindle
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