I’ve been absent from your inbox for awhile. Summer and Fall have kept me so busy with deadlines I’ve barely had time to think about the blog but today, I’m thrilled to welcome author Susan G. Mathis back to Romancing History (link to my previous post, Peyton’s Promise). Susan is an award-winning author of historical romance novels. She has nine in her fiction line including Rachel’s Reunion.
After you read the interview, make sure to visit the Giveaway section and enter to win a print copy of her latest release! Thanks, Susan, for this giveaway!
About the Author
Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty-five times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. She has nine in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, Colleen’s Confession, and Peyton’s Promise. Rachel’s Reunion releases October 20, 2022. She just finished writing book ten, Mary’s Moment. Her book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and two Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is a Selah Awards finalist.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to enjoy the Thousand Islands. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com/fiction for more.
About the Book
Rachel Kelly serves the most elite patrons at the famed New Frontenac Hotel on Round Island. She has wondered about her old beau, Mitch, for nearly two years, ever since he toyed with her affections while on Calumet Island, then left for the high seas and taken her heart with him. Now he’s back, opening the wound she thought was healed.
Mitch O’Keefe returns to claim his bride but finds it more difficult than he thought. Returning to work at the very place he hated, he becomes captain of a New Frontenac Hotel touring yacht, just to be near Rachel. But his attempts to win her back are thwarted, especially when a wealthy patron seeks her attention. Who will Rachel choose?
To purchase a copy, please visit: https://www.susangmathis.com/fiction-books/
Interview with Susan G Mathis
- Mountains or the Beach? I live on a lake with the Rocky Mountains beyond, but I love vacationing in, on, or near the ocean.
- Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter? Summer!
- Dark or Milk chocolate? Dark, unless it’s an Almond Joy (of course!)
- Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife? Downton Abbey (Huge fan myself!)
- Puzzles or Boardgames? Boardgames (We are HUGE boardgame fans in my house!)
RH: Let’s start with an easy one. What’s your favorite pastime?
SM: I love to travel the world. I’ve been to more than 50 countries and still have quite a few more on my bucket list. When I’m not globe-trotting, I love FaceTiming with my daughter, son, and four granddaughters, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying my sweet Maltichon, Lucy.
RH: Goodness, you’re quite a jetsetter. Having traveled to so many countries, why do did you choose to write about the Thousand Islands?
SM: I grew up just twenty minutes from the Thousand Islands—the setting for all my stories—in upstate New York. Actually, half of the 1,864 islands are in NY and the other half in Ontario, Canada. So, I spent every summer and more exploring the beautiful region. I’ve stayed on several of the islands and camped and rented cottages there. So, in 2017, after I wrote my debut novel about the largest island, Wolfe Island, I was hooked. There are so many fascinating stories to tell. Now, I take an annual Thousand Islands Book Tour to the islands where I meet with fans, friends, and family. I’ve stayed in Singer Castle, Casa Blanca, and other places that are the settings of my book.
RH: I’ve never been to upstate New York or the Thousand Islands but it sounds like a lovely place to visit. Other than growing up in the area, is there a specific reason you chose to set your stories there?
SM: All my novels are based on a specific place in the Thousand Islands and are the true stories of the owners of that island during the Thousand Islands Gilded Age, when the wealthy came and scooped up the islands and built lavish summer homes, mansions, and castles. So, my plot is generally true. Then I overlay the storyline of the fictional servants to create the story. This makes my stories a bit more challenging, but I love a good challenge.
RH: Ah, the Gilded Age. I see above that we’re both big fans of Downton Abbey. So, are your books similar to that program?
SM: Yep, except all nine of my stories are clean, Christian historical fiction.
RH: As a reader and writer of Christian historical romance myself, I’m always curious about what draws an author to a particular period of history. Why do you write about the Gilded Age?
SM: The American Gilded Age was a time of rapid technical advances, industrialization, and thousands of new inventions from about 1870-1910. Mark Twain coined the term in his 1873 novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today that satirized the era of social problems that were masked by a layer of thin, gold gilding. It’s a fascinating time in history, especially in the Thousand Islands.
All of my books are set during the Thousand Islands Gilded Age. It was an era of economic growth. Unfortunately, it was also a time of unequal distribution of wealth where the rich got richer and the poor working class suffered. Many young women worked as servants until they married, and that’s what my stories are about—those nameless, faithful women who cooked and cleaned and served tables for the rich and famous. These “downstairs” women had fascinating stories to tell, and I plan to tell many of them.
During the Gilded Age, America led the world in innovation. A half-million patents were issued for new inventions including hundreds by Thomas Edison, Westinghouse, and others. Thanks to inventions such as delivery of electric power, the world became lighter, safer, more convenient and comfortable, and all around better.
So, this is why I write Thousand Islands Gilded Age stories. To share the rich heritage this era gave us and better understand what it was like.
RH: As inspirational authors we can also weave Christian themes into our books. What are the deeper messages of your stories?
SM: All nine of my Thousand Islands’ stories have hope as the central theme. Hope for a better future. Hope for love. Hope for healing. Rachel’s Reunion also focuses on healing broken hearts, and forgiving those who hurt you.
RH: Hope is a universal theme that speaks to the heart of any reader and is central to the message of the Gospels. Before you go, what are you working on now?
SM: I just finished book ten, Mary’s Moment, and am working on book eleven. Here’s a taste of Mary’s Moment, The Thousand Islands Gilded Age Book 4:
Thousand Island Park’s switchboard operator Mary Flynn is christened the community heroine for her quick action that saves dozens of homes from a fire. Less than a month later, when another disastrous fire rages through the Park, Mary loses her memory as she risks her life in a neighbor’s burning cottage. Will she remember the truth of her life or be deceived by a treacherous scoundrel?
Widowed fireman George Flannigan is enamored by the brave raven-haired lass and takes every opportunity to connect with Mary. But he has hidden griefs of his own that cause him great heartache. When George can’t stop the destructive Columbian Hotel fire from eradicating more than a hundred businesses and homes, he is distraught. Yet George’s greater concern is Mary … will she come to remember their budding relationship or be forever lost to him?
Thanks for having me on Romancing History, Kelly. It’s been fun!
RH: It’s been great having you visit today, Susan!
This giveaway is now closed!
Congratulations to our winner, Aletha K!
Susan is giving away a print copy of Rachel’s Reunion to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, tell us if you’ve ever heard of the Thousand Islands. If you’ve been there, let us know and you’ll be entered twice for the giveaway.