In late July, I met Susan G. Mathis at a Writer’s Day held at the Cornwall Bros. Museum in Alexandria Bay. In June and July, TI Life published two chapters from Susan's popular book. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. It was then that I learned that she isan accomplished writer, who is currently writing about the Thousand Islands, her childhood summer home. Now she is back and capturing the region, especially during the mid-1800s and during the Thousand Islands Gilded Age period, after George Pullman let the rich and famous in on the secret, of what she calls “this island paradise.”
I begin by asking her to tell us about her first novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy.
My debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is the story of an 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mom who are connected by faith, family, and a quilt. Partially set in Ireland and partially set on Wolfe Island, the Irish family immigrates to Wolfe Island and settles here. Meanwhile, the 21st-century mom visits Wolfe Island attempting to learn more about her family.
I hear you have a new book out called Christmas Charity.
Yes, Christmas Charity is my first novella (short novel). It’s about Susan Hawkins and Patrick O’Neill who find that an arranged marriage is much harder than they think, especially when they emigrate from Wolfe Island, Canada, to Cape Vincent, New York, in 1864, just a week after they marry—with Patrick’s nine-year-old daughter, Lizzy, in tow. Can twenty-three-year-old Susan Hawkins learn to love her forty-nine-year-old husband and find charity for her angry step-daughter? She hopes so—and before Christmas comes.
Who is your main character?
Susan is the ten-year-old girl from The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. Susan is all grown-up now and enjoying teaching on Wolfe Island. But when her parents betroth her to a man twenty-six years her elder and the new family moves to Cape Vincent, NY, just days after the wedding, life gets tough, especially when she becomes an instant stepmother.
How did you research your book?
My cousins did lots of research on our ancestry, and I did extensive research about the history and culture, the customs, and so much more. I also enjoyed visiting Wolfe Island, Canada, and Cape Vincent, NY several times, and have made friends in both places. This past August, my hubby and I spent two weeks enjoying the area, visiting Wolfe Island, Pullman Island, Dark Island, Cape Vincent, Clayton, and Alexandria Bay. It has now become our annual pilgrimage from Colorado Springs to this island paradise.
Do you have any photos of the setting of your book?
Since I didn’t have photos of my great grandparents, I used a photograph of my actual grandfather to represent Patrick. I try to collect photographs of the setting—both Wolfe Island and Cape Vincent— and I share them on my website, www.SusanGMathis.com and on my Facebook pages. Of course, I am hoping readers will check them out.
What's your next project?
That would be Katelyn’s Choice to be released on March 15th 2019, with Lighthouse Publishing. It is the first in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series!
It’s the story of nineteen-year-old Katelyn Kavanagh who leaves her family’s struggling farm to work on Pullman Island for the famous George Pullman. There she finds herself serving powerful men such as President Ulysses S. Grant, and Generals Sherman and Sheridan—and falling in love with her best friend’s brother. Katelyn gains popularity with some of her friends by spilling the sensitive high society gossip she’s privy to. But when she overhears a possibly damaging presidential conversation, she knows she can’t tell anyone. She could lose her job—and endanger the president’s 1872 re-election—and jeopardize her relationship with the man of her dreams. Still, the scandalous news just keeps begging to be told…
What are you working on now?
I’m having a blast, writing book two in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series! This time about Singer Castle on Dark Island. I hope it’ll be released next summer, but I need to finish writing it first!
I’ve been posting photos on Facebook that we took while at the castle this past summer and asking friends to tell me about them. It’s been so much fun and has given me so many great ideas. Once again, I am hoping more readers will ‘Friend me’ on Facebook so we may connect.
So there you have it. My short interview with Susan Mathis. Her writing biography is long and impressive - collaborating for several years with her husband in publishing additional books. I hope you will take advantage of her webpage, blog, photographs and most of all her love of the Thousand Islands.
Susan Mathis books are available in paperback and as e-books on Amazon and Barnes&Nobles. Here are the links: Christmas Charity and The Fabric of Hope.
Website: www.SusanGMathis.com; Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SusanGMathis/; Twitter at https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis and Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/susangmathisaut
By Susan W. Smith, Editor, email@example.com