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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Guest Blogger Susan Page Davis and Lady in the Making

Susan and I recently sat together at the ACFW Awards Gala in Dallas, as one of her books was nominated for a Carol Award. She does multiple giveaways of her books every month through her web site, and several readers get the privilege of enjoying a free copy of their choice of her books. Be sure to visit her web site and use the "Enter Monthly Contest" form on the left side of the main page.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SUSAN PAGE DAVIS is the author of more than 40 novels. A native of Maine, she now lives in western Kentucky. She’s the mother of six and grandmother of eight. Her books have won many awards, including the Will Rogers Medallion, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award

LADY IN THE MAKING
by Susan Page Davis
Published by Barbour Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOK

Millie Evans has changed, choosing to leave rather than join an outlaw gang with her brother. Hoping for a new future, she boards a stagecoach and finds that one of the passengers is David Stone—a man she and her brother once tried to swindle. As she tries to convince David she’s changed, her brother’s gang holds up the stagecoach. Fighting beside David goes a long way to softening his heart, but he’s still not convinced. Someone is trying to keep him from reaching England to claim his inheritance. Is Millie involved? Millie must trust God to show David the truth, but will he see before it’s too late?

Readers, buy your copy of Lady in the Making today!

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR

Welcome! It’s a privilege to be a guest here this week!

As an author, I’m a late bloomer. My first novel was published the year I turned 50. I’d written a lot of nonfiction articles for magazines and newspapers—I was a news correspondent for about 25 years. But I didn’t think I could join the ranks of published fiction authors.

I decided to try when I realized I had a story in my head. It was a rather complicated story about a policeman and a difficult case he was trying to solve. I told my husband about it, and he encouraged me to write it down. It turned out to be a 100,000-word book. That story has never been published, but I have been writing fiction ever since.

About two years after I made that first effort, I began to sell short stories to national magazines. Selling to Woman’s World, GRIT, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine gave me confidence and justified all the money I’d spent on ink cartridges and postage!

During that time, I continued to write more books and market them to publishers. Nearly four years passed before an editor finally bought my first-to-be-published novel, Protecting Amy, and it took another year and a half for it to go through the publication process. Since then I have sold about 40 books. It’s been a great blessing to our family and a joy to me personally to become a fiction author.

I read somewhere that an author doesn’t really find her “voice”—that is, her tone or “attitude” of telling a story—until she’s written at least a million words of fiction. By the time Protecting Amy was published, I had written much more than that.

I was always a good student, and I’d learned to whack out full-length news stories in half an hour or so when I needed to, but I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing fiction. And I’m still learning. Every year I take classes and attended workshops and conferences that help me become a better writer. I read a lot and listen to what good writers have to say.

The wonderful thing is, writing is a skill you can develop and improve over a lifetime. Your stories will only get better as you learn more about how to present them to the reader. I do hope you enjoy A Lady in the Making.

This story is the third in my Prairie Dreams series. It can be read enjoyably on its own, but you might like it even better if you’ve read The Lady’s Maid, about two English women who join a wagon train going West, and Lady Anne’s Quest, about a lady searching in 1855 Oregon for her missing uncle.

Today’s featured book, A Lady in the Making, continues the story of that uncle, David Stone, who is heir to an English estate and title.

Although I used to live in Oregon and have done a lot of research on its history, I had to do quite a lot more, just to get David and Millie out of Oregon in this book. The time period (1857) is early for big, well-organized stagecoach lines, so I had to figure out how they would get from The Dalles, Oregon, to St. Louis, Missouri. It was doable, but things like Indian unrest in Idaho and troubled relations with the Mormons in Salt Lake City made it challenging. Once they cross the Mississippi, the characters can hop a train, but they are traveling a few years too early for the Transcontinental Railroad or bridges across the Mississippi. They also have to deal with unknown enemies who would like nothing better than to stop David Stone in his tracks. It’s all part of the writer’s job to get her characters into hot water—and then get them out again!

* * * * *

Thank you, Susan, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: Do you like historical novels better when they emphasize action and adventure, or when the romance takes center stage?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

13 comments:

Amy Campbell said...

I do love the action and adventure in a historical. It adds excitement to the romance.
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Susan Page Davis said...

I love action too, Amy. I try to give my readers plenty of both, but for me an intriguing, but believable plot, is crucial. If nothing happens in the story, I get bored.

Cheryl said...

I like to see a balance between the two. As a character driven reader, I enjoy the developing relationship, but there needs to be some action and adventure to ramp it up a bit.

This sounds like a wonderful book and a great series.

Wishing you the best,

Cheryl

ccmal(at)charter(dot)net

Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks, Cheryl! I take all the input I get from readeres seriously, and this is a question that's been niggling at me. The comments will help me as I work on my next book. I think as readers today, we want to get inside the characters as much as possible. In the old days, courtships were often lowkey and even stilted, compared to what we see in modern times. But that's not what most people like to read about.

Sharon M said...

I would have to say action and adventure. I will enjoy a novel with little or no romance as long as the plot keeps moving and twisting. But a story without adventure would be hard to read, even if it has a great romance element. But the best book is one that has everything (smile)!
Sharon
smoore at tcq dot net

Jes said...

I like historical novels that have both - where we get to follow the developing relationship between the characters as they live and experience the action and adventure! I agree with you Susan - as a reader I want to get inside the characters as much as possible and a believable plot is crucial to keeping me interested in reading the story.

Jes
jswaks at gmail dot com

apple blossom said...

I like a little bit of romance but action and adventure is good so just a nice balance between them is wonderful. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Glenda Parker Fiction Writer said...

I love all historicals. I sometimes feel like I a in the wrong time but God knows what He is doing so I go on. Can't wait to read a copy of your book. God bless you.

Glenda Parker

Pam K. said...

I like more action and adventure than romance (though I do like to have romance thrown in too). I would love to win a copy of A Lady in the Making. Thanks for the chance.

pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Carla Olson Gade said...

So great to see Susan here! I've been anticipating Lady in the Making as the first two books in the series are fantastic! It will be interesting seeing the characters on there journey out of Oregon.

Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks, Carla! We're getting some good answers here. Seems like the majority wants an equal dose of romance and action!

Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. I like the action and adventure (plus a bit of romance too). Thank you for the opportunity to win.

Katie J.
johnsonk133@yahoo.com

squiresj said...

I love historical romance either way. Please enter me to win.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com