Susan Anne Mason’s debut historical novel, Irish Meadows, won the Fiction from the Heartland contest from the Mid-American Romance Authors Chapter of RWA. A member of ACFW, as well, she lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and two children. She can be found online at www.susanannemason.com
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Susan! Congratulations on your new release, Irish Meadows. I can’t wait to read it! 🙂 Can you tell us what first inspired the setting for this novel?
Susan: The first idea of a New York setting came from my research into my family’s roots. My father’s family came over from Ireland and settled in Brooklyn, New York. Now they weren’t exactly rich, and I pictured them living in tenements or slums. I wanted my fictional O’Leary family to be an immigrant family who’d scraped their way up from the dirt to achieve wealth and status. And in researching places the wealthy lived, I discovered the “Gold Coast” in Long Island where many rich families lived. So I let that become my setting for the Irish Meadows farm.
Savanna: Out of all the characters involved, who was the easiest person to write and who proved to be the hardest?
Susan: Believe it or not, Rylan Montgomery was the easiest character to write. His personality just seemed to flow out of me. (I had no idea he was so funny!) And of course, he’s sweet and so compassionate. I loved him!
The hardest character was James O’Leary because I couldn’t do any scenes from his POV. I so wanted to dive into his head and show everyone why he was so bent on his daughters marrying well. I hope I managed to achieve that by having Gil overhear a conversation with between James and Kathleen where he explained why Brianna couldn’t marry Gil.
Susan: Yikes! Are you sure you want to know? LOL. I was actually in Grade 6 when my favorite teacher, Mr. Guisitini, told me I should write a book. As a kid, I loved reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mysteries, so I created a teen mystery book. I spent several years writing it, and typing it up on a manual typewriter. I even sent it into a publisher and received my first very lovely rejection. After that, I started writing an historical romance (my character’s name was Diana Spencer — long before Lady Di came on the scene) but life intervened and I set aside my writing for many years.
Savanna: You’ve written both historical fiction and contemporary. Is one genre easier to write than the other? If so, can you explain why?
Susan: Contemporary is definitely a lot easier to write. I know the speech patterns, the technology, the clothes, etc. Although there is some research involved, it cannot compare to the amount required for an historical book. Still there is the allure of those simpler days and those old-fashioned heroes!
Susan: I first belonged to RWA, and at that time, I soaked up the information and the camaraderie of fellow authors. I tried to attend the monthly meetings in Toronto, and I did learn so much. However at some point when I turned to writing inspirationals, I felt like a fish out of water, with so many writers focusing on the sexual aspects of their stories. So when I discovered ACFW, I truly felt I’d come home! I love the support and the encouragement of these wonderful fellow writers.
Savanna: Thanks for being with us today, Susan. It’s been great to have you here. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Susan: Right now, book 2 in the Courage to Dream series is in the final revision stages. “A Worthy Heart”, Adam O’Leary’s story, will release in the spring of 2016. And I’m writing book 3, working title “Love’s Healing Grace”. So it’s a very busy time!
Savanna: That’s great! Love the cover for A Worthy Heart too! Looking forward to reading it. 🙂 Have a great summer!
Susan has graciously offered to give away one copy of Irish Meadows to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends July 14, 2015. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!