Friday, July 30, 2010

Susan Page Davis Interview & Book Giveaway!

Joining us today is award-winning, multi-published author, Susan Page Davis. Susan is the author of thirty novels in the mystery, romantic suspense, romance, and historical genres. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, Jim, who is an editor, and the youngest two of their six children.

[Anne] Welcome Susan. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us today. Will you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how difficult your journey was to publication?

[Susan] Thanks, Anne! I seriously began writing fiction in 1999. It seemed like I would never be published. I sold a few short stories, and then in 2003 my first book was contracted. It came out in late 2004. It seemed very hard and frustrating at the time, but looking back, I can see that I was blessed with less hardship and waiting than a lot of people.

[Anne] You write in a variety of genres. Do you have a favorite in which you like to write?

[Susan] I love writing historical novels with mystery or suspense in them. These—with a little romance thrown in—combine all the elements I love.

[Anne] You and your daughter, Megan, have collaborated on an exciting mystery series from Heartsong Presents, will you tell us a little about them?

[Susan]Megan and I wrote the Mainely Mysteries series about two years ago, and it recently came out in a one-volume edition. We set the three stories in a fictional lakeside town in northern Maine. Emily Gray returns to the shores of Blue Heron Lake and finds mystery, romance, and a new direction in life.

[Anne] How does collaborating with another author work? Do you take turns writing scenes or chapters, or work together throughout the book?

[Susan] Megan and I alternated chapters at first, but the third book got a little crazy, as our deadline was the day before her wedding. So for Impostors at Blue Heron Lake, whoever was the least squeezed at the moment wrote the next scene or chapter. Overall, I think we still wrote about half each.

[Anne] You have a new release, The Crimson Cipher, will you tell us about it?

[Susan] Set in 1915, this book features a young woman recruited to solve ciphers for the government. Her father is murdered in his college office, and the Navy officer who had wanted him to join the Signal Corps in Washington instead invites Emma, who had been helping her father on a cryptography project. When she accepts the job, Emma does not realize that the people who killed her father now want her out of the way. As she fights the German-Austrian contingent that is promoting sabotage and labor unrest within the United States, Emma makes a personal enemy of the saboteurs’ leader—known only to her and her coworkers as “Kobold”—the German word for goblin.

[Anne] Ah, sounds intriquing.  And I love the cover!  So, how many books do you usually write in a year?

[Susan] About four or five. I am keeping pretty busy, and I’m thankful for that.

[Anne] Do you have a strict schedule to adhere to?

[Susan] No, I work when I need to and knock off for fun now and then. Right now I’m on a deadline for one book and doing revisions on another, so I’m at my desk nearly all day.

[Anne] I read that your husband, Jim, edits all your novels before you submit them. Do the two of you ever disagree on your work?

[Susan] Sometimes we’ll disagree on a minor thing—a word or phrase. Rarely on a plot point. He has said that a few things in my books made him uncomfortable. Usually I say, “Good. That was supposed to make the reader uncomfortable.” But I always consider what he says seriously and take a hard look at the passage he’s referring to. Sometimes it needs to be reworked.

[Anne] What is the best advice you’ve ever received from a publisher, editor, or fellow author?

[Susan] Don’t measure your success by that of the people around you.

[Anne] If your publisher agreed to send you anywhere in the world to research your new book, where would that be?

[Susan] Well, if it’s winter, how about Tahiti? Seriously, I’d like to see and write about Wales.

[Anne] Great choices!  Okay, you’ve just woke in the middle of the night with a fantastic idea for a book, what do you do?

[Susan] scrawl notes I won’t be able to read in the morning on a notepad I keep on the nightstand.

[Anne] LOL.  I suppose I’ve picked your brain long enough, Susan. I could go on you know. I have tons of questions I’d love to ask, but I’ve taken up enough of your time. I do hope you’ll consider coming back sometime. Thank you for allowing me to interview you. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks, Anne. I’ve loved visiting with you. We’re giving away a copy of The Crimson Cipher here today, and I also give away a couple of books on my website every month: You can also find me on Facebook at:

[Anne] How generous, Susan, thank you.  Okay, friends, start commenting.  And be sure to leave an email address or some way for us to contact you.  The drawing will take place Friday, August 6th!  

And the winner is....Carol Wong.  Congratulations, Carol.  I'm sure you'll enjoy The Crimson Cipher.


Unknown said...

This book sounds great! And the cover is so mysterious! :)
Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Susan and Anne,
Whenever you talk mystery or suspense with a romance thrown in you are in my favorite ballpark. LOL
Congrats on your success and this sounds like another great one.

Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks, Kim and Rebecca! I love the cover, too!

Diane Craver said...

Hi Susan,
Your books sounds wonderful - hope you sell lots of it! Great cover, too! I'm impressed you write so many books in a year. I wish my husband would read my books before they are published. LOL He reads them after they are and sometimes gives his advice.

Gail Pallotta said...

I enjoyed your interview very much, and your new book sounds intriguing. I've been to Kentucky many times and loved being there.
pallotta at gailpallotta dot com

Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks, Gail! Diane, my son is the one who makes the post-publication commentaries. Maybe I should have him reading the books first, so he won't ask me later, "Why didn't you have THIS happen?"

*yadkny* said...

Hi Susan,
I think it's awesome that you and your daughter collaborated on a mystery series. Was it fun writing together or were there any arguments over where you each thought the story should go?

Martha Eskuchen said...

Great interview Anne and Susan. I really loved so many answers. I agree, historical, mystery and romance make a wonderful read for me. Tahiti is wonderfully exotic and Wales is so mysteriously sort of magic.
I love puzzles, ciphers and 1915 is an interesting time to pick. The cover is great too. Best wishes for great success.

Linda said...

Your book cover is gorgeous--suspenseful! This is a 'gotta have it' book. Also need to check out your other books. You've written a lot of them! Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Susan Page Davis said...

Thank you, Martha, Linda and "yadkny." This cover is even more beautiful "in person," when you can see the mysterious cipher if you tip it right. It's somehow applied with what I call "shiny stuff" (a real technical term) and you don't really notice it at first.
Writing with Megan--now THAT was an experience, for both of us. We had some wild discussions, especially while brainstorming the three plots. Sometimes one of us would feel strongly about using or not using something in the book, and the other partner would just have to say okay, we'll do it your way, or okay, I'll save that for my next project. I believe the collaboration was good for both of us, and it gave me the experience in dealing with other writers that I now need when working on a collection or series by multiple authors. The main thing is, take it easy, stay calm, let each person bring her best to the project.

Anne Patrick said...

Hi everyone! I tell ya, I've already got this book on my TBR list and I can't wait to see that beautiful cover upclose.

I'm really looking forward to reading your American Heroes Series. Did you have an inside source to help with your research on this series?

Mary Beth said...

Outstanding interview, ladies!
Anne, thank you so much for turning me onto another great author. Hey, I have to have something to read in between your releases :-).

Susan Page Davis said...

Anne, the American Heroes Series (on some sites called the Frasier Island series) follows some naval officers. I didn't really have an "inside source," but I did get a lot of help. My brother was a career Coast Guard officer, and he helped me with nautical questions and some basic military concerns. (He also helped with my book about a female Coast Guard officer, "Always Ready.") I did contact a US Navy liaison officer in Washington about some particular procedural questions. They were very helpful. Another source I used was "A Civilian's Guide to the U.S. Military," by Barbara Schading. I did a ton of online research, too. For the last book especially (Inside Story) I spent hours combing books about special ops units, combat survival, and guerilla warfare. A huge map of the Philippines hung on the back of my study's door for weeks. Seems no matter what the topic, there's a lot to learn!

Laurean Brooks said...

I agree. The cover is an attention grabber. But the plot pulled me in, too. Sounds like wonderful read, Susan.

Your hubby is your editor? How I wish mine was? Only he HATES to read and English was his worst subject. A lost cause on both counts. LOL.

Remember: I live just over the Kentucky line in northwest Tennessee. We are practically neighbors.

Praying God's blessings over your writing. I'd love to read this book, and the others you've written.

My email:

Anonymous said...

I think having the story set in the past adds more realism and the cover looks so great. I like to read about I love cypers. I bet that my Uncle would have been an interesting subject for a story. He learned Arabic during World War II so messages could be decoded.


Anne Patrick said...

Thanks, Mary Beth. Well I've read a couple of Susan's Love Inspired suspense books from Steeple Hill so I know you're in for a real treat.

Susan, I agree there is always lots to learn while researching a book. For me, that's one of the best parts of writing. Only problem is, while I'm doing it I get so many other great ideas for possible story lines :-).

Susan Page Davis said...

Thanks, Mary Beth! Laurean, good to see you here. You, too, Carol. What a fascinating story about your uncle. Yes, my husband was a news editor for 21 years and is now editing fiction books. Anne, that is so true--so many stories, so little time!

CC Kaufman said...

This is my first time on your site. I am an aspiring writer and need all the help and advice I can get. Thank you for your tips. I will return!

Anne Patrick said...

Well I'm glad you found us, Chuck. Come back anytime!

Martha Lawson said...

Loved the interview! I'd loved to be entered for this one, looks awesome.

I follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

karenk said...

thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

mindy said...

great interview and thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

dessie10 said...

I loved the info about how you went about writing books, would love to read it.

scottsgal said...

I'm a new reader to your books and can't wait to read more of them
msboatgal at

Susan Page Davis said...

We're glad to have new readers here as well as old friends. Thanks for all your comments. Hearing directly from readers like this tells us what you like, which is great. Hope you've all had a great weekend.

degood said...

This sounds like a very interesting book. I will have to add it to my reading list.

Nickolay said...

This sounds and looks like a fantastic book to sit by the lake and read. Thanks for the chance


cstironkat said...

Great interview. I love the cover also, it is so creative. Thank you for the chance to win.

Anne Patrick said...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments in support of Susan's new book.

Now you're probably wondering who the luck winnner of Susan's book is. Well I won't keep you in suspense any longer. The winner is...Carol Wong.

Congratulations, Carol. I'm sure you'll love Susan's book.

Again, thank you everyone for dropping by. I hope to hear from you again.