Susan Mathis has another charming story, Peyton’s Promise, set in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River.
Please tell us about your writing journey, Susan.
I’ve been teaching writing, editing, or writing most of my life. I taught language arts for nine years, and before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of twelve Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction. Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage with an Indonesian and Spanish version, and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness, both have helped thousands of couples prepare for marriage. I’m also the author of two picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. Moreover, I’m published in various book compilations including five Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. I’ve also several hundred magazine and newsletter articles. But then I started writing fiction…and I’m hooked!
What motivated you to set your stories in the Thousand Islands area?
I grew up just twenty minutes from the Thousand Islands, 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, after I wrote my debut novel about the largest island, Wolfe Island, I was hooked. There are so many fascinating stories to tell.
It’s the summer of 1902, and Peyton Quinn is tasked with preparing the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular two-hundred-guest summer gala. As she works in a male-dominated position as an upholsterer and fights for women’s equality, she’s persecuted for her unorthodox ways. But when her pyrotechnics-engineer father is seriously hurt, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.
Patrick Taylor, Calumet’s carpenter, and Peyton’s childhood chum hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton has to ignore the prejudices and persevere or she could lose her job, forfeit Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossips.
It’s obvious you researched a great deal for this story. Please share about that.
I LOVE researching! There’s a lot of information in Peyton’s Promise about the women’s suffrage movement and upholstery work. But I really enjoyed researching fireworks—how they’re made, how they’re shot off, etc. I connected with the leading fireworks historical and gleaned lots of great information I sprinkled into the story. I’ll never view another fireworks show the same.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All of my stories have the central theme of hope and redemption. Peyton’s Promise also explores forgiveness.
God often teaches us something through our writing. What did you learn about life, faith, or yourself in the process of writing Peyton’s Promise?
Yes, every book I write is a journey of healing and hope, and this one was no different. Patrick’s journey of forgiving his father paralleled my journey of forgiving my stepdad.
Where can readers find your books?
You can find links to all my books and more on my website: https://www.susangmathis.com/fiction-books/
Lighthouse Publishing: https://shoplpc.com/peytons-promise/