It is my pleasure to introduce you to this month’s guest, Susan Page Davis. She has written over sixty books, and today she shares a glimpse of what inspires the stories she authors. If you enjoy her article, please check out some of her books (my personal favorite is Marie). You’ll be really glad you did!
by Susan Page Davis
A lot of my inspiration comes from the past. I love reading true history, and often I’ll read about an event that sparks an idea for a story. It might be a shipwreck, a robbery, or an old-fashioned celebration. I’ll think, what if this turned out a bit differently? And I’m off.
Where do I find these things? In books, online, on television, in newspapers—even in reminiscences handed down by older people. For instance, a newspaper article about the exposure of a fake “victim” led me to create an interesting mystery, as did stories about living “off the grid.” When a question of keeping valuables safe came up in a plot line, I researched the history of safe deposit boxes—and what people did before they existed. My daughter in Idaho mentioned a biography she had read about a stagecoach magnate, and I decided to read it. That led me off on several rabbit trails about stage lines.
The inspiration for my novella The Reliable Cowboy was more my own experience as a young bride. I left Maine with my new husband and traveled to Oregon, a place thousands of miles from the only home I knew. I had only been there once before, for a short visit, and I knew nobody out there, other than my husband and his immediate family.
When I was asked to write a novella about a young woman leaving Maine to become a mail-order bride in Wyoming, it wasn’t hard to imagine her feelings of uncertainty, loneliness, and homesickness. A move like that also brings on disorientation—being dropped into a totally foreign environment.
When I moved to western Oregon, I was happy, but a lot of things seemed out of kilter. The summer was almost unbearably hot and long. People planted gardens in March, when there should have been snow on the ground. Where was the snow? It was a fairy tale, a rare act of God—a reason to call off school. Instead, we got rain in the winter. Every. Single. Day. At least it seemed that way. And the ocean was in the wrong place, which somehow tricked my brain into confusing east and west. Even the birds weren’t right.
After a while, I was able to adjust and give thanks for the long growing season, the mild winters, the odd-looking birds and squirrels. We went gold panning in the mountains in July, and that’s when I saw snow in Oregon. It was odd, all right. And then we moved back East. My kids grew up in the land of two-hundred-year-old houses and yard-deep snow, of moose, not elk, and blue jays that were really blue. But those memories of my transplant have lingered, and I hope they made me more sympathetic to my husband’s continued longings for the West.
|Susan Page Davis
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than sixty published novels. A Maine native, she now lives in Kentucky. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and also a winner of the Carol Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and a finalist in the WILLA Awards and the More Than Magic Contest.
www.susanpagedavis.com On my website, you can see all my books, sign up for my newsletter, enter a monthly drawing, and read a short story on my “Romance” tab.
Follow me on Twitter @SusanPageDavis
The Reliable Cowboy: Isabella Johnston lost her husband to the sea, and she wants to get as far from the coast as she can. When she leaves Maine to marry a cowboy in Wyoming Territory, she reasons that Edwin Gray will be safe on the ranch. But every time he is late for an engagement, she finds herself worrying. What could be horrible enough to make him late for their wedding? This novella is #3 in the Christmas Mail Order Angels series, a collection of 11 books.
Doesn’t The Reliable Cowboy sound entertaining? Susan, thank you for being my guest today and for sharing your inspiration with us. I like how you apply your own experiences and emotions to the stories you write. All great authors do that well, and I’m glad to see you’re one of them.
Friends, how have books helped you sort through your emotions? Have you ever connected with a character in a book because they’re going through similar circumstances to you?
Do you have any book-related questions for our guest, Susan Page Davis?
Thanks for stopping by today! I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to drop by next Monday for my latest article.