Susan, welcome to Writers on Reading! Congratulations on your newest romance, Irish Meadows, released this month. I was privileged to read the first pages in a contest you formerly entered, so I can say it looks like a sumptuous read, folks! Sue, with several contemporary, and now a historical romance, to your credit, when you’re browsing for a book, do you find any theme draws your attention more than others?
I love themes of redemption and forgiveness, for example, when a character with a less-than-stellar past, who has newly committed to leading a Christian life, struggles to find acceptance and love. I seem to portray these themes in my writing and love to read it as well.
A definite theme there then. One we can continue to look forward to in your writing I hope! What do you look for when choosing your next reading adventure?
I usually look for new releases from my favorite authors, but if looking for something totally new, I go for the story premise on the back cover and/or an intriguing front cover!
Well, that leads me right into the question I planned to ask next: As a writer, you should know better, but as a reader, you know we all do it—and you just said you did it too! So, when did you last “judge a book by the cover”? How did it work out?
I ordered a book that I had really admired the cover of—it was a mansion set in fall foliage. The book sounded a bit out of my usual brand, more like a mystery with some romance, and I ended up being disappointed in the story. The mystery aspect was fine, but the romance (my most important criteria) didn’t end up materializing.
Releasing Irish Meadows this month, and Healing the Widower’s Heart last February, must have put you on a pretty tight time schedule. Do you find time to read during the months you spend writing a book or with deadlines ahead is it either/or for you? If so, what did you read while working on Irish Meadows? If not, did you treat yourself to a good book when you sent this one off to your publisher?
I normally read every night before I go to sleep no matter what I’m working on. But I honestly cannot remember what I was reading when I wrote Irish Meadows. I wrote the bulk of it during November Novel Writing Month in 2011. So that was a while back!
Indeed that was a while ago. From what I’ve heard Irish Meadows had a bit of a journey getting into our hands. What was the last book you absolutely couldn't put down? Why?
I recently read a few stories that had me reading into the wee hours of the night. Always on My Mind by Susan May Warren (love her writing!), Love’s Fortune by Laura Frantz (another favorite author), and I just finished To Win HerFavor by Tamera Alexander (so good!! Tammy’s characters stay with you for days!)
Well, those are some books to add to our reading lists. Happily I’ve read Love’s Fortune. I love Laura Frantz, too! (Though I’ll argue that her first two were a tad more to my tastes.) When I’m judging books by their covers, Tamera Alexander’s certainly stand out, but I just haven’t had time to get into such thick books, so they’re still waiting for me—some already sitting on my bookshelf. Sounds like you’ve had some great reading lately—how about long ago? Were you the kind of kid/teen who loved reading? Which novel do you first remember reading?
The first books I read were The Bobbsey Twins. I think I was about six. I’d get a book for Christmas and disappear to read it! After that it was the Nancy Drew Mysteries series!
Aw…I so fun to think disappearing like that. Really brings your childhood reading experiences to life. And the Nancy Drews…I don’t think anything will ever compare to the wonder and joy of grabbing another unread Nancy Drew off the bookshelf. So, when did you know you wanted to write? Did any or multiple books influence this desire?
As my dedication in Irish Meadows mentions, my Grade 6 teacher first gave me the idea to write a book. I wrote a messy mystery/adventure during my teens. Then life got too busy, and I stopped writing. Many years later, I picked up a Nora Roberts romance (I had never heard of her!) and got totally hooked! I started reading all the Nora Roberts books I could get, and then the ‘writing bug’ hit again!
How fun! I think we’re all gonna be glad it struck you again. LOL Has any book stuck with you recently? What created the lasting impressions?
Since I’ve just finished To Win Her Favor I’ll talk about that—another masterpiece by Tamera Alexander! Her hero, Cullen McGrath, is strong and noble and kind—very swoon worthy to be sure. Tamera gets his Irish brogue down perfectly. Her heroine, Maggie, trains and rides racehorses. She is spunky and spirited! Set in the south, with plantations and newly freed slaves, the characters just leap off the page. It’s amazing how the theme of racial intolerance is still so relevant today. People could learn a lot from reading this book!
More than a pretty cover then. With summer in full bloom, what is on your to-read list? And what is your ideal summer reading experience?
I have KarenWitemeyer’s latest A Worthy Pursuit, and I’m looking forward to Susan MayWarren’s The Wonder of You, as well as Christine Johnson’s Love’s Rescue. And I just got Elizabeth Camden’s Beyond All Dreams from the library!
My ideal reading experience is lying on a quiet beach in the shade, waves lapping nearby, with my toes in the sand!
That is an ideal summer reading experience and some great books to share it with. Is there a book you are looking forward to rereading?
Meant to beMine by Becky Wade. I loved that book!! On the secular side, I want to reread The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, which I originally listened to in the car.
Thanks for visiting with us, Sue! It’s so fun getting to know your reading habits! Folks, you can continue to connect with Susan Anne Mason—and find out more about her books!---at the links below---but first her bio!
Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She particularly enjoys exploring the themes of forgiveness and redemption in her stories. Irish Meadows is her first historical novel and won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Author chapter of RWA.
Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Learn more about Susan and her books at www.susanannemason.com.
FB Author page: https://www.facebook.com/susan.anne.mason.333