Guest Interview and Giveaway: Historical Fiction with Susan Anne Mason

***Update: Here are the randomly-chosen winners of the ARC of Irish Meadows! Winners, please email agreen@bethanyhouse.com with your mailing address so I can send you your ARC!**

IrishWinners

Today, we’re welcoming Susan Anne Mason to the blog! Susan’s very first historical novel, Irish Meadows, will be releasing in July. Since she and her books might be new to you, I thought I’d invite you to get to know her a little better.

Amy: Every author has a unique how-I-got-published story. What’s yours?

Susan Anne MasonSusan: Getting published was a long and winding road, taking over ten years! That being said, I realize now that I wasn’t ready to be published earlier on in my career. I needed to learn and grow.

I entered Irish Meadows in a writing contest called “Fiction from the Heartland” — mainly because I saw that editor Dave Long of Bethany House was a judge in the finalist round. I hoped my entry would make it to the finals, mainly to get feedback from a Bethany House editor. I thought this would help me get a feel for the type of writing they were looking for. In the meantime, I pitched the story to agents and editors at a national conference and got a lot of blank stares and negative feedback. So I really didn’t have high expectations for the contest.

To my great surprise and delight, Irish Meadows won the contest and Dave requested the full manuscript! Not long after, he told me he loved the story and was going to present the book at an upcoming acquisitions meeting. About a week later, I got an email indicating they wanted to offer a 3-book contract. Final approval was given and the rest as they say is history!

So I can’t stress enough the importance of entering contests! It only takes one person to love your work!

Amy: What has been the hardest part of the writing or editing process so far? What have you enjoyed more than you expected?  

Susan: As far as actually writing the story, getting the plot nailed down is the hardest thing for me. Characters come easily, but getting the timeline and plot right remains a challenge.

As far as the editing process goes, I have been very lucky with my edits. However I just finished a round of revision for the sequel to Irish Meadows, called A Worthy Heart, which were extremely challenging. I had to change some key plot elements which meant following these changes through the whole story. For instance, moving a scene from the middle of the book to the beginning changes many little details throughout the rest of the story. This was quite daunting, and I only hope I did the story justice and that my editor will be happy with them.

Amy: With Irish Meadows, what came to you first? A bit of the plot, a character, a theme, a particular situation or line of dialogue?

Susan: To answer this, I had to go back and look at my initial notes for this story! I had written down: Ideas for an Irish Family Saga along the lines of The Thornbirds!  I loved the premise of The Thornbirds, where a priest falls in love with a young woman in outback Australia— the classic forbidden love scenario really appealed to me. I had also recently read a book that included two complete romances, and I loved that format. So I decided to concentrate on two of the O’Leary daughters and their intertwined paths to romance. Both fall in love with men who are deemed ‘forbidden’ by their father and must defy him to find their happily ever after. So, I suppose the idea of the family came first, and I built a plot around them.

IrishMeadows_mck.inddAmy: When readers finish Irish Meadows, what would you be excited to hear that they took away from it?

Susan: I would love it if the readers fell in love with the whole O’Leary clan! I would also love it if readers got a sense of the theme of the book — that of being true to oneself. Each of the characters struggles with having to do things to please someone else, things that might go against their own individual values, and each one has to come to terms with this in his or her own way.

And thirdly, the message that I love to get across in all my books is the unconditional love of God for every one of us. A message of hope and love and worthiness.

Amy: Any encouragement you’d like to give to other aspiring writers out there?

Susan: My advice to aspiring writers is to never give up! If you really want to be an author, it takes hard work. Persistence and perseverance are key. Learn the craft and keep writing, because the more you write, the better you’ll get. Eventually you will find your own path to publication!

Obviously, since Irish Meadows doesn’t release until July, we can’t give away any copies of the final book. However, we’re doing something extra-special and giving away Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) to two readers! (That means you get to read it a month before anyone else!) To enter, please comment below with the time period of history you’d most like to live in (besides our own), and why. Winners will be posted at noon Central on Tuesday, June 2, so check back then to see if you’ve won!

108 thoughts on “Guest Interview and Giveaway: Historical Fiction with Susan Anne Mason

  1. I gravitate to 1860 era for some reason. I like all historical, but this time period is very challenging for woman to marry for love or to even find true love.
    Loved this interview and finding new authors.
    Blessings

  2. I always wanted to live around the late 1800 – early 1900. That’s when my beloved Grandpa was born. It is amazing how inventions he saw in his lifetime. And to meet all of those aunts and uncles he always talked about.

  3. More than one era but guess I’d pick 1940s. I enjoy reading about women and their lives during WWII and adjusting to life after war ended.

  4. Hi! There are so many different time periods that I am fascinated by. Many time periods, I would love to experience for just a day…being on the Oregon Trail in the 19th century or life during the Civil War. As far as to actually live in, though, I think I would chose the 1950s. A time before technology overwhelmed our country. Women’s clothes/appearance were so ladylike. The culture seem (to me) to be so much more innocent/modest. I love hearing my parents talk about their childhoods during that decade.

  5. I would love to be an advance reader for this book! I love the late 1800’s and early 1900’s; it’s all about the clothes! The manners, close-knit families, ingenuity, statesmanship, etc.

  6. I would most like to live in the 1910 -1920’s I just think it was such a period of change and development. It must have been a very interesting time to live in.

  7. I would love to have lived during the late 1800s, early 1900s when fashion was modest but beautiful and so many amazing things were happening such as the first airplane flight.

  8. I really enjoy reading about any era pre-telephone and light bulb. I love all of my modern conveniences, but I often wonder about the many hardships and challenges that came with lack of these things. Knowing that my grandmother had seventeen children and no washer or dryer or indoor plumbing boggles my mind. I like to read about it but I’m not so sure I would be so good at living it.

  9. I love the post Civil War era. Times are difficult for people then but I think it is a time of being thankful for what you have, not what you have lost. A time for families to pull together

  10. I love history but as an African-American History has not always treated us well but l’ld love those pioneers like Phyllis Wheatley and Frederick Douglas so I guess around the 1860’s when all the drama in the states started!!

  11. I have always enjoyed reading about the Regency time period because I find the clothes, manners, social events, and furnishings fascinating to read about.

  12. Thanks for sharing this author and how she became published, interesting story. I find myself wanting to meet these characters and know this author a little better. I love reading historical books and can imagine myself living the the late 1800’s when time was simpler without cars-planes and all the tech stuff around now. women cared for their homes and learned to cook and sew well, raised their children and there was not so much violence.

  13. The Regency period so I could meet Jane Austen even though she might write Snarky things about me to her sister.

  14. I love all historicals, but my favorite is the mid to late 1700s. The thought of entering undiscovered, wild territory, land never seen by eyes other than Native Americans, is fascinating. Also, the forefathers fighting for this new country’s independence is inspiring.

    Late 1800s and the turn of the century 1900s, is a time period bursting with new inventions, changes in society, and the continual expansion of the country. I enjoy reading about that time period too.

    Thanks for the chance to win Susan’s debut. Great interview!
    Kerry
    Candidkerry@gmail.com

  15. Interesting interview! Congratulations on getting published! I’d like to go back and live in the late 1800’s, turn of the century, to meet my great-grandparents and hear their stories of how they came west. So many interesting changes in America during that time period too. Thanks for doing a giveaway. 🙂

  16. 1940’s because women were getting stronger and working outside of the home. They had a little more freedom. Also, people still dressed stylishly when traveling and going about their business, better than the go as you like of today. Men seemed so mature and responsible (and handsome with their hats). 🙂

  17. it is a tie between late 1800’s wild west and the Regency/Victorian England era. I love reading both. Thanks for the chance to win!

  18. I think I belong in the 1950’s, when we were getting all the gadgets to make life easier, but before they started taking over life. However, I like to read about all time periods.

  19. I have always thought it would be wonderful to live during the Victorian era. Times were changing quickly, many inventions were being created, women were gaining freedom but still treated as special, so many great authors. What a great time period!

  20. I really enjoy the Revolution War time period. I love learning new facts about how we got started as a nation, and every book I’ve read based in that period has been filled with suspense and many different plots. I love that intrigue and dilemmas. 🙂

  21. There are several time periods I’m fascinated with, number one probably being the 16th century in England. (Minus the plague.)

  22. I think I have a tie between the early Christian church of Northern Ireland (1600’s) and Europe 1930’s. I find the majority of the books I read to be around both of these time periods.

  23. Congratulations to Susan on having her first book published! It was very interesting to learn about your journey to publication. Regarding periods of history, it would be interesting to experience life in the 19teens and 1920s.

  24. I would like to live in the mid-1800s because women were just starting to attend college and I would love to be a part of the struggle to make higher education for women commonplace

  25. I love the Regency period! It started by reading Julie Klassen’s books. I already loved historical fiction, but the Regency period really struck a cord with me. I love all the traditions, mannerisms, values, and the proper treatment of a lady when you are courting her! I love reading about the very elite and the debutant balls for young women coming of age. It’s all so romantic! Thanks for the chance to win!

  26. I would love to live in the 1950’s when life was simpler, family was important, and there were no electronics. Everyone waited at the mailbox for real letters or by the phone for a phone call to actually talk to someone. The 1950’s…where a date was a real date, anticipation not email or dating services. The only thing I would change in the 50’s would be the prejudice that seemed to be the norm of that period.

  27. I enjoy a lot of historical time periods, but I think the revolutionary war era would be interesting. Just being there at the birth of the nation.

  28. I have always wanted to live in the late 1700’s and in the 1800’s. Especially around the time of the Revolutionary war! I have always wanted to be able to fight for a good cause. For the freedom of people and for God! 🙂

  29. I would love to live in the early 20th century. I think that World War I was a period of change for social classes and women. For the first time, they started to imagine a different world.

  30. Early to late 1800’s because i love reading about the challenges and experiences that faced people as they settled into different areas of the country

  31. I think I would like to visit the mid 1800s to the end of the century. There was a lot of social change during that period, and also the trauma of the Civil War. But for Wisconsin, my home state, that is when most of our small communities started. Immigrants were arriving daily and through hard work, they made this midwest state their dream come true.

  32. Congratulations on the release of your new novel! It sounds so good. I would love to be able to get an advanced copy if possible. If I could live in any time period I would choose the 1870’s/1880’s North America. I grew up on Little House on the Prairie and always play-acted that I lived in Walnut Grove with the Ingalls. To this day I have a fondness for that show and book series.

  33. I love the Victorian Era, it is my favorite, but I think I would like to live in the 40’s or 50’s when life was so simple and families were closer.

  34. I have always loved reading “prairie” books, so if I have to give up my modern conveniences, I would go there.

  35. I would most like to live in the 1870 or 1880s. It is far enough away from the Civil War to have a nation beginning to recover but still recent enough to affect the lives of families and relationships with others. There is still a rawness to the country that requires people to work their hardest and their efforts are still shaping the nation. I like how women are teetering on the edge of new roles and expectations and are really having to determine who they are and how they fit within society/home/workforce. Let’s be honest too, I like the clothing styles.

  36. Hard question…I love history and there are so many different periods of time that I would love to visit, but I think I would like to have lived during the time of Jesus’ ministy. I always wondered how I would have reacted to the gospel message if I was born during that time. 🙂

  37. I love the 1890’s to early 1900’s. The struggles were many, but the reward great. Families had to work together just to make it through the day, and faith was an important part of their life.

  38. With the fantasy part of myself, I’d like to live in either the Regency era, Gilded Age, or Edwardian era because of the lovely clothes. But the realistic part of me shudders of having to deal with the less than beautiful aspects of those time periods, such as no Air Conditioning!

  39. I think I would like to live in the Little House on the Prairie days but just not sure I’m enough of a pioneer for that. Always love finding new-to-me-authors…thanks for the opportunity to win. Linda

  40. i would have loved to live in the 1800’s! It seemed the way of life was simple. I’m not sure I could have worked hard as some people did but I’m sure I would have tried!

  41. Times of great philosophical change–such as England at the time of Wilberforce or New England right after the American Revolution–tweak my interest of how everyday people responded to their world views being reshaped before their eyes. As a former costumer, I am also a sucker for eras with really great women’s fashions with lush fabrics and gorgeous lines. I’ve been a pre-reader for some other authors, and I would love to get a chance to post one of the first reviews of your book!

  42. I gravite more towards the time of the Jane Austen era because I have always felt that I am out of place here in America due to having such standards that I strive to live up to.

  43. 1800s because I’d love to live off the land on a ranch in the west with cowboy’s when life wasn’t so crazy and you enjoyed quiet life more.

  44. I would loved to live back in the Pirate, American Outlaw, or Viking eras. I am a huge history lover, history was my favorite class back in High School. I would love to grow up in others, but the eras that I listed are the top 3 choices. Any of the wars before/during the Civil War would be interesting. I can only read books that are based or have historical aspect in the books.

  45. Thanks for the great interview. I can’t wait to read about the O’Leary clan. As for what time period I’d like to live in besides our own…hmmm…tough question. There are so many fascinating time periods I love to read about. I think the late 1700s, during the Colonial days, would have been an interesting time period to experience.

  46. That’s such a neat story! The world of publishing seems so beyond me, and hearing that rejection wouldhave shut me down. I’m so glad the publisher thought otherwise! And hmmm it’s so hard to pick a different time period! While so many appeal for different reasons, I think the Gilded Age has always stuck out to me, with all the balls and courting rules! {though I’m sure it could also be torture as well for those reasons} I guess it just left an impression on me from different books I’ve read. The simplicity of life in the earlier years though, the 1700s to 1800s {in the midwest and the later years in England}, drew me in as well. Even with their many challenges, so many different eras in those years just look fascinating! I guess I’m really bad at giving one answer…oh well!

  47. I would like to live in Regency England. I love everything about that time; clothes, manners, balls, afternoon tea, I could go on and on.

  48. I would love to have lived in time period 5 which is 1776-1900. This was a time of nationalism and independence. Movements for human rights and equality. This was a time when people began thinking outside the box, thus creating spectacular things. Women’s social status was beginning to rise. This time period was a time of advancement and joy. We were in between the revolutionary war and the world wars. America was the leading country that seemed to have no end to its growth. Overall it seems to me that this is the ideal time to be alive.

  49. I would love to live in the 1880s during the huge push for westward expansion! It would be a time of trial and adventure. I have a lot of stories about the ancestor I’m named for in that time period. I would love to see the things she saw when her family settled in Texas.

  50. I think I’d like to live either during the Gilded Age (but only if I was rich LOL) or in the 1800s Wild West! Both of them sound like they’d be quite the adventure. Thanks so much for the giveaways!

  51. Quite possibly Edwardian b/c of the significant societal advances of those previously excluded from possessing power, including women, were now enabled to make gains in many areas. [and of course the fashions do play a positive role as well] ‘ ‘)
    Thx for the awesome opp to win a copy!

  52. I like living now when I have a huge choice of immersing myself through books in any time period I choose. I love historical fiction and enjoy many different time periods as well as different countries.

  53. I have always been fascinated with Regency England or the Victorian Era. I’m a huge Jan Austen fan and I just love everything about it. Men were expected to be gentlemen and ladies well, ladies. 🙂

  54. I would have liked to live in the times when Jesus was alive. I would be curious to know if I would have been receptive to his teachings.

  55. I have always been fascinated with the Civil War era but I recently read a post stating all of the achievements and accomplishments that occurred in the 1880’s so I guess the Last four decades of the 19th century would be my answer. Thank you Amy for this Introduction to Susan.
    Blessings!
    Connie

  56. I bet my book club would love Irish Meadows. (By the way, Susan, the cover is stunning.) I, too, believe in contests. I was a winner in the Jerry Jenkins Operation Frist Novel contest and my first book, Double Header, comes out in early December. It’s a great boost to an author!

  57. Great interview! It’s always good to hear about how people get noticed by publishers. If I could live in any other time period, it would probably be the post-Revolutionary War period. That was a time of expansion and exploration and unlimited possibilities.

  58. The time period I would most like to live in would be the 1940’s or 1950’s. I just really like that time in history and find it interesting.

    ~Alisha L.

  59. Wonderful interview!! I love Susan Mason as a person, so I cannot wait to read her first historical book (no need to enter me in the drawing, as I plan to purchase the book when it’s released). 🙂 For some reason the turn of the century (around 1900) fascinates me – – I only wish my grandmother was still living, because I could ask her so many questions. Blessings, Patti Jo Moore

  60. Great interview! Congrats on your new release, Sue!
    I *think* I’d enjoy living in the time right after the American Revolution. I can’t be sure, since I’m spoiled to modern conveniences. 🙂 1880s and medieval is also a favorite time to read about.

  61. I love the cover and can’t wait to read it! I tend to really love the mid to late 1800’s. I think because of my family settling in South Dakota during this time(immigrated from Sweden) but lately I have so enjoyed reading about the Pre-Revolutionary War period (of America). Honestly, I love it all! Thanks for the opportunity to read this book early!

  62. I love the idea of an Irish family saga. Personally, I would have loved to have lived in the early 20th century. My grandmother, whom I was very close to, was born in 1906 and her memories were very vivid until the day she passed. I loved asking her questions regarding her memories of past historical events. She lived through 4 major wars/conflicts and recalled the Titanic sinking like my children remember 9/11. Being the history-buff that I am, I relished her stories. I, sometimes, long for the strong work ethics and patriotism of that time in American history.

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