Saturday, September 01, 2007

When I Was Just a Kid...Susan Page Davis

Susan Page Davis grew up in Belgrade, Maine, a tiny town that touches several lakes and is therefore a resort area. The population doubles its size in summer as people from every state come to stay at their “camps.”

Susan says, "My father was the game warden there for many years, and our family had lived in town for seven generations."

Susan always made up stories and enjoyed make-believe play.

"I have a few stories I wrote as a child, including Marooned on an Island and House of the Dead. Oh, yeah. Nowadays my books have titles like Frasier Island and Homicide at Blue Heron Lake."

(Anyone else recognize a pattern set here?)

Susan was the youngest of five children, and admits to feeling an extreme rivalry with the sister next to her in age.

Susan explains,"Now, in our adulthood, I can see that it was mostly in my head, and Mim and I are very close. But there were times when we demanded that our bunkbeds be dismantled so we could sleep on opposite sides of the room and drew a line down the floor between."

Susan also has a nickname.

"They tell me that when I was very young I saw the Disney cartoon 'The Water Babies,' and I insisted on being called “Water Baby” for quite some time. When my siblings want to get a rise out of me 50 years later, they still call me 'Water Baby.'"

Susan remembers a wonderful childhood in a big old house with loving parents and tolerant siblings.

And what makes you into the writer you are today?
Susan says,"We had lots of books, and both my parents were avid readers. We had space to ramble, play Indians, build tree houses, and keep a horse when I got older. I always thought we were poor, but now I see we were very rich, though the income was small.

Let's get a peek into the childhood of Susan:

Childhood Ambition:
When I was very young, I thought I’d like to own a hotel and be able to put mail and keys in all those pigeonholes behind the desk for guests. Later I thought I’d like to follow my father’s footsteps as a game warden. In the 8-to-10 age period, I salvaged outdated report forms from his den wastebasket and filled out dozens of fictional boating accidents, crop damage, and night hunting reports.

Fondest Memory:
Going with my Dad in the old station wagon and bringing home ten sheep (nine ewes and a ram) to add to our small farm’s livestock. Also, my oldest sister Pat used to “play school” with me in the evening when I was about four. She started teaching me French, geography, and other subjects that I thought were just wonderful and very grown up.

Proudest Moment:
Then—When my kindergarten teacher wrote my mother a note (and I could read it) saying she thought I should skip into second grade the next year.

Now—There are so many to choose from! Seeing all of our six children together again at our older son’s wedding was great. He went off to college a week before our youngest was born, so they haven’t all six been together much. Seeing what our family had become was priceless.

Biggest Challenge as a child or teen:
I always felt I was the uncoordinated one. Of four sisters, I was the only one who never made the cheerleading squad in our tiny school, never could do a real cartwheel, and never could whistle right (only breathing in). Eventually I came to terms with this and found there WERE things I could do (swimming, horseback riding, etc.). I was horribly shy, but have gotten over that by working as a news correspondent, which forces you to buttonhole strangers with the most embarrassing questions! (I still can’t whistle or do a cartwheel).

My First Job:
Picking strawberries for 8 cents a quart.

Childhood indulgence:
Mickey Mouse Club paper dolls. I still have Karen and Cubby.

Favorite Outfit as a child:
White T-shirt with a blue color block on the left third of the front, and two little fish swimming in the blue part. With shorts or khakis.

Favorite Childhood Play Time Activity:
Playing “Bonanza” in the upstairs of our barn. We used old bed headboards and footboards for the false fronts of buildings in our own Virginia City. And jumping in the hayloft full of hay.

Favorite Childhood Movie:
The Wizard of Oz. We didn’t have a TV at first, but our mother let us go to the neighbors’ and watch Oz when it came on once a year.

Favorite Childhood Book:

Miss Pickerel Goes to Mars (and thousands more!)

Childhood Hero:
That would be a toss up between my Dad, Teddy Roosevelt, and Little Joe Cartwright (we got a TV later.) I guess Dad wins, because he was really there. My father taught me a love of history and heritage. He instilled in all of us respect for family and forbears. I’ve written eight historical novels so far for Heartsong Presents, and I often think of Dad as I’m researching. In his last few years, if I told him what time period I was writing about, he would scour yard sales and used book shops to bring me appropriate material.

You can find more about Susan on her web page. And you will want to visit this page as she gives away one of her books each month. The winner chooses the title preferred.

She's also a host at Keep Me In Suspense, a site for writers of Christian mystery and suspense.

And today is the release date for Finding Marie (Harvest House,) a romantic suspense sequel to Frasier Island.Frasier Island was the October 2007 featured selection in Books-A-Million’s Faithpoint Book Club.

Finding Marie
Marie Belanger finds a computer flash drive in her luggage at the airport and learns the woman she sat beside on the plane from Tokyo was murdered. Her journey from San Francisco to Maine becomes a nightmare. Marie runs for her life, not knowing the significance of the data she carries. Her husband, Navy Lieutenant Pierre Belanger, contacts his best friend, George Hudson, and together they set out on a search for Marie that spans the country. Knowing the stakes—Marie’s life and betrayal of an international plot—drives them. But they seem to stay one step behind their enemies, who are a step behind Marie.

The next book will be Just Cause (releases January 2008 from Love Inspired Suspense.)

Homicide at Blue Heron Lake, written with her lovely daughter, Megan Davis(releases February 2008 from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries).

The Lumberjack's Lady is now out from Heartsong Presents. (Susan's bio from Heartsong.)


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Susan. I love the interview. Crystal, this is such fun.
I just read the Lumberjack's Lady with this month's Heartsongs. I loved, loved, loved your hero.
Very nice work.
Thanks for putting out the word that you were being Crystal was serving Grilled Davis for this week's lunch.

Lisa Harris said...

Loved reading this interview, Susan!

Anonymous said...

What a fun interview! I'll bet you enjoyed answering the questions as much as I enjoyed reading the interview. Much of what you said made me think of my own childhood, although as an only child, I got to skip sibling rivalry. My grandmother had a washing machine like the one in the main picture.

I also enjoyed seeing the cute picture of you as a girl.

Love, Tamela

Susan Page Davis said...

Thank you for stopping by, ladies. This was a very fun interview, unlike I'd ever done before. Crystal has a way with questions that bring out the nostalgia.