Susan Page Davis is the author of more than sixty published novels. She’s always interested in the unusual happenings of the past. 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. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky.
You can find Susan online at these links:
Susan Page Davis is giving away a copy of her novel Piece By Piece. To enter leave a comment on this post. Drawing will be announced in a comment next Thursday.
The Odd Things I Read About
by Susan Page Davis
Oh, the odd things I read about.
I write about a variety of subjects, and so my research takes me down many side trails. As a history major, I love reading and writing about things of the past. Some of the odder things I’ve found myself studying lately: the jumping cactus, natural and man made sapphires, historical shipwrecks, stained glass, and chimney flue covers.
The cactus was for a western romance I’m working on now, set in Arizona. I was blessed to be able to go to Arizona in January, where I actually saw some chollas, or jumping cactus. I was warned not to stand too close, as they might let go of their toxic spines. Some folks even say the throw them.
Also for that story, I’ve been reading about Apache, Yavapai, and Mojave Indians, stagecoach lines in the Arizona Territory, the early days of Prescott, Indian sign language, and several other topics of interest in that area.
For another project, I boned up on the Bounty mutiny, always an interest of mine, along with Pitcairn Island, and the ship Pandora, which was sent to hunt down the mutineers and take them back to England for trial.
For a novel I wrote with my son, The Seafaring Women of the Vera B., I studied a great many topics: sailing, navigation, colonial Australia, Indonesian culture, the Dutch East India Company, birds of Australia, flora of the islands, and knives of the Orient, to name just a few.
You can buy The Seafaring Women of the Vera B at these links:
I’m also working on books in the Tearoom Mysteries series from Guideposts, a series of cozy mysteries written by several different authors. For this, I’ve studied tea growing and harvesting, antiques, architecture, Maine law enforcement, laws for establishments which serve food, and modern European artists. This is also where the sapphires and chimney flues came in.
To my surprise, I learned that sapphires don’t have to be blue. They can also be pink, yellow, and other hues. Blue is the most popular, but natural sapphires are usually a lighter blue than we expect. Manmade sapphires are usually made a darker blue, because that is what the customers prefer.
The flue cover played an important part in book 1 of the series. That’s a thing you stick over the hole in the wall that is left when you take out a stovepipe. I grew up in an 1850s house that had these, so I knew what they were. My editors, however, needed a visual lesson.
I love being a writer, and I love the variety of things I get to study for my occupation. I’m one of those people who hates doing the same thing over and over, so I think I’ve found my niche!
Today I’m giving away a copy of my book Piece by Piece, from the Mysteries of Silver Peak series. For this book, I studied up on how stained glass artists do their work, and how the craft has changed over the years.
In Piece by Piece, Sadie Speers finds a lovely piece of blue glass propped against the outside of her kitchen window. She has no idea where it came from, but when she mentions it to her friend Roz, she learns that Roz also found one, but hers is creamy white. Her grandson Theo announces that his senior class is going to open an old time capsule buried in 1950 and replace it with one full of modern memorabilia. At her antique shop, Sadie’s curiosity is piqued when a customer reveals that she found a bright green piece of glass hanging from her doorknob that morning. Join me in the adventure as Sadie figures out how they all fit together.