Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Author Behind the Story Series - Susan G. Mathis

Greetings from the surface of the sun! Well, actually, we're a little north of there, but close. "What's he talking about?" Jim Gaffigan, famous comedian, has a three-minute stand up routine on Disney wherein he likens standing in line at the theme park in Orlando in July to standing in line at the DMV on the surface of the sun. How true it is. Not just the Disney analogy, but the sun one. This summer has been brutal. I'll bet Colorado is cooler. And that's where our next guest in The Author Behind the Story series lives.

Please welcome to the sweltering, humid, "Why do I still live here?" (Oh, yeah...the ocean) Florida front porch, author Susan G. Mathis!



Susan, pretend you just met us in the Barnes & Noble checkout line. We are holding one of your books. We see you, and say, "Hey, aren't you her?" as we point to the back cover. Who is Susan G. Mathis?

I’m a versatile writer and author of five books including a novel, two non-fiction books, and two picture books. Crazy, I know. I love doing life with my husband, Dale, traveling, water aerobics, serving others, and enjoying time on Skype and in person with my four adorable granddaughters who live in South Africa.

So, you have already told us you're married and that you have children. Can you tell us a little about them?

I’m happily married to the man of my dreams, my co-author for my first two premarital books, my travel partner, and my best friend. He’s God’s beautiful gift to me.

I have two wonderful adult children, a son who lives in Sayulitas, Mexico, and a daughter (with four daughters) who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. How I ended up with two international kids boggles my mind!

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?

My mother quips that I started my writing career when I signed my crayon drawings—on the foyer wall—with a great big “S”! Though I’m not sure that was the start I wanted, I can’t remember not writing.

My journey has been multi-faceted. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path. As the Former Editorial Director at Focus on the Family of 12 unique publications and Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine, I’ve done a lot of writing and editing. Then, in 2008, Tyndale published the first of my two premarital books—Countdown for Couples, and then The ReMarriage Adventure. Last year my two children’s picture books were released—Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. And now I’m a debut novelist with The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. It’s been a really fun journey!

I think you are the second former Language Arts teacher I've had on as a guest. Being one myself, I'm thinking the odds are high that many novelists had a previous life as an ELA teacher. But you had the added bonus of working in the newspaper industry as well as for Focus on the Family! Or as one of our daughters used to call it, Poke Us in the Family.

What educational background do you have?

I grew up in Watertown, NY, got my first degree in NY and my second degree here in Colorado. I’ve taught school, been a staff writer, been an editor, and now write from home. Yippee!

Watertown, isn't that where they get all the snow off the great lakes? We lived in western NY for almost eight years. We've seen out share of blizzards.

Where and why do you live where you do now?

I live on 5 acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains and Pike’s Peak. With such a beautiful view, writing is inspirational. The only thing missing is the ocean.

We've always wanted to vacation out there. Never been west of I-35, though. Why do you live where you live?

I live on 5 acres overlooking the Rocky Mountains and Pike’s Peak. With such a beautiful view, writing is inspirational. The only thing missing is the ocean.

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you? 

I love our current home, but since my husband has Parkinsons' disease, one day we’ll have to transition to a one-level place. Must haves would be a view, room for our kids to visit, and near our loved ones.

When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?

Hah! I just texted our salesman about this. We’re looking for a Nissan Rogue or Murano.

Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?


When I was writing my first two premarital books for Tyndale, I was working full-time as an editorial director at Focus on the Family, managing five magazines and four parenting newsletters. I worked about 60 hours a week and wrote at night and on weekends. The “unusual event” is that somehow, God multiplied my time and energy, and I don’t remember that time as at all stressful or hard. I still look back on it with amazement.

The Fabric of Hope
I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category, and if you can, tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food: Decadent Lobster
Favorite Drink: Tea (in a lovely china teacup)
Favorite Song: At the moment it’s “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own; besides the Bible): Depends on the season of life. I’m always trying to grow and learn. Right now, I’m reading writing craft books.
Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm youplans to give you hope and a future.” In fact, my novel is about this concept.
Favorite Movie: Anne of Green Gables
Favorite Actor or Actress:  Tom Hanks
Favorite Novel (other than your own): There are simply too many to list!
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Ditto!
Favorite Sport: I hated football until a friend patiently explained it to me. Now I love it.
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): Go Broncos!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: English and History
Favorite Subject Now: English and History
Favorite Teacher in School: John Cecil, a Christian geology professor who was instrumental in leading me to Christ
Favorite Time of the Year: Christmas, of course.
Favorite Place to Vacation: Beach/Ocean, anywhere, anytime!


If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?

My daddy, who died three months before I was born.

I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure (isn't the Christian life wonderful this way?...we CAN know, be sure...) you will get all eternity to sit down and chat!

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?

Queen Esther. What a strong woman!

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done?        

In 2000 I went on a missions trip to China. The day after we got there, the team leader asked to me to take a team of five teenagers into Inner Mongolia for five days. I was the only adult besides the Chinese interpreter. We took a train for 15 hours, sleeping with goats and chickens nearby, to a Mongolian city that had never had an American there. We had a wonderful time, which was broadcast on Mongolian TV, and because I was the only adult American, they called me President Susan! Crazy times sharing God’s love with thousands.

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your work and In Your Life by Spencer Johnson really helped me transition from working in the marketplace to working from home.

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you? 

I check out the reviews first. I love historical and historical romance, especially mid-to-late 1800s. It can’t have a poorly designed cover, or I pass it by.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

My life verse is Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I live by it!

Susan, it's been a pleasure! That's for taking the time to stop by and give our readers a glimpse into your life.

Readers, if you wish to get to know Susan even more, here are several ways you can do so:


Thanks, everybody, for stopping by. I'm going inside now where the A/C is cold, the lemonade is colder, and taunt the mosquitoes as they try to get inside through the window.

Oh, and one more thing. Feel free to follow my blog!

Until next month,

Kevin
Kevin's
soon-to-be-rereleased
2013 BRMCWC Selah
Award-winning
Debut Novel





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