How did you develop a ' love of story'?
My mother read to me and my two younger brothers. She used different voices. We talked about what we were reading and built great anticipation over what might happen in the next chapter. My play, with dolls, paper dolls, and friends, was a story, with plots and drama, lots of dialogue. I didn't know it then, but I was creating stories.
Moms reading seems to be a common theme with writers developing a love of story. :)
What is your 'how I got published' story?
My first books, Avery's Battlefield and Avery's Crossroad started out as one big book. It was with a book bundler in London who took it to the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna. There it was picked up by two large publishers in New York, one of which also wanted film rights. It was all very exciting. After the book went to NY with the agents several months went by. Finally when I heard from them they explained the publishers were asking for some specific changes, which the agents knew I wouldn't agree to, and they were trying to negotiate something softer. When they told me the changes were to make it "edgier," I knew the agents were right. My character is a 14 year-old Quaker farm boy, in 1861. I created him, I knew him, I'd lived with him for 5 years. I'd worked very hard to get all the historical trappings exactly right. I'm very easy and quick to make suggested edits, but this made no sense. It was a deal breaker. A few months later I attended a Christian Writers Conference. How that happened is a miracle story in itself! When one of the presenters assured her class we never had to compromise our values to get published, I thanked her later, explaining it was important for me to hear that. She wanted to hear my story. Then she said, "If you don't mind, I think I'd like to have a look at that." She was the acquisitions editor at BJU Press Journey Forth, who liked my clean, wholesome Quaker boy.
Wow! How exciting. :) How does faith play a part in your writing?
My faith is who I am. It wouldn't be possible for me to write without it coming through. It informs my characters, inspires their choices, and infuses their surroundings. We write what we know, and I don't know life without faith.
The new book, fresh off the press, is Blue-Eyed Doll, historical fiction, YA. This is based on a historical event in the United States in 1927. The story is set in San Francisco, 1926-1946. A missionary, Sidney Gulick, who spent most of his life in Japan with his mission of world peace, returned home dejected, knowing he'd failed; there would be no world peace. He decided world peace was up to the children! Children across the country responded and sent friendship dolls to Japan. Japan reciprocated sending Ambassador dolls to the U.S. My story is about a child whose life was shaped and molded into a life of service after being part of this program with an unusual doll wearing eye glasses. It was a fun story to research and write. I've very excited to be visiting some of the museums that house an Ambassador Doll. I'll be seeing new parts of the country!
That's fascinating. What are you working on now?
I'm polishing McIntosh Summer. The Butts County Historical Society in GA, asked me to write a historical fiction for YA readers, about Chief William McIntosh. Butts County sits smack in the middle of Muscogee Creek Nation, and there wasn't a book for their schools. This was very interesting research and a bit slippery to write because the Muscogees even today are divided on whether McIntosh was a martyr and hero or a thief and a traitor. It's with a publisher and will be out probably by summer.
Sounds like you have a lot of fun researching your books. :) Is there a book you've read that you wished you'd written?
Hotel at the Corner of Bitter And Sweet. I identify with the writing style similar in many ways, and I loved the story.
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Tune in next week to learn more about author Susan Page Davis.