Devyn’s Dilemma follows a young woman trying to escape her past and finds much more than a job at The Towers castle on Dark Island. How did the idea for this novel start and change as you wrote?
I took three trips to Singer Castle (The Towers) with the docent of the island. What a joy it was to envision Devyn walking and working there! Her story developed deeper with each trip to the island, and so did her backstory as her brother got meaner and meaner.
Devyn is a charming character that I loved following. What were some sources that informed her character development?
I love interweaving the real characters (the Bournes) and imaginary characters like Devyn and Brice, though sometimes it’s challenging. As Devyn’s relationship grows with the other characters, she developed quite naturally. But, I must admit, there were times when she decided to do something unusual and I had to question her motives. Smiles.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Hope is a theme woven throughout all of my books because it’s so needed in this day and age. But with Devyn, I wanted her to journey through healing from family abuse and a low self-esteem—and she did.
This is book two in your Thousand Islands Gilded Age Series. What can readers expect in book three?
I’m writing chapter twenty at present, and it’s contracted to release Spring 2022. I must admit, I’m having a blast with this one.
It’s called Peyton’s Promise, and here’s the idea: It’s the summer of 1902. Peyton Quinn is tasked to prepare the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular 200-guest summer gala. But when her pyrotechnics father becomes ill, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.
Patrick Quinn, Calumet’s carpenter and Peyton’s childhood chum, hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton must ignore prejudices and persevere, or she could lose her cool, lose Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossip if she fails.
Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.
Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma, and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and book three, Peyton’s Promise, comes out Spring 2022. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and her newest, Reagan’s Reward, are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including two Illumination Book Awards, the American Fiction Award, the Indie Excellence Book Award, and two Literary Titan Book Award. Reagan’s Reward is also a finalist in the Selah Awards. Visit http://www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fantasy, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Devyn is full of uncertainty regarding her summer job at The Towers. From her lack of confidence in the ability to perform her duties, to the fear that someone might learn her dreaded secret, to the constant views of the river she hates, everything about it makes her nervous. However, she was given no choice, and soon Devyn is surprised to find how comfortable she’s becoming in the huge house. Her employers are generous, loving people who show her what a family can be, and almost all the rest of the staff do all they can to help as the days pass- especially Brice, the handsome Irishman that Deyvn can’t help but imagine a future with!
In Devyn’s Dilema by Susan Mathis, Devyn comes to Dark Island, and the grand castle known as The Towers, scared and uncomfortable. Her life at home with an emotionally abusive mother has taught her that she has little to offer to anyone and is mostly incapable of the simplest tasks, but since someone needs to earn money for the family, Deyvn is sent off for the summer. The characters we meet throughout this heartfelt novel are all unbelievably close and loving. But the cast of characters are peppered with intriguing characters that break up the stereotypes; the rough around the edges love interest that is almost out of reach, the villainous staff member hellbent on destroying the main character’s happiness with no apparent motive, and the group of friends who seamlessly accept that character as one of their own without question. Mathis nonetheless makes them all engaging, but what she is most masterful at is making The Towers seem like a character of its own. As Devyn explores all its nooks and crannies and secrets of The Towers it becomes a character that is central to everything else. It is something that is simultaneously safe and terrifying, a physical embodiment of how Deyvn views life.
Devyn’s Dilema is a dramatic Christian romance story that is ultimately about shaking off the past and embracing the future. For years, Devyn has been shackled by the guilt of what occurred the day her father died and it has prevented her from enjoying anything in life. As she comes to realize that guilt, lies, and secrets only succeed in creating more pain, she finally begins to grow as a person, seeing for the first time that she might deserve the happiness and joy she has always denied herself. The message to not be so hard on yourself is one that many readers could use.
Although the image of The Towers will stay in your mind long after any of the human characters, it was still exciting to follow them through the summer and see each of them get what they might deserve, for better or worse! Devyn’s Dilema is a touching historical fiction novel that will leave you entertained and smiling.
Pages: 279 | ASIN: B0817GQXSJ
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian fiction, christian romance, Devyn's Dilemma, ebook, fantasy, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, story, Susan G Mathis, writer, writing
Almost Daddy follows one man’s emotional journey through life as he deals with the pain of almost being a daddy and living with the choices he made. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?
The book is indeed a novel. But the beginning is informed by my own loss of fatherhood to abortion when I was in high school. Years later I went through a recovery process much like someone might seek grief counseling after the death of a child or miscarriage.
Through that healing process and sharing my testimony at dozens of places I realized that there are many people hurting in silence. So I came up with the idea for “Almost Daddy”. I wanted to use story to show some of the fallout that may come after an abortion. But I also wanted to show that healing was possible.
Ben is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with his character?
Great question. Ben had to be likeable. He had to be someone we root for…someone we want to succeed. But he also had to be flawed. After the abortion, confusion and pain set in. His path changed. So there had to be this struggle. At the same time he was making bad decisions and bad choices his heart and who he was at his core needed to show too.
I guess the main thing was to illustrate we all have good and bad in us and that events in our lives can impact our behavior…especially when in response to pain or shame.
What were some of the themes that were important for you to include in your book?
The absolute most important theme is redemption. I wanted people to close the last page and know that healing and redemption are possible…no matter what. I know abortion is a touchy subject so it was incredibly important to stay out of the political end of it. So it had to be about healing and hope and redemption. And I truly hope that is something we can all agree on.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on two at the moment. One is a Recovery Guide that will act as a companion to “Almost Daddy.” That should be out by the end of Spring this year (2021). While working through that, which is way different than writing a novel, I am outlining Abby’s story. “Almost Daddy” explored Ben’s journey after the abortion but that’s only half the story. Abby went through some very different things and I feel like her story is important to tell as well.
Where it leads I don’t know yet. Just as with Ben, I outlined an entire book and about six chapters in Ben started telling me what was next. By the time I crossed the midway point in the first draft I was just writing what he was telling me. I’m sure Abby will do the same.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: abortion, Almost Daddy, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian fiction, contemporary fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, gregory mayo, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
The prospect of Ben turning out highly successful in life looks like one any gambler would be foolish to bet against. Smart and resourceful, the high school senior in his final year also has high hopes for his future until he hits a major snag. He gets his girlfriend, who is two years his high school junior, pregnant. On her mother’s advice, they opt for an abortion. Both lovers’ young hearts cave under the pressure of their action, and they ultimately part ways. Ben is now a man secretly running from the intimidating shadows of guilt and shame. His frantic attempts to fill the gaping hole in his heart lead him down a dreary path of darkness, loneliness, and recklessness. No one understands why this once-promising young man is on a downward spiral, not even he does. But it all began after he almost became a daddy.
Almost Daddy by Gregory Mayo is a fictitious story centered on the trauma of losing a child to abortion. It’s a sensitive topic that has caused divisions in many quarters. Interestingly, Mayo doesn’t approach the issue from either standpoint we often see, the two extremes of right and wrong. He’s more concerned with pointing out the effect of the act on the people involved. To do this, he weaves a deeply touching tale.
The book takes us on a journey through the complexities of emotions and how unresolved issues can shape our lives. The prospect of dealing with the pain that comes from major negative experiences tends to chase us into the arms of escapism. We try to numb the pain or distract ourselves, but it’s buried deep somewhere, choking us ever so gently, till we begin to gasp for breath.
Mayo writes in simple, clear language but tells an intriguing story still. His work is yet another proof that great writing is not just about the words you use but how you use them. I was so caught up in the story that I felt I was reading a true story, maybe because the story felt authentic.
By making his characters come alive, Mayo ensures that you are emotionally invested in the story. I was steeply immersed in Ben’s life and followed his journey keenly. At a point, I wished I could have barged into his world and forced him to make the decision that would have changed his life. That’s was how badly I wanted to see him turn a positive corner!
I really liked the thought-provoking quotes at the start of every chapter. They are concise statements packed with profound insights relevant to the story. My favorite has to be the one from John Lennon, “one thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.”
If there was an award for “an impressively tactful novel on a controversial issue,” I would nominate this book. Almost Daddy is an heart-felt and emotional novel. If you enjoy fresh, fact-based opinions conveyed through immersive stories, you’ll love this book.
Pages: 251 | ASIN: B08LDFDGXY
Tags: abortion, Almost Daddy: The Forgotten Story, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, christian, christian fiction, contemporary fiction, ebook, family, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, gregory mayo, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
Why? The question persisted but was unanswered. Many times it went unasked, yet it was always there. Ben had plans. He had dreams. Yet in a moment, and a moment beyond his control, fatherhood was lost…and Ben was adrift. A ship without a rudder being pushed by an unknown wind….he was almost daddy.
This is an invitation to walk this path with Ben. The journey from original pain to healing is a winding, twisting road that no one should walk alone. Perhaps healing can be found and relationship restored with God.
Because alone, healing rarely comes.
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Tales of Elhaanai, by Nicole Thomas, is a mystical fantasy tale of power and betrayal. It is a book that follows the rightful heir to the throne of Elhaanai on a journey to regain his destiny. In the thirst for power, the King of Elhaanai is killed by his sister and is also after the life of the Queen of Elhaanai who is pregnant with a child. She gets cornered and shot with an arrow. However, she is determined to save her unborn child and so through a magical ritual, the Queen puts the soul of her child into a widow named Wleia, who herself is already pregnant. Wleia gives birth to twins. Sixteen years later, the son Eric and his twin sister from Wleia set out to regain the throne which was snatched from his parents and is his ultimate destiny.
Tales of Elhaanai is the first in a series of fantasy books by author Nicole Thomas. This novel delivers the perfect setup for a series that will be steeped in family rivalries and bitter battles for power. Nicole Thomas is a wonderful story-teller and immediately pulls you into the book with plot twists, magic, suspense, and much more, from the very start. The characters are well-written with a uniqueness to each of them. One of my favorites is Wleia who is wise and fierce but kind at the same time. She is the unsung hero of this book. However, Nicole still manages to not let the reader get lost in too many characters.
This was a very gripping read with the theme of good vs. evil embedded throughout. The novel is fast-paced and the character development is strong. Another central theme of the novel is Faith. Walking on the path of destiny to regain the lost destiny requires a lot of faith and it is well incorporated into this novel.
The writing is sharp for a first-time writer. Although I would have liked to explore the preceding life of the Queen and King of Elhaanai a bit more and in the beginning, it is a bit harder to make sense of where we are starting, the novel is still engaging for the rest of the story.
The words are crisp and clear and the ending leaves you wanting more. I believe Tales of Elhaanai can be enjoyed by both young adults and new adults alike. Tales of Elhaanai is a very entertaining fantasy novel that was hard to put down.
Pages: 130 | ASIN: B0874DYVJB
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CONSCIOUSNESS AND PERCEPTION: A Part-Fictionalised Reflection On Humanity’s Struggle To Know Reality
Consciousness and Perception by Tony McKay, is a fictional story revolving around a family of central characters who grew up amidst incredible hardships. However, the message that the book conveys is deeply real and personal. Ninian and Paul are brothers and although they are related by blood their lives are completely different. They both face dark realities and personal demons throughout their life. However, one brother copes with the darkness by taking the path of a missionary while the other brother turns toward drugs to cope.
Two stark realities, one common problem – life. Tony McKay delves into life’s hardships and how different people will resort to different solutions to deal with them. He writes with depth and intelligence in a story that is intriguing and breathtaking. Author Tony McKay realistically explores the themes of substance abuse, mental health issues, detachment from family, emotional struggles, and how all these affect the people around you. The book is captivating because of its portrayal of real human struggle. There is only one thing that separates this shared experience of pain and that is an individual’s perception and internal faith. The author has aptly combined fiction with reality. You feel connected to the characters. The characters, with their distinct traits, are very well written. The book provides a glimpse into a dark reality but also depicts how life gives you the strength to move through grave moments. The author makes you reflect on life and the people in it.
A critical aspect of the book is that it makes you look at different perspectives of life and how people under one roof can be so different. It shows you the first-hand experience of people fighting their demons and surviving through it. Some turn to God, some turn to their inner selves but the aim to fend off darkness remains the same.
Consciousness and Perception brilliantly connects you to the characters through common struggles that always feel authentic. Conversations feel real, although I felt that the words were a bit confusing in certain places, but it rarely detracted from the enjoyment of the novel. While I enjoyed the deep dive into various topics, I felt like there were moments where the book was heavy on the details.
With all of that said, I highly recommend Consciousness and Perception as it effortlessly explores family and humanity through a unique lens in a consistently intriguing way.
Pages: 321 | ASIN: B07RV78LVQ
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All Mack wants to do is deliver a truckload of swinging meat to Chicago and forget about his troubles. After the tragic death of his wife, he hands over his ministry to a junior preacher and returns to his first job as a truck driver. But things take a dangerous turn his first time back on the road. Someone is hell-bent on ensuring Mack doesn’t make it to Chicago in one piece. His adventure is further complicated when he picks up a mysterious hitchhiker. To make matters worse, he appears to be caught in the middle of some agribusiness hanky-panky involving top government officials and an imprisoned crime boss.
Rough Way to the High Way is Kelly Mack McCoy’s first novel, and I could hardly tell. McCoy writes with poise and fluency that pulls you in and keeps you captivated. This Christian fiction novel takes you on a journey along the highways while looking through the lens of a preacher-turned-trucker.
McCoy’s delightful mix of colorful, humorous conversations, light-hearted banter and a twist laden plot did an excellent job of keeping me engaged. Not to mention that there was this mysterious hitchhiker that kept me guessing about his actual identity all through the story.
McCoy also provides a rich reading experience with his choice of words and how he strings them together. The man genuinely has a way with words. This is visible in how he describes metaphysical scenarios using figures of speech and analogies that bring those elements to life and turn them into vivid images. I also loved how he offered faith-based insights, enlightening stories (I was very touched by Horatio Spafford’s story) and philosophical toppings.
The author zooms in on several issues, with one being the pain of losing a loved one. He shows that after such tragedy, our strongest anchors, including our faith, can be jolted by the tremors of grief and despair. McCoy also reminds us of the possibility of learning life lessons from the unlikeliest of sources.
Rough Way to the High Way is definitely one for your virtual and physical bookshelves if you are a fan of thought-provoking and exciting Christian fiction.
Pages: 268 | ASIN: B07MQS9819
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