Susan F. Craft, author of the historical novel, The Chamomile, was once an Army brat, who has lived in Columbia, SC, sixty years. She married her high school sweetheart, and they have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog.
Susan has worked for SC Educational Television, the SC Department of Mental Health, the SC College of Pharmacy, and currently the SC Senate.
She’s a history nerd who enjoys painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her front porch watching the rabbits eat all her day lily bulbs.
Susan, it's great to have you back today. What do you consider the best resources for historical research?
I’m so fortunate to live in Columbia, SC, where we have access to the SC Archives and History Department, the University of South Carolina’s South Carolinian Library (they house newspapers from the 1700s), and a fantastic public library system with knowledgeable resource room librarians. Charleston, SC, has an amazing museum, and it’s also where the SC Historical Society is located. I recently did research at the Maritime Museum in the NC Outer Banks. I’ve also found re-enactors to be an invaluable resource.
What or who inspired you to write inspirational fiction? How does that keep you plodding ahead with your writing each day?
Though I became a Christian as a teenager, I didn’t know until I was 35 what that really means--entrusting my life, every part of it, to God’s will. I decided then that I wanted to honor God and glorify Him through my writing. Everyone should know the joy of salvation. My writing is my mission field, and that’s what keeps me going.
I was thrilled when one of my readers of The Chamomile “got” what I was trying to accomplish and posted this review:
“Through all the trials, their faith carries the main characters through. The story portrays the integral place that faith played in the early colonies. They are so like us, like me, with questions, fears and doubts. I like how Craft has woven faith throughout the story without ever lapsing into preaching. She has portrayed seamy characters without using offensive language--bravo!”
What helps you maintain productivity as a writer? And what do you find most challenging about the business of being an author?
I get so excited when I come across a tidbit of history I’ve never heard of before. I can’t wait to share it and write it into my novel. That excitement is enough to keep me going.
My husband and family are very supportive. It’s funny sometimes, though, when I’m writing, off in another time, my husband will come into my office and whisper, “Are you writing? I don’t want to interrupt.” It’s as if whispering makes it less of an interruption. You just have to laugh. Besides, we’ve been married 43 years, and he’s my best friend.
I think I mentioned in Question 1 that the marketing and networking is the biggest challenge. It used to be dealing with rejection, but as I’ve matured as a person and a writer, I know in my heart that everything is in God’s time. I may be eager to get something published, but He knows what’s best. Perseverance is an important attribute for writers to cultivate.
Do you feel you are more of a character driven or plot driven writer? How do you think it comes across in your writing?
Because I write historicals, my novels are usually plot driven and dependent upon what was actually happening in my characters’ lives at that period in time. One young reader wrote to me and said that she enjoyed my style because it is “actiony.” What more could I ask for?
Would you like to share about what you are working on now?
I’m on the last chapter of the third book in The Chamomile trilogy. Lilyan and Nicholas, along with their three teenage children, are sailing from Charleston, SC, to the NC Outer Banks. They encounter a slave ship and then are captured by pirates. I think this one is “actiony” too.
Do you have any last words of wisdom to share with aspiring authors?
Hone your craft. Sharpen your writing skills so finely that you can edit your work like a diamond cutter and make it shine with a blinding brilliance. For Christian writers, pray about and for what you are writing. Ask yourself, will this glorify his name? Will it lift up your readers? Will they be a better person for having read what you’ve written? Have you done your absolute best to honor the absolute sacrifice that was made for you? Will you handle rejection with grace and accolades with humility?
Thank you, Susan, for joining us at Novel PASTimes this week.
Please answer her question below in the comment section to qualify for a drawing of Susan F. Craft’s novel, The Chamomile.
Do you prefer the heroes and heroines in the novels you read (especially romantic suspense novels) to be handsome or beautiful?
To be entered in this week’s drawings, please do the following:
1) Answer the question.
2) Leave your email addy in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com.
3) Leave your answer in the comments before 8:30 a.m. ET. Thank you!
You can also find Susan at the Colonial Quills Blogspot on the fourth Monday of each
on Tuesdays and at her own blog.