Susan F. Craft, who writes inspirational historical romantic suspense, recently retired after a 41-year career. Forty-five years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd, she enjoys researching for her novels, painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her porch watching the rabbits and geese eat her daylilies. To assist authors to “get it right about horses in their works,” Susan worked with the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation to compile A Writer's Guide to Horses that can be found at www.lrgaf.org.
Welcome to Novel PASTimes, Susan! We’re glad you’re here. Have you learned anything new that’s helped you currently with your writing journey that you could share with us?
I’ve learned that being an author is not only about writing. Authors are expected to be active on all the social media. It’s not all about selling your books, though; it’s about creating relationships. I’m 66 and didn’t grow up using a computer. Technology intimidates me. Here’s my way of overcoming my trepidation—if my heroine, Lilyan, can survive trekking through the wilderness searching for her lost daughter and enduring the loneliness and despair of being thrown into a dungeon, then I can learn how to tweet!
Tell us about your latest novel, Laurel, recently published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
Desperate to rescue their kidnapped daughter, Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos trek two hundred miles through South Carolina mountains and backcountry wilderness, fighting outlaws, hunger, sleeplessness, and despair. When the trail grows cold, the couple battles guilt and personal shame; Lilyan for letting Laurel out of her sight, and Nicholas for failing to keep his family safe.
They track Laurel to the port of Charleston as post-Revolutionary War passions reach fever pitch. There, Lilyan, a former patriot spy, is charged for the murder of a British officer. She is thrown into the Exchange Building dungeon and chained alongside prostitutes, thieves, and murderers. Separated from her husband, she digs deep inside to re-ignite the courage and faith that helped her survive the war. Determined to free his wife at any cost, Nicholas finds himself forced back into a life of violence he thought he’d left behind.
Following a rumor that Laurel may be aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore, Lilyan and Nicholas secure passage on a departing schooner, but two days into the voyage, a storm blows their ship aground on Diamond Shoals. As the ship founders, both are swept overboard.
Will their love for each other and their faith sustain them as they await word of their missing child? Or is Laurel lost to them forever?
What spawned the idea for this story?
I wrote Laurel because I received such a strong response from readers of The Chamomile, which is a prequel to Laurel. People felt a part of the Xanthakos family and wanted more. According to one review of Laurel: “Characters become like family with whom you do not want to part, and the emotions expressed are spot-on for the circumstances. My hope is that there is a sequel to Laurel in the works as the book left me wanting to spend more time with this incredible family first introduced in the author's award-winning book The Chamomile. In my opinion, Laurel is also a winner and award-worthy.”
So, of course I listened, and there is a final book in the trilogy being released this September. It’s entitled Cassia, in which the Xanthakos family experience high seas adventure involving pirates!
Who is your favorite character in this novel? And why? Do you see yourself at all in this character?
Hm-m… it’s a toss-up.
Lilyan Xanthakos is an ordinary Christian person to whom some extraordinary things happen. Though she would disagree with me, I think she is brave because she does what has to be done, despite being afraid. She has a strong sense of family and would do anything to protect them. She is a giving, caring, and generous person.
Except for my terrible sense of direction and not being able to find my way out of the woods, I identify most with Lilyan, who relies on her faith in God to get her through the dangerous and tragic happenings in her life.
As much as I love and admire Lilyan, if I had to choose, I’d have dinner with Nicholas Xanthakos. I have a place in my heart for this gorgeous Greek who embodies all the traits you want in a hero—bravery, gentleness, honor, faith. (No need to tell my husband of 45 years—he knows already.)
As an inspirational author, how do you feel your faith and/or ethical values come through in your writing?
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