I’m a New Englander transplanted to western Kentucky. I’m a mom and a grandmother, and I like cats and horses. My books are mostly historical romance and mystery.
What is your favorite book that you have written?
Besides the one we’re featuring today, probably Frasier Island.
Is there a character from one of your books that you’re particularly fond of?
Janet Borden, in my mystery Breaking News, is close to my heart.
What was your journey to publication like and how long did you write before you were published?
I started seriously writing fiction in 1999, and after a couple of years I began selling short stories to national magazines. I really wanted to sell a novel, though, and that took a few more years. Protecting Amy was published in 2004. It was a western historical romance, as is the book we’re featuring today.
What people have inspired you on your writing journey?
Aside from my parents, whose work ethic was incredible, I’d say other writers, especially women writers who paved the way for us. Frances Parkinson Keyes, Grace Livingston Hill, Agatha Christie, and many more. I especially admire the women who wrote to support their families.
Are you currently working on anything new? If so, what is it?
Always. Right now, my son Jim and I are writing a sea story together. It’s a historical novel about seafaring women.
What are you currently reading?
A Code of Honor, in the Mysteries of Silver Peak series. Next up will be Whitewashed, a new novel by Amy C. Blake.
How has your relationship with Jesus affected/influenced your writing?
My main characters always have the Christian worldview ingrained in them, even if they are not outspoken about it. Deciding what they believe and what principles they live by has anchored me in my personal life.
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Please tell us about the featured book.
In The Outlaw Takes a Bride, widow Sally Golding becomes a mail order bride in hopes of finding a happier marriage than her first and finally having children of her own. Johnny Paynter is accused of murdering his ranch foreman. With his pal Cam, he flees from Colorado to his brother’s ranch in Texas. On arriving, he finds that his brother, Mark, has been killed by outlaws. Cam convinces Johnny to bury his brother and lie low on the ranch. Everyone in town thinks Johnny is Mark, as they looked a lot alike and Mark was a quiet man who kept to himself. Then they learn that Mark had proposed to a mail-order bride, and Sally will arrive soon. Setting the record straight now would make Johnny look guilty of several crimes, so he keeps quiet—and winds up married to Sally. She knows something is wrong. Sally loves him, but she isn’t sure their marriage can survive the strain—and then the outlaws return.
Can you please give us the first page?
Early May 1885, Colorado Plains
Johnny Paynter slung his saddle over his chestnut gelding’s back. He and Reckless would work alone today, repairing the ranch’s roundup pen. Johnny didn’t mind being up here at the line shack all alone—it was better than fighting for elbow room in the bunkhouse. Especially when he was on the foreman’s bad side. Still, he couldn’t help remembering that today should have been his day off.
Frantic hoofbeats pounded in the distance. Johnny dropped the girth ring and walked around his horse to stare down the trail. His friend Cam Combes was riding hard.
“What’s your hurry?” Johnny called as the other cowboy drew near.
“Get your gear. You’ve got to get out of here.” Cam pulled his horse to a stop.
“Why?” Johnny asked. “What’s happened?”
“It’s the foreman. Somebody shot him. And Johnny—they think you did it. You got to run for it!”
“What on earth?” Johnny stared at him. The Lone Pine foreman was known to be harsh and short tempered, but Johnny had mostly managed to stay on his good side—except for the words they’d exchanged right before Johnny came up here to the line shack, but that wasn’t serious. “Are you telling me that Red Howell is dead? How did it happen?”
“Nobody knows.” Cam swung down out of the saddle and dropped his pinto’s reins. “Ike found him this morning, on the trail about a half mile from the ranch. You were the only one unaccounted for when he rode in with the news. Red had told us he was riding up here to see you this mornin’. Wanted to know how you were doing with the roundup pen. Now I guess they think you ambushed him or something.”
“That’s crazy,” Johnny said.
“Some of the boys heard you the other night, when Red told you to come up here. They’re sayin’ you had a fight.”
Johnny shook his head in protest. “That wasn’t any fight. I told Red it was my Sunday off this week, and he said too bad, and I said I really needed a day off, and he said—”
“No time to argue. Get your stuff. You’ve got to go.”
“What, go down and talk to the boss?”
“No!” Cam frowned. “If you do that, they’ll turn you over to the law.”
“But I didn’t do anything.” Johnny glared at him. “I didn’t even know Red was coming up here. Don’t you think I should just go and tell them that?”
“No, I don’t. You need to lie low. Better yet, get out of Colorado. Before the sheriff rides up here to take you in.”
Johnny’s stomach felt hollow. “I’m not going to run. I didn’t do anything.”
Where can readers learn more information about you?
Visit my website at www.susanpagedavis.com
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!)
Susan has generously offered to giveaway a print copy of The Outlaw Takes A Bride! Print giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Saturday April 25, 2015 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!