Susan Page Davis: Lady and Her Maid on a Wild West Quest
Hit the trail with a faithful maid determined to protect her mistress from ruffians and ne’er-do-wells in the Wild West. Susan Page Davis’ The Lady’s Maid is beyond anything readers ever hoped or imagined. Travel along with Elise Finster and her British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, as they search for the new but missing earl of Stoneford. Determined to follow David Stone’s somewhat cold trail leading to Oregon, greenhorns Elise and Anne secure livestock and supplies to join a wagon train. Will the ladies succeed in their quest or succumb to the malfeasance of the mysterious man dogging their heels? Scout Eb Bentley’s initial disgust with these ill-prepared women eventually turns into admiration for one lady in particular. Can he protect her long enough to win her over, or will prairie dreams turn into a Wild West nightmare?
Q: You have been an author for a while now. How have you grown as a writer?
I’ve learned to pace myself, and also I’ve learned a lot about the craft of writing. Things like story arc and deep characterization take time to learn.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
I hope to leave a body of work that people find entertaining, but also inspiring and encouraging.
Q: You use a female as the hero in your book. What made you decide to go that route?
Elise is the focus of the story. She decides to stay with and support her mistress—Lady Anne—no matter what, and that entails a long and arduous journey. This story was best told from the feminine perspective, as she and Anne have the biggest struggles and the most at stake. But there are also male characters in it who have sections told from their points of view.
Q: The Lady’s Maid is a historical romance. What type of historical research did you need to do to prepare yourself to write this book?
One of the most crucial topics in this story was primogeniture, the inheritance laws of England. To research this I corresponded with several people in England about what would become of the earl’s title and estate if he did not claim it immediately. This book also required a lot of reading and study on such topics as transportation of the era, the frontier towns and cities of 1855, the Oregon Trail, fashions of the day, and much more.
Q: What got you interested in writing historical romances?
I’ve always loved history and grew up immersed in it. Since I love to read historical romance, it seemed natural to write it. I was also encouraged by one of my early editors to write historical.
I have actually written several books in other genres—mystery, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and even young adult and fantasy. My favorites are historical and romantic suspense. A lot of my historical romances have mystery or suspense elements.
Q: Historical fiction, especially romances, have been very popular. What makes The Lady’s Maid stand out from other historical romance novels?
This book begins in England and follows an earl’s daughter and her maid to the American West. The combination of aristocracy and the frontier leads to some unusual adventures.
Q: There is some suspense in your new book. What type of thrills will readers experience in The Lady’s Maid?
Elise and Lady Anne are searching for Lady Anne’s uncle, who is next in line for an earldom. However, someone else would like to prevent him from claiming the title and the estate that goes with it. Elise and Anne have to cope not only with the frontier -- and people who think they are decorative but helpless -- but also with blackguards who wish them ill.
Q: What are some similarities found between you and the characters in The Lady’s Maid?
I’ve often found myself in a situation where I didn’t really “fit in.” I sympathize with these two ladies as they struggle to survive, but beyond that, to meet the expectations of the people around them.
Q: Are you biased toward any of the characters in your book?
Oh, of course. I love to see a feminine woman of character stretch and grow stronger. Elise makes me proud.
Q: Will any characters in The Lady’s Maid be present in any future books in the Prairie Dreams series?
Yes, Lady Anne will be the main character in book two, Lady Anne’s Quest. You’ll also see a little more of Elise and of Rob Whistler and Eb Bentley as well as another member of their wagon train who will take a major role. One of their adversaries also makes a return appearance. In book three, A Lady in the Making, you’ll again see some familiar faces.