Susan Craft is the author of The Chamomile, a historic romantic suspense, a SIBA “Okra Pick.”
Published by: Ingalls Publishing Group
Date: November 2011
Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Susan Craft is also the author of 3 books, A Perfect Tempest and The Chamomile, as well as Laurel, the sequel to the Chamomile, which will be published November 2012 books. Her website is http://www.susanfcraft.com.
I met Susan through Colonial American Christian Writers. She also serves on the Colonial Quills group blog.
Susan, welcome to Overcoming Through Time.
Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?
Like many people, I’ve come to find, I had an unhappy, unhealthy childhood traumatized by alcoholism. The one person that I should have been able to count on to take care of me is the person who caused me the most pain. On the other hand, my neighborhood was full of children, and, like the Little Rascals, we played hard until nightfall, swam in the neighborhood lake, put on plays and musicals, held week-long Monopoly games, and were free to roam around until suppertime. So, my life was unsettling, like a wild ride with major ups and downs, twists and turns. I found solace in books and writing. Although our family was active in church, and I accepted Christ as my Savior at 14, it wasn’t until I was 32 that I let go of my constant comparison with what my life was to what I thought it should be. I also let go of trying to control and fix everything. I was led to the program Adult Children of Alcoholics and, eventually, was able through prayer to forgive my loved one. I thank God that we were able to enjoy many years of a good relationship before they passed away.
There’s a scene in my novel, The Chamomile, where my main character, Lilyan, talks with her brother, Andrew, about her reliance on God for her strength. Andrew reminds her that God is not only her source of her strength, but of her joy too and that she mustn’t worry so much. That scene is a very personal one for me and was written from the depths of my heart.
What is your favorite bible verse and why?
My favorite verse is I Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
– especially appropriate for me is “it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? My books aren’t available on audio or in large print – at least, not yet. I hope they will be. My mother loved books and spent a lot of time reading to me, my brothers and sister when we were young. Towards the end of her life, she became partially blind and relied on books on tape provided by the SC Commission for the Blind. What a tremendous service!
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
The Chamomile is about love of family and perseverance in the face of adversity. The title is a reflection of that. When reading Noble Deeds of American Women, I came across this account. A British Army officer noted for his cruelty and relentless persecution of those opposed to his political views was one day walking with Mrs. Anna Elliott in a garden where there was a great variety of flowers. “What is this, madam?” he asked, pointing to the chamomile. “The rebel flower,” she replied. “And why is it called the rebel flower?” asked the officer. “Because,” answered Mrs. Elliott, “it always flourishes most when trampled upon.”
Throughout the novel, my main character, Lilyan, portrays the characteristics of the chamomile. Also, she is a Christian, and as such approaches life from that perspective, in her thoughts, words, and actions. Because I don’t want to sermonize to my readers, I take great care to try to weave inspirational elements into my stories subtlety, naturally.
In my author’s notes I explain it this way: “Finally, but most importantly to me, The Chamomile is an inspirational novel about someone who faces adversity and survives it through faith. My intent was to portray a woman who maintains a genuine, abiding relationship with her creator and who really struggles to live by that faith, but makes a mess of it sometimes. Don’t we all?”
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I came across an incredible account of Elizabeth Jackson, Andrew Jackson’s mother. After Andrew and his brother, Robert, were captured after the Battle of Camden, they succumbed to smallpox. Mrs. Jackson walked 50 miles from her home in Waxhaw, SC, to Camden and arranged for their release. Robert died soon after they returned home. When Andrew recovered, Mrs. Jackson received notice that two nephews were imprisoned on British ships in the Charleston Harbor (in The Chamomile, Lilyan’s brother, Andrew, is imprisoned on one of these ships). She walked over 100 miles to Charleston and nursed the young men until she contracted cholera and died in the home of an acquaintance and was buried somewhere outside of Charleston. Though President Jackson made inquiries, no one was able to find her grave. What an inspiration Mr. Jackson was to me. She was brave, resourceful, loving, generous, determined, and selfless to the point of putting others’ health and safety before her own.
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation? Susan said “No.” (CFP: Assault, self-defense, trust, dealing with loss – all these issues are in The Chamomile.)
Thank you Susan for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!