Meet Writer Sue Mason

Meet Sue Mason, an inspirational finalist in the Romance Writers of America® 2008 Golden Heart® contest. A mother of two with a part-time job, she juggles family responsibilities with researching her ancestry and writing, and yet she’s working on her fourth manuscript.

Read on to learn more about Sue, her writing and her life in Ontario, Canada.

Since Sue’s a self-professed Noraholic, anyone leaving a comment for Sue on July 11 will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Angels Fall by Nora Roberts.

What led you to write romances?

I’ve always loved romance novels. But once I had my two children, I stopped reading for quite some time. As most mothers out there know, all you want to do with any spare time is SLEEP. But gradually once the kids had gained a bit more independence, I started reading again (or should I say, I managed to stay awake long enough to read. LOL.)

One day at a second hand store, I picked up a couple of used paperbacks, one of them by an author I had never read before: Nora Roberts! I LOVED it! And I confess I became a raving Noraholic! I read anything by her I could. Her books sparked the creative urge to start writing again—something I hadn’t done since my teens.

When did you begin work on

your first romance manuscript?

I think I started my first manuscript about eight years ago. It started out just as a series of scenes, which I eventually linked together (rather badly) into a book. It took over two years to complete. Needless to say, I knew nothing about writing at this point, so that manuscript will definitely stay under the bed.

I am now about two-thirds through my fourth manuscript, tentatively called Threads of a Tapestry. My third book, Wyndermere House, is a finalist in this year’s Golden Heart Contest for Inspirational Romance, which has been the highlight of my writing career so far.

As far as a writing background goes, I really have none, except a grade six teacher who told me I had talent and should write a book! Which I did as a teen, and got my first rejection!

What led you to write for the inspirational market?

I started reading quite a few inspirational romances from Harlequin’s Steeple Hill Love Inspired line—just out of curiosity—and I really enjoyed them. I discovered from different articles I’d read that the market was huge for inspirationals, so I decided to try one. I also really liked that idea of combining the search for a soul mate with a person’s faith journey. The overall messages in these books are wonderful and, as the title suggests, inspiring.

With a part-time job, family and interesting hobbies

vying for your attention, how do you carve out

time for writing in your busy schedule?

This is indeed a challenge. Sometimes I get so sidetracked by my other passion, my family genealogy search, that I forget to write. The genealogy does tie in to writing a bit though, because I take all my research and write it up in a non-fiction account of what I’ve found. I’m hoping to organize it all into one big family history book for generations to come.

So once I get a little burned out on the genealogy, I turn back to my writing. Mostly I find time to write in the afternoons before the kids get home from school and a little bit right after supper.

How do you deal with the solitary aspects writing?

Do you have a critique partner/group?

Are you active in your local RWA chapter?

Do you attend conferences?

Yes to all of the above. I now have a critique partner and am enjoying the process of sharing my work with someone very much. Before I sent Wyndermere House to the Golden Heart contest, no one but me had read it at all. I realize now what a handicap that was and how valuable it is to have another opinion.

I am a member of the Toronto Romance Writers and try to attend as many meetings as possible. Though I don’t have a lot of spare time, I did help out with the chapter’s annual Golden Opportunity contest last year, which helped me get to know some of the people better. This year I am again helping to judge the contest.

As far as conferences go, I have only been to one so far. That was two years ago in Ottawa, Ontario (our nation’s capital,) and it was fantastic. It’s how I first met some Harlequin authors, a Harlequin editor and a New York agent. I was amazed and inspired. This fall I am planning on attending this conference again.

How do you deal with the hills

and valleys of a writer’s life?

Like everyone else, sometimes I get a little discouraged by the rejections. But what I try to do is learn something from them, take that little nugget of knowledge and apply it to my work. This is a very subjective business, and the reality is that not everyone will like your writing. As a reader I understand this because I am quite picky in what I read. But the beauty of it all is that someone one day will love your work, if you persevere.

What encouragement would you offer

others on the road to publication?

I would just say that if writing is indeed your passion, just keep at it. And keep trying to learn as you go along. Everything you learn will enhance your skill and one day, you, too, may become a published author.

For me, I’ve realized that even if my work is never published, that’s not the important issue. The writing is. And if I ever do get a hard copy of one of my books in my hand, that will be the icing on the cake.

Leave a comment for Sue:

Have a question for Sue? Want to know more about her writing process, her stories or her genealogy research? Leave a comment. She’ll be dropping by throughout the day.

On Word Press blogs, the comment link is found

at the top of the post by the title.

Anyone leaving a comment for Sue on July 11 will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Angels Fall by Nora Roberts.

Congratulations to Maureen McGowan, winner of the drawing.

Learn more about Sue:

Susan Anne Mason

Her email address: sbmason@sympatico.ca

Her blog, Sue Mason’s Blog: http://www.suemasonsblog. com

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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17 Responses to Meet Writer Sue Mason

  1. keligwyn says:

    Welcome, Sue. It’s a pleasure to have you here.

  2. Sue Mason says:

    Good Morning everyone,

    I’m off to work right now, but will be back early this afternoon to answer questions, etc.
    Thanks for having me, Keli!

    Sue

  3. Kimber Chin says:

    Oh, the manuscript under the bed. I kept mine there too until the hubby said he planned to publish it once I got ‘famous.’ (Shudders) I immediately shredded it at that point.

    Best of luck Sue!!

  4. Anne Barton says:

    Sue, I love that you’re a Noraholic. Admitting it is the first step. 🙂

    Have all your books been inspirationals? Are they contemporary, or historic (to tie in with the genealogy)?

    Wonderful interview – it was great learning more about you.

    Anne

  5. Mary Racioppo says:

    Hey Sue,
    Thanks for sharing and giving us a little insight to who you are, what you love to write, telling us about your highs and lows and the writer who inspired you to write. I enjoyed meeting you at the Ottawa Conference. At the time we were both jumping in together. Was excited for you when you became a finalist in the Golden Heart. It’s a sign of just how close your getting to becoming a published Author. I hope you will visit us over at storybank.com once we launch on July 22,08, Hopefully with both are busy lives with writing and raising children will we reunite at one of are chapter meetings. Happy Writing

  6. Congrats on the Golden Heart nomination, Sue! I think most of us have manuscripts that will never see the light of day. And shouldn’t.

  7. Sue Mason says:

    Hi ladies,

    I’m back at home now (1:00 pm Toronto time). Thanks for dropping by.

    Kimber – Shredding the ms is a good idea. I better get on that one! But did you actually delete it from your computer? That’s the really hard part!

    Anne – Nice to hear from you. Your interview was a tough one to follow! As far as my books go, only the last two are inspirational. The first one (to be shredded! LOL) does not even have a category! The second one, Question of Birth, is a contemporary with a little suspense thrown in. And my inspirationals are contemporary as well. But you’re right, after all the research I’ve been doing into England in the 1800’s, not to mention some of the interesting stories I have turned up, a historical might be in my future!

    Mary R. – So nice to talk to you again. I’m looking forward to checking out your website. I know you’re going to the Nationals, but are you going to the Ottawa conference in Sept? If so, I’ll see you there! Good luck with your new endeavour!

    Maureen – Thanks for dropping in. Just so everyone knows, Maureen is my ‘double’ for the G.H. awards. If I win, Maureen will be accepting on my behalf. So all you Pixies, treat her as Pixie by Proxy! (I’ll explain later, Maureen).

    Well, thanks for your comments. I’ll check in again later.

    Cheers, Sue

  8. Connie says:

    Hi Sue:

    Thanks for all the great information. Just wondering if you could let us know how you come up with the ideas for your books. I’m always interested in learning where authors get their ideas.

    Thanks, Connie

  9. Sue Mason says:

    Hi Connie,

    That’s a very good question. I’ll just answer about each book.

    For Question of Birth, it started from one scene in my head about opening at someone’s funeral. From there, I decided it would be the heroine’s mother. Then I played the ‘what if’ game. What if the heroine got a letter from her mother telling her she was actually adopted. From there it turned into a search for her biological parents. Of course, I changed the beginning and it didn’t actually start at the gravesite!

    For Wyndermere House, I was on vacation up in Northern Ontario at a cottage – bored out of my ever loving mind!! (I am not the outdoorsy type and we had no TV!) We ended up going for a drive and had lunch at this beautiful lakeside resort called “Windermere”. I adapted the name a little. Then I thought about someone who worked at this resort, maybe a camp counsellr, and a possible liason with a single dad staying as a guest. Voila.

    My current WIP came from an actual news story where a whole family was murdered, except one young girl survived. I imagined this girl grown up and how she went back to find out what had happened to her family.

    So really there is no one answer to your question. Inspiration comes from all areas of life. You just have to keep your ears and eyes open.

    Happy writing!

    Sue

  10. C.J. Redwine says:

    What a nice interview, Sue! Do you set your novels in Canada or around the globe?

  11. Sue Mason says:

    Hi CJ,

    Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

    To answer your question, most of my books are set in the States, upstate NY (which is very similar to Toronto) and North Dakota. One is set in the Niagara wine region of Ontario with road trips to New York and New Jersey. A little research and a lot of imagination!

    Thanks for the question.

    Now I must leave as I have somewhere to go tonight (it’s 6:20 pm here). But I’ll check back much later here (which for some of you won’t be so late at all) and finish off the post. Until later …

    Sue

  12. Hi, Sue! My hubby is from Buffalo, so I’m familiar with that neck of the woods a little bit and could definitely see how you’d set books there. Very pretty (except I’m a Southern girl and can’t take the winters — fortunately, I’ve spent a grand total of 1 week there in the winter).

    I’ve been to Toronto once, to visit a friend. It was during that same winter trip. I remember it was cold and icy. 🙂 Congrats on the GH nomination! Will we be meeting you at Nationals?

  13. Sue and Keli! Thanks for the great interview. I really enjoyed learning more about your journey and about you, Sue. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Sue Mason says:

    Hey Lynn & Theresa,

    Glad you could stop by.

    Lynn – actually Buffalo is worse than us in the winter. They get TONS of snow. You’ll have to visit Toronto in the summer. It’s nice here then. And sadly, no, I won’t be attending the Nationals. But I’ll be there in spirit.

    Theresa, glad you liked the interview. Best of luck in your category!

    Sue

  15. Sue Mason says:

    Well ladies, it’s after 11 pm here and this tired puppy is going to bed.
    Thank you again to Keli for having me. And good luck to everyone in the draw.

    It’s been a real pleasure sharing with you. Talk to you all soon.

    Sue

  16. Colette says:

    Wow! I went to high school with Sue and I can’t wait to read her book!

  17. Jax says:

    Congratulations Kelly! You deserve this! (Coming from a person who travelled a small part of the journey with you.) If you hadn’t been there, I would have never been inspired to follow my own path. Can’t wait to hold your book in my hands next year! YAY!

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