Saturday, January 17, 2015

Laurel, a Post-Revolutionary War Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Stitches Thru Time's very own, Susan F. Craft’s newest novel, Laurel, was released this week. From 2-4 p.m. EST today, she’s celebrating the launch of Laurel on FaceBook at the following link:
Visit the online party, chat, and leave a comment for a chance to win some fantastic prizes.

Here's what she had to say About Laurel.
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?

Did you have to travel much concerning your books? If so, what’s the most interesting place you traveled?
Since I want my history to be right in my novels, I do extensive research and travel to the locations of my novels to absorb, to breathe in, everything I can: sights, sounds, smells.

Thank goodness my husband drives us, because I have no sense of direction and can get lost in my driveway.

The most fun trip was one we took to the North Carolina Outer Banks to research for Laurel and its sequel, Cassia. In Laurel, which takes place in 1783, my characters are shipwrecked on an Outer Banks island. Cassia, which takes place in 1799, has pirates. Between the two books, I knew I needed to learn more about the ships that sailed at that time, some of the nautical terms, and seafaring jargon.

In Beaufort, NC, I explored the Maritime Museum where I spent hours in the library that still uses a card catalogue system (at my age, I felt right at home).

I learned about the wild ponies that have roamed Ocracoke Island for hundreds of years and I became fascinated by the pirate lore of the area. A local restaurant owner pointed out an area for us to visit that still looks the same today as it did in the late 1700s.

You say you’d rather research than write.
It’s true. Researching for my novels brings me the same excitement Alan Quartermain must have felt hunting for King Solomon’s Mines. I’ve been known to spend an entire day in a library scribbling notes from someone’s diary, spending a wallet of quarters making copies of maps and old newspapers, and trekking from one book or document to the next with a perseverance Lewis and Clark would have applauded. I enjoy the chase when one clue leads me to the next, to the next…

On my website,, I have over twenty years of research on a wide range of topics. I knew I’d never be able to write enough novels to use all my “historical treasures,” so I decided to share and put them on my website.

Will you share one of your “historical treasures” found in Laurel?
During Colonial American times, toddlers sometimes wore padded pudding caps much like modern crash helmets to protect their heads if they fell while learning to walk. The caps were often made of quilted cotton velvet bound with silk ribbon, stuffed with horsehair, and lined with leather.

Here’s how I used that tidbit in my novel, Laurel. (Callum, a loveable curmudgeon and patriarch of the family, scoffs at the use of a pudding cap.)

        Callum had had a fit. “Such mollycoddling. Never heard of sucha thing. The lassie needs to learn how to come back from a fall. But she can’t do that unless she bangs her head once in a while.”
        The first time Laurel stumbled and hit her head, she had held up her arms to Callum, her bottom lip quivering. He had avoided Lilyan’s eyes as the unhappy little girl fell asleep cuddled against his chest.
        And that was the last complaint she heard from him about the pudding cap.

Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what ways?
Except for not being able to find my way out of the woods, I identify most with my main character, Lilyan, who relies on her faith in God to get her through the dangerous and tragic happenings in her life.

About Susan
Susan’s Revolutionary War novel published in 2011, The Chamomile, won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick. Susan recently retired after a 41-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader. 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 (also known as An Equestrian Writer’s Guide) that can be found at 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. The sequel to Laurel, entitled Cassia, will be released this September.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit with Susan. Be sure to pick up a copy of her new book.


  1. This book is already on my reading list. Just reading through the blurb I can see it will tug at my heart. Great to learn more thank you.

    1. Thanks for putting Laurel on your reading list, Mary. :-)

  2. Susan, Laurel sounds like a wonderful book.....Congratulations! I loved reading your post. I would love to be a fly on the wall as your travel and research for your fantastic information. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I couldn't get to the places I want to see without my dear husband of 45 years. As I said, I have a terrible sense of direction so I rely on him. Once, many years ago, I was navigating us by map, and my husband felt that something was wrong. It was; I was holding the map upside-down. Yes. I know. Pitiful, right?

  3. This sounds like such a good story. And the pudding cap! ! Had not heard of that one. Husband would rather get lost that use a map.. So I read the map &I have a good sense of direction but I do not like to drive. Been working for 38 years :) Would love to read your book!
    dkstevensneAT outlookDoTCOm

  4. Hi, Deanna. The pudding cap was a real surprise when I discovered it in my research. Love to find stuff like this.

  5. Congratulations, Susan, on the release of Laurel! I enjoyed your post and look forward to reading this wonderful story!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks, Britney. I do hope you enjoy Laurel.