Welcome, Colleen, we’re so happy to have you here at Novel PASTimes today. How did you come to work on Comfort Island? And where is that?
My aunt Gertie is the cook for the Clarks on Comfort Island and secured a position for me. I grew up in an orphanage, but just before I aged out, they found Aunt Gertie and contacted her, so Auntie had the Clarks hire me.
That was very kind of her.
Comfort Island is in the Thousand Islands in upstate New York in the St. Lawrence River. It’s a small island the Clark family owns, and there’s a beautiful cottage on the island that’s almost as big as the orphanage I grew up in.
Wow! I’ve heard the Thousand Islands area is very picturesque. Tell us about your job.
I’ve been doing laundry at the orphanage for nearly a decade, so that’s what I continue to do. I hate it.
Laundry isn’t my favorite thing to do either. Do you like your employers, the Clarks?
The Clark family are wonderful people. Mr. Clark is deceased, and Mrs. Clark is very nice. So is her son, Alson Skinner Clark, who is a famous Impressionist artist. He painted murals all over the cottage. I love to draw, so he helped me develop my skills.
To have mentorship from a famous artist is very fortunate for you!
I heard you were engaged. What became of your fiancé?
Goodness…poor Peter Byrne perished on his way to meet me when The Empress of Ireland sunk in the St. Lawrence. Aunt Gertie arranged a marriage between him and me with his mother, but I never met the man.
I’m sorry for your loss.
What or whom do you like least on Comfort Island?
That’s easy. The Ogre. Oh, I mean, Mrs. Marshall, my supervisor, who is a cruel taskmaster.
Yikes, Colleen! She must be pretty awful to nickname her the Ogre!
I heard about a handsome groundskeeper from Austria. What can you tell us about him?
Jack Weiss is more than handsome. He’s become a trusted friend and confidant. Maybe more.
Do you think you and he have a future together?
With World War I looming, Jack keeps talking about going back to Austria and fighting in the war. I hope he doesn’t. He’s the only friend I’ve ever known. To be honest, he’s more than that…
He sounds like a good man. I hope he won’t have to leave.
I’ve heard you’re artistically talented. Tell us what and how you like to draw.
Awww…I love to sketch and draw anything and everything. It’s my way of sharing and experiencing the world more fully. Jack says I’m gifted. Mr. Alson does too. But I have so much to learn.
Want to know the whole story? Susan G Mathis has put it all down in her book, Colleen’s Confession. Here’s a glimpse:
Colleen Sullivan has secrets as she joins her aunt on Comfort Island to work in the laundry and await the arrival of her betrothed. She loves to draw and dreams of growing in the craft. But tragedy strikes when her fiancé perishes in the sinking of the ocean liner RMS Empress of Ireland on his way to meet her. With her orphan dreams of finally belonging and becoming a wife and an artist gone, what will her future hold?
Austrian immigrant, Jack Weiss, enjoys being the island’s groundskeeper and is smitten by the lovely Irish lass. But Colleen dismisses him at every turn, no matter how much he fancies her art, tries to keep her safe, and waters the blossoms of love. When Jack introduces her to the famous impressionist, Alson Skinner Clark, Colleen seems to find hope.
But rumors of war in Europe prod Jack to choose between joining his family’s Austrian army and staying safe in the Thousand Islands to make a life with Colleen. Will she finally embrace his love for her, or will Jack lose the battle and join the war? With the Thousand Islands’ summer ending, he hopes she will.
You can get it here at Amazon.
Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.
Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma, and Katelyn’s Choice have each won multiple awards, and book three, Peyton’s Promise, comes out May 2022. Colleen’s Confession is her newest title, andRachel’s Reunion is coming soon. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, Sara’s Surprise, and Reagan’s Reward are also award winners. Susan’s book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and two Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is also a finalist in the Selah Awards.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to the islands she loves. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com/fiction for more.