Hi, my name is D. V. Stone. I am a multi-genre author who also enjoys reading across genres. On this page you'll meet a great group of writers and get an insider's view into their lives and books. I hope you enjoy this special peek and find new and exciting reads.
I am Susan Leigh Furlong, a retired first and fourth grade teacher, a published author and playwright, and a practicing grandmother, living in a small town in Ohio. Since I last visited on “Peek Through the Window,” I have endured continuing Covid-19 restrictions and been vaccinated. Then I spent forty-one days in the hospital at my husband’s side, and now rejoice at his slow but steady recovery here at home. On April 29 he had emergency quadruple bypass surgery, followed by an infection in his leg where they harvested the vein for the bypasses. The massive complications from the infection were terrifying, but with intense medical treatments he fought back and made it home, a weakened but determined man with a wife who now knows more about nursing than she ever dreamed she would. We are grateful to be working toward a “new normal.”
On a brighter note, our granddaughter started her sophomore year at college in computer engineering, our son was promoted to Senior Engineer, and my third book, Keeper of My Dreams, launched on September 6, 2021 with The Wild Rose Press.
Important reasons I write:
I write because I have to – my sanity depends on it. For as long as I can remember, characters and stories floated around in my head, and I had to work them out, first every night in bed before I fell asleep, and later when I could finally write them down. I wrote, directed, and starred in my first play when I was nine years old, inspired by Japanese kimonos sent to us from a friend.
Even when I was a full time teacher, wife, and mother, I spent most of my free time writing down stories and books. Some of my favorites are the ones I wrote every year for my granddaughter about the adventures of Princess Allison in the Kingdom of Furlong. It took years before I had the courage to see if I could get anything of these writings officially published.
While I am thrilled to see my words in print – Sometimes I reread those words and wonder who wrote them! – my greatest joy comes from bringing the characters to life and dropping them in whatever setting I find. If, for some reason, I take a break from writing, the stories haunt my dreams as night, and I have trouble sleeping. I have to write!
New ideas – Where do you get them?
“People watching” is one of my sources for ideas. I love to imagine what kind of life each person I see has. I also check out pictures of people on calendars and do the same thing. Sometimes a face just hits me as someone I need to write about.
Another source of ideas comes from doing historical research. I may sound like a real nerd, but I don’t care. I love to look through old books, collections, and newspapers. How people lived fascinates me. My allergies flair up – lots of coughing and sneezing – with these old papers, but the Internet has been a tremendous help for that.
I find so many unbelievable things that really happened. Child kings were held prisoner by their guardians, wars were fought over queens who refused to marry at age four, and the Chinese thought gunpowder was a life-extending elixir until it blew up their houses! Also George Washington had an elaborate spy network that was so secret no one knew about it until it was uncovered in this century.
You can’t make this stuff up, but you can write about it!
Doubts you’ve struggled with as an author
Sometimes a feeling comes over me that all this work I’ve put into my stories has been a waste of my time. Who do I think I am that I call myself a writer? Does anyone want to read my words? Has the time and money it takes to promote a book been pointless? Should I spend more time in reality instead of in the lives of characters I create?
Recently I experienced a period of time when I absolutely could not write. I sat at the computer and no words came or the ones that did were few and meaningless. It was a terrible time, and I can understand why so many famous writers turned to alcohol to dull the heartache. I realize now that the stress of my husband’s illness and hospitalization traumatized me, and I accepted that with time, I would get my muse back. And I have.
Overcoming those doubts
For me the answer to overcoming doubts comes when I remember if I let my doubts stop me, I would miss every minute of the process of creation so much! Every book I have ever read since I learned to read made me ask “How did they do that?” How did that character or that setting come into being? How did the words and sentences go together to create a specific emotion in me? I want to find out those things in every book I read, every play or movie I see, and every story I hear. Once I figured out that I could put words on paper to create a situation or a story or a world that I could “live in” for a while, I was hooked on the process.
No one goes through life without doubts, but the joy of having found my calling, first in my teaching career - I truly love to work with children, and every morning I woke up and the first thing on my mind was what do I get to do today with my students? Now in my writing career, I wake up and think about what do I get to write/create today? That banishes my doubts.
What’s outside your main character’s window?
Leena Cullane Adair in Keeper of My Dreams has come to the city of Stirling in Scotland from her family estate in the southern Highlands. The calm quiet of a country estate is replaced by the unfamiliar bustle of a city, and Leena is overwhelmed.
Outside her window of the inn where she and her brothers are staying is a muddy, rut-filled road with a disgusting, smelly garbage trench running right down the middle. She must cross it to reach the mercer’s shop, but the many people, horses, and wagons dart around her in a confusing dance, and when a gaggle of geese causes her to fall, she is rescued from the mud by the handsome gunsmith, Reid Haliburton. Reid’s shop is also across the road from the inn where Leena is staying, and she spends her nights looking out the window toward his shop in hopes of catching a glimpse of him while he works.
Toward the end of Leena’s story, she and Reid’s oldest son are held prisoners on a pirate ship heading up the coast of Scotland. From the small porthole on the starboard side all she can see is endless ocean. She wonders if her memories of Reid will last for her lifetime or will they vanish with every wave of the water?
Keeper of My Dreams
Susan Leigh Furlong
Gunpowder and love, both explosive.
A gun can kill. A heart can save.
A Peek Inside
Reid Haliburton, a skilled gunsmith, wants to control who uses his revolutionary handgun until a vicious pirate decides the gun will be his. The price of refusing is Reid’s life and those of his three young sons. Reid’s only chance to save his sons is to send them away and face the pirate’s wrath alone.
Leena Cullane Adair is stunned to find three lads hiding in her cart, and, although she only met their father a week ago, he holds her heart and her dreams, and she will do whatever it takes to keep him and his sons alive.
A Further Peek
Susan Leigh Furlong was born in the middle of a blinding spring snowstorm at the University of Michigan, which forced her mother to walk across campus in the snow to the hospital while in labor. Susan doesn’t remember any of this auspicious beginning, but it always makes for a good story! As a child she moved across the country six times to various big cities before the age of fourteen because of her father’s career in women’s ready-to-wear clothing. At college she met and married her love, and moved to his small hometown in southern Ohio, and you couldn’t get her out of there with a crowbar! She taught first grade and fourth grade and raised her children who did not have to change schools even once. Creating stories started early in life—as is typical of most writers—even before she could actually write. Then came handwritten pages stuffed in her underwear drawer, followed by stories created on a manual typewriter. Her first computer—a Commodore 64—was replaced by a series of computers and laptops, which her husband promised she could never fill up the storage space, but she always did. At age 32 she performed in her first community theater play—Guys and Dolls—where she quickly realized that she wanted to play ALL the parts, which is exactly what a writer does. She writes and/or directs church-related plays and sketches and also performs and sings with a music and drama ministry, LightReaders.
Her love of history led her to write two plays about her now hometown, presented in reader’s theater style by local citizens, followed by two non-fiction books about the local history published by Arcadia Publishing. She loves to do the research even though old books and documents make her cough and sneeze! Susan first discovered romance novels when she won a copy of Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux at the local bookstore. She reads all varieties of books, but historical romance is forever her first choice.
Steadfast Will I Be and By Promise Made were published by The Wild Rose Press in 2019 and 2020 respectively. By Promise Made won the NEST – National Excellence in Story Telling – for Historical Romance for 2021. Her third book – Keeper of My Dreams – a continuation of the Cullane family adventures - was released on September 6, 2021.
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