Romancing History

Category: Author Interviews

Author Interview with Kimberly Duffy and a Giveaway!

I’m so excited to introduce my Romancing History readers to author and new friend, Kimberly Duffy. I discovered Kimberly’s debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings, quite by accident. She posted in the Facebook group, Avid Readers of Christian Fiction, that she was looking for people to join her launch team. When I discovered that her story was set in India during the latter part of the 19th century, I was all in. And when I reached out to her, she graciously agreed to do an interview on Romancing History.

And that’s not all! Kimberly is offering a paper copy of A Mosaic of Wings to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, see the Giveaway Section at the bottom of the post!

Before the interview, let’s learn a little about the author and her fabulous book. Click here to read my full review.


About Kimberly

Kimberly Duffy enjoys writing historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books often feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. When not writing or homeschooling her four children, she enjoys taking trips that require a passport and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. A Long Island native, she currently resides in southwest Ohio.

You can connect with Kimberly on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

 


About the Book

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India–and of Owen–fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices–between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

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Author Interview

Fast Five

  1. Coffee or Tea? Tea, but only herbal because I’m, sadly, allergic to caffeine.
  2. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth, but I would choose him in every role so I’m not completely impartial.
  3. Sound of Music or Hello Dolly? Sound of Music
  4. I Love Lucy or Get Smart? I Love Lucy
  5. Dogs or Cats? Neither. Allergies make it hard to enjoy them

RH:  Welcome to Romancing History, Kimberly. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

KD: I’ve been writing since I was twelve, and seriously pursuing publication for about seven years. My debut released with Bethany House on May 5. My first three books are all set in the late 19th century and I’ll probably stick with that era for a long while since it’s my favorite (I might venture into early 20th, though.)

I’ve been married twenty years and we have four children. I grew up in New York, met my husband in India, married in Pennsylvania, and now live in Ohio. I’m a very reluctant homeschooler—I adore everything about it except the part where I have to actually be with people all day long. I’m going to write a book one day—The Introverted Homeschooler. There’s only going to be one sentence in it—“Your goal is to get your child as independent as possible as quickly as possible and then you will be okay.”

RH: That is so funny. I’m sure it would sell like hot cakes! Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

KD: I have the world’s ugliest handwriting. It’s embarrassing. And not at all correctable (I’ve tried but no amount of practice or focus improves it.)

I also have a truly awful memory. My husband teases me for it—he’s introduced me to his cousins dozens of times, but I still don’t recognize them if we run into each other. For the most part, I’ll forget the details of a movie or book almost the minute I’m done with it. I cannot for the life of me remember my youngest child’s birthday. If we get into a fight, just wait a couple hours, because I will have completely forgotten why I was mad at you.

RH: We’re opposites on the handwriting but only because my mother was a stickler for neat penmanship. No doubt a throwback from her Catholic school upbringing. She made me practice for hours each week. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

KD: I LOVE this story. Okay…picture a kind of preppy girl from the rather well-off Long Island suburbs who excels at writing contests, youth group functions, and carrying very heavy Russian novels into the lunch room. Then throw in a boy raised in the projects of a dying Ohio industrial city who regularly dyes his hair blue, is in a punk rock band (she only listens to Caedmon’s Call and Newsboys), and has never eaten a real bagel. Send them to Bangalore, India where they are to do non-profit work (him teaching music and her teaching children) and make sure no one understands their jokes and movie references, there are rats and spiders the size of medium-size dogs (this is perfect for setting him up to be the hero), and the only place that feels like home is a restaurant literally called The Only Place. It’s a match bound to happen.

***Also—our first kiss happened while watching Aristocats during Everybody Wants to be a Cat.

RH: What a great story! I just love hearing how couples meet. I met my hubby when he crashed my birthday party to flirt with my friend hosting the party! What was the inspiration behind your debut novel,  A Mosaic of Wings?

KD: A Mosaic of Wings was inspired by my now thirteen-year-old daughter who has wanted to be an entomologist since she was five. When I told my family I was writing my first historical novel, she suggested I write about a female entomologist because “there probably aren’t any books like that.” Nora came to me immediately and almost fully formed. I knew a woman who lived in the 19th century and pursued what would have been a male-dominated profession would have to be smart, driven, and focused.

RH: I think its really cool that your daughter was behind the idea of Nora being an entomologist. I’m very curious to know if she’s still planning to pursue entomology herself. Back to Nora—I’m so glad that you brought up the fact that you wrote her character to be a smart, driven, and focused heroine. Not only is she a strong female protagonist, she’s quite flawed. From my experience, the flaws authors give their main characters are oftentimes not really flaws at all. What made you decide to portray your heroine with imperfections (willful, stubborn, and a bit self-centered) that might ruffle some readers feathers? How has she been received?

I am so happy you asked about this! ALL of my characters are flawed. Because that’s part of the human condition. I want readers to see Nora and think, “Well, I’ve been stubborn. And I’ve been self-centered at times. And I’ve been willful. Yet…God, in all of his grace and love and goodness, still yearns to bless me. Still desires my heart. And his plans are so much bigger than my mistakes.”

You can blame the Bible for that because it’s absolutely riddled with flawed people making terrible decisions. People like David and Paul and Moses. And God used and loved every one of them. I’m a big believer in the beauty of grace. And how can I show grace in my books if I don’t write characters who need it so desperately?

People are sometimes ugly. There’s a scene where Nora has a particularly bad attitude toward another character. It’s such a defining moment because after she thinks uncharitably, she recognizes her hypocrisy. And isn’t that life? We’ve all said and thought things and then the Holy Spirit does his work and nudges us toward forgiveness and restitution.

I’ve always been drawn to deeply flawed literary characters—Scarlett from Gone with the Wind, Angel from Redeeming Love, Mary from The Secret Garden—and I prefer books that portray real life. I like when a character grows, but in a way that is believable. People don’t make one mistake and learn from it. Usually we have a few characteristics we particularly struggle with, over and over and over again.

Personally, I love Nora. I relate to Nora. She’s capable, yet fully willing to climb a tree and embrace childlike glee over a nest of ants. She’s prickly, but when she trusts, her vulnerability is made more beautiful because of it. She’s driven to success, but love is a bigger temptation. Nora is complex and that’s so much more interesting than perfection.

This is a subject I’ve given a lot of thought to and when I began writing, I made a very conscious decision to write against the grain and not feature heroines who fit into the standard Christian fiction mold.

That means some people are not going to like my characters—if you’ve read my reviews, you’ll see that—but that’s all right. Because the people who do like my characters, relate to them on a deep level.

RH: Truth be told, Kimberly, I saw a lot of myself in Nora. I’m very stubborn and willful as well. I hope, like Nora, that I’ve grown and learned from my  mistakes, too. And just for the record, I did not think her flaws made her unlikeable. You did an excellent job bringing the sights, sounds, and smells of India alive on the page, not to mention the sweltering heat. Why did you choose an exotic location like India as the setting for a majority of your novel?

KD: I was having a brainstorming session with the amazing Kristy Cambron and she suggested I send Nora somewhere interesting. Because I had lived in India and had access to some wonderful Indian friends to help me along the way, and there is a massive diversity of butterflies in the country, it seemed a great place to send Nora to.

RH: It was an excellent decision in my opinion. You immersed me so completely in the setting I felt a part of the scene. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?

KD: I have a lot of favorite quotes and most of them are of the descriptive variety, but I think this one speaks to me most at the moment because I’m missing it so much:

“India, and everything that happened there, spoke to her in whispers that caressed her memories, wrapping everything in exotic perfume and sultry, cicada-song nights.”

RH: That is lovely. You are such a vivid writer. What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

KD: I hope they discover what an amazing country India is and perhaps decide to visit someday. I hope they notice God’s artistry and creativity, displayed in this vast, beautiful world he’s given us. And I hope, more than anything else, they recognize that that they are loved, wholeheartedly and unreservedly, by a God whose plans are always better and bigger and more amazing than our own.

RH: Amen. Before you leave us, can you tell us a little bit about what are you working on now?

KD: I am working on edits for book two which releases winter of 2021. It’s set in 1887 Calcutta and Wiltshire, England and is about faith and home. I’m also working on the draft of book three that is set in 1897 Poona that features some bizarre similarities to what is happening in the world today.

RH: Well they both sound intriguing, especially that little teaser about book 3. I look forward to reading them both. Thank you for visiting with us today on Romancing History.

KD: Thank you for having me. I enjoyed chatting with you and your readers.


Giveaway**

THIS GIVEWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

CONGRATULATIONS TO our Winner — KATHY BAILEY!!

Kimberly is generously offering one paperback copy of A Mosaic of Wings to one lucky Romancing History reader. (Sorry, but only U.S. residents are eligible). An electronic copy is available for international guests. To enter, tell us about the most exotic place you’ve been able to visit in person or through the pages of an amazing novel!

**Giveaway ends midnight, June 19, 2020.

Author Interview with Amanda Barratt and a Giveaway!!

I’m so excited to introduce my Romancing History readers to the amazingly talented author, Amanda Barratt. Amanda and I met online when I heard the buzz about her previous novel, My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. And if you’ve been following my blog or on social media, you know I gushed over this book. You can see my full review here.

Amanda’s most recent novel, The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler, released last month from Kregel Publications. I was honored to be part of the launch team for this book.

The White Rose Resists follows the story of university Hans and Sophie Scholl who dared to keep silent and urged their fellow Germans to speak out against the Nazi regime. The novel is told from Sophie’s point of view as well as two fictional characters, Annalise Brandt and Kirk Hoffman.

I first learned about Hans and Sophie Scholl when my husband and I traveled to Germany in 2007. We had the opportunity to see the memorial dedicated to their sacrifice at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. It captures the moment that Hans and Sophie scattered leaflets in the university’s main atrium moments before they were apprehended. When I learned that Amanda was writing a novel to tell Sophie’s story, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Amanda did an astounding amount of research and weaves actual quotes from letters and diaries of those inside the White Rose into this book making for a spectacular, heart wrenching story! Themes of faith and truth run through The White Rose Resists, reminding the reader of the eternal fight of good versus evil and will leave you questioning what price you would pay for freedom. Please, folks, do yourself a favor and read this book! See my full review here.

Amanda is generously offering a $5 Amazon gift card to one Romancing History visitor. See the details at the bottom of this post.


About Amanda

Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a two-time FHL Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She and her family live in northern Michigan. Connect with her on Facebook, or visit her website.


About the Book

Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil

The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor–that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler’s machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife’s edge of discovery by the Gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she’s been brought up to believe in the Führer’s divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.

Soon Annalise joins their double life–students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they’re all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost.

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Author Interview

Fast Five

Coffee or Tea? Tea!I drink coffee as a treat at coffee shops (love mocha lattes) but I enjoy a cup of tea on an almost-daily basis.

Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth forever.

Bookmark or Dog Ear Pages? Which for me is usually a random piece of paper, rather than an actual bookmark.

Mexican or Chinese Food? Tacos are a weekly staple at our house. I love them topped with fresh salsa and homemade guacamole.

I Love Lucy or Get Smart? I Love Lucy. I’ve seen the episodes so many times I practically have them memorized. I love the comedy and Lucy’s fabulous 50’s fashion.

Author Q&A

RH: To get the ball rolling, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

AB: I’ve been writing for about eight years. During the years before I was published, I completed 7 full-length manuscripts, all of which are safely nestled away in files on my computer, where most of them will remain. 🙂 I signed my first contract in 2014, and in 2015, two of my novellas released in anthologies published by Barbour. This year will see the release of my 3rd novel and my 12th  novella. While my novellas are historical romance, my last two novels are historical fiction based on true stories. Every book I write reflects my love for history, whether the story is based around historical events, delves into the lives of little-known historical figures, or illustrates how circumstances we face today—falling in love, dealing with loss, or entering a new season of life—were not so very different in days gone by.

RH: Twelve novellas? Wow! I didn’t realize that you had so many published works. Congratulations! What do you like to do when you’re not reading or writing?

AB: I love baking, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and watching costume dramas.

RH: Ahh, costume dramas. My hubby and I have been known to binge-watch those as well. Some of our recent favorites include Downton Abbey, Poldark, and Victoria. Describe the most unusual place you’ve had your fictional characters kiss.

AB: In My Dearest Dietrich, my characters shared several kisses in a prison visitation room. I loved exploring the juxtaposition between the innocence of new love and the harsh reality of confinement under the Nazi regime.

RH: Since I read and reviewed My Dearest Dietrich, I should’ve seen the answer to that one coming! What is your favorite place/time of day to write and why?

AB: Mid-morning. Though I admire authors who get up at 5 a.m. to write, alas I am not one of them. I don’t think I could write “See Spot Run” at that hour, much less a coherent chapter of a novel! I usually get up, spend a half hour reading the Bible and another non-fiction book (I’ve been enjoying lots of C.S. Lewis lately), have breakfast, and after checking email and social media, dive into my current WIP. Sometimes I’ve met my set word count before lunch, other times I work into the afternoon.

RH: I’m one of those early writers you mentioned above. I usually have the alarm set for 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

AB: While writing My Dearest Dietrich, I came across the story of Sophie Scholl in a book on youth in Nazi Germany. As I read about how a twenty-one-year-old woman formed an underground resistance group along with her brother and fellow students at the University of Munich, I was captivated. I wanted to discover her and answer the question: What made these men and women risk their lives to undertake resistance while their countrymen remained silent? The more I researched, the more Sophie’s story grabbed hold of my heart and begged me to share it.

White Rose Resistance Memorial, Munich, Germany; Photo courtesy of Picture Alliance via Getty Images copyright 2018

RH: Their bravery astounds me. I’d like to think I’d stand up for truth, justice, and freedom at any cost like Hans and Sophie, but I think that is something we will never truly know about ourselves unless we are tested. There were so many wonderful secondary characters in your The White Roses Resists, one do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

AB: Anyone familiar with the story of the White  Rose knows the names of Hans and Sophie Scholl. Yet they were far from the only ones involved in the student resistance. I was captivated by the stories of the other men and women I encountered during my research, particularly Alex Schmorell, who worked closely with the Scholls from the beginning of their resistance. Alex was charming and handsome, and had a deep affinity with his Russian heritage, as his mother was from Russia. His love for the Russian people and culture was unique at a time when German propaganda termed the Russians as “subhuman.” Like many of those in the White Rose, he was a committed Christian, and the letters he wrote to his family in the weeks before his execution are incredibly moving. You might say I fell a little bit in love with Alex while writing the novel.

RH: I enjoyed Alex’s story as well, especially the scenes during their summer stationed on the Russian front. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?

AB: “Each of us has been given one life. It’s ours to spend as we will. Every voice matters. If they arise as one, change can happen. But first, one has to rise. There has to be a beginning.”

RH: Amanda, that just gave me the chills all over again. Thank you so much for visiting with my readers today.


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to Kiki Stanton, the winner of the $5 Amazon gift card.

Amanda is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, please tell us if you’d heard of Hans & Sophie Scholl or The White Rose Resistance, or any other groups that defied Hitler during WWII (Bonehoeffer, The Confessing Church, etc). What price would you be willing to pay for truth, justice and/or freedom?

** This giveaway ends, midnight, Wednesday, June 10th, 2020.**

Author Interview with Jodie Wolfe & a Giveaway!

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and dear friend, Jodie Wolfe, to Romancing History today. Jodie and I met when I joined her critique group a few years ago. Unfortunately, that group has since dissolved but I am a huge fan of Jodie’s and I know you will be, too.

Jodie’s newest release, Taming Julia, released February 14 from Pelican Book Group. Before we chat with Jodie, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.


About Jodie

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

Jodie loves to connect with readers on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads and on her Amazon Author Page.


About the Book

Tagline: A gun-toting, breeches-wearing wife wasn’t what the minister ordered.

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

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Excerpt from Taming Julia

Matrimony News, February 6, 1875 edition

Minister bachelor aged 27, height 5 feet 10 inches seeks genteel, honest and first-rate homemaker with a desire to serve God. Must be willing to marry by proxy and arrive in Burrton Springs, Kansas by May 1.

~*~

Burrton Springs, Kansas, Saturday, May 1, 1875

            Dear Lord, please don’t let that creature be my new wife. Drew Montgomery swiped the sweat trickling a path down his neck and shoved the new hat back on his head. He squinted, taking in the lone passenger stepping from the stagecoach. At least, he thought it was a woman. He shielded his eyes from the sun, taking in the britches.

            Britches? A gun belt strapped to a slim waist. He gulped. A rifle rested on her shoulder, and she wore a Stetson situated low on her brow. The figure shifted sideways, and Drew groaned, fearing his proxy mail-order bride had arrived by the look of all the curves. He squared his shoulders and crossed the street.

“Are you Montgomery?” Her coffee-brown gaze seared through him.

He snapped his gaping mouth shut and nodded. “Y-yes.”

“Name’s Jules Walker.” She shoved her hand into his and shook it so hard his teeth clattered. “I reckon, Jules Montgomery since we’re hitched.” She waved a slip of paper in his face. “Got the paper here to prove it. So are you my husband or not?”

Drew caught a whiff of dirt. He coughed and cleared his throat.

She peered at him as if he were a chicken with one leg.

“I’m Drew.” He managed to choke the words out. “Isn’t your name Julia?”

She scrunched her face, pushed her Stetson from her head, and allowed it to dangle from the string around her neck. Her brown hair scattered in disarray, slipping from a shoulder-length braid. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve been called Julia. Like I said, name’s Jules.”

“But…” Drew let the word hang between them. No matter. “Where’re your things?”

“Got my knapsack and that there.” She pointed to the top of the stagecoach. He expected to see a trunk, but a saddle rested there instead. What kind of woman brought a saddle into a marriage? What kind of woman showed up dressed like a man? No. No. Something was terribly wrong.


Interview with Jodie Wolfe

Fast Five

Dogs or Cats? Dogs. We had a standard poodle for over 17 years.

Coffee or Tea? Tea – hot or cold depending upon the season.

Bookmark or Dog Ear Pages? Cringe. I never understood why people would dog ear pages. I use bookmarks for sure!

Mexican or Chinese Food? Chinese food.

Kindle or Paperback? Paperback. I love having the physical copy in my hands.

Author Q&A

RH: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in? If you’re comfortable sharing some personal details about yourself that would be great! Readers love to know about an author’s daily life.

JW: I wrote my first novel when I was 13. That story was a mystery. But ever since then, all I’ve written is historical romances set in the 19th Century, other than the nonfiction etiquette book that went along with To Claim Her Heart.

Taming Julia is my seventh book.

RH: To Claim Her Heart is fabulous! I really enjoyed that book and am looking forward to reading Taming Julia. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

JW: We met at college. I lived off campus at the time. My roommate was going to be leading an evangelism committee meeting and there were two people on campus that needed a ride, so I was designated to pick them up since I had a car. One of those two ended up becoming my husband. 🙂

RH: That’s so fun! Who knew a simple favor would end up leading you to your Mr. Right? What do you like to do when you’re not reading or writing?

JW: I like to knit and spend time with my husband. He’s my hero!

RH: I’ve always wanted to learn to knit. I bet you make some lovely blankets for your grandchildren, right? Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

JW: Hopeful, quirky, inspirational.

RH: Quirky definitely fits which is why I loved To Claim Her Heart! Our books are our babies, with that in mind, do have a favorite amongst your published stories? If so, which one and why?

JW: My favorite story that I’ve written is Taming Julia. I think I like it the best because my heroine was such a fun, quirky character to write about.

RH: She must be a real handful based on that tagline and excerpt you shared. What unpublished story do you have in your stash that you really hope sees the light of day someday? 

JW: I wrote a story set in a lighthouse in Camden, Maine. It needs a bit of rewriting before it could possibly see the light of day. Someday I hope to do that.

RH: That is such a different setting than your westerns that your known for. I think a story set in a lighthouse sounds wonderful. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?

JW: “Josh said couples kiss after they’re hitched. Should we try it? I’ve never done it afore, but I reckon we could give it a shot.” She puckered her lips and waited.

Drew took a big step backward

Had she used the wrong word? Jules wrinkled her brow, trying to recollect what her brother had said. Had he called it a peck? Nah, couldn’t be. That’s what prairie chickens did when they found a tasty bug.

RH: ROFL. That’s hilarious and really showcases the humor in your books. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

JW: I wanted to explore what would happen if a guy advertised for a wife and who showed up was completely opposite. What would he do, especially since they married by proxy before she arrived.

RH:  I’m absolutely obsessed with mail order bride stories, another reason I’m looking forward to reading Taming Julia. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

JW: Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:1-2

God is always available to us; all we need to do is to call out to Him.

RH: Amen! I love that verse. When and where is your story set?

JW: Part of it is in a made up town in Kansas, but there is one scene that takes place outside of Blanco, Texas in a place called the Narrows. I had the pleasure of visiting it a couple years ago.

RH: I’ve never visited Texas but its definietly on my bucket list. Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for your story?

JW: I would pick Doris Day for my heroine and Chris Evans for my hero.

RH: Oh my, Doris Day! I just picture her as Jules! How fun! Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use or not use in your story that you’d like to share?

JW: The most fascinating thing I researched when writing this book was the whole era of mail-order brides. I was able to read some of their stories. Some worked out, some not so much.

RH: That is so true. On a trip out west, I picked up a little book on mail order brides and it was filled with actual advertisements. It also had stories of some real marriages arranged via the Matrimonial News. I just find the whole concept so fascinating! What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

JW: That we can trust God to be working in our lives, even when we can’t see it.

RH: Yes, He is always working behind the scenes for our good. It brings me a lot of peace to remember that. What are you working on now?

JW: I’m working on a sequel about Josh, Jules’ brother. It has a working title of either Wooing Annie or Protecting Annie. I’m also working on a book set in the town where I went to college. It deals with the theme of belonging and is called Hannah’s Quest.

RH: They both sound wonderful. I had so much fun chatting with you, Jodie. Thanks for visiting with my readers.


Giveaway**

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**

CONGRATULATIONS TO PERRIANNE ASKEW WHO WON THE KINDLE COPY OF TAMING JULIA!

Jodie has graciously offered a free Kindle copy to one Romancing History reader. To be entered in the giveaway, please tell us your thoughts on being a 19th century mail order bride. Do you think you could answer an advertisement and marry by proxy like Jules?

**Giveaway open to U.S. residents only and ends midnight, March 11, 2020.

Author Interview with Heidi Chiavaroli & a Giveaway

I’m so thrilled to welcome women’s fiction/split time author, Heidi Chiavaroli, to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of getting to know Heidi when I snagged a coveted position on the launch team for her third novel, The Edge of Mercy.

Heidi’s most recent novel, The Tea Chest, released earlier this month and is a stand alone split time story. I’m sure my Romancing History readers won’t be surprised to learn that the historical thread is my favorite. I really enjoyed this book (see my review) and was tickled when Heidi said she’d do an interview with us.

Heidi has graciously offered a signed copy of The Tea Chest to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, see the details in the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post.

Before we chat with Heidi, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.


About Heidi

DSC_0282Heidi Chiavaroli (pronounced shev-uh-roli…like Chevrolet and ravioli mushed together!) wrote her first story in third grade, titled I’d Cross the Desert for Milk. It wasn’t until years later that she revisited writing, using her two small boys’ nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn’t stopped writing since!

Heidi writes women’s fiction, combining her love of history and literature to write split time stories. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut.

Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her high-school sweetheart and husband of sixteen years. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

Connect with Heidi

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   GoodReads   BookBub


About the Book

Boston, 1773
Emma Malcolm’s father is staunchly loyal to the crown, but Emma’s heart belongs to Noah Winslow, a lowly printer’s assistant and Patriot. But her father has promised her hand to Samuel Clarke, a rapacious and sadistic man. As his fiancée, she would have to give up Noah and the friends who have become like family to her―as well as the beliefs she has come to embrace.

After Emma is drawn into the treasonous Boston Tea Party, Samuel blackmails her with evidence that condemns each participant, including Noah. Emma realizes she must do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means giving up the life she desires and becoming Samuel’s wife.

Present Day
Lieutenant Hayley Ashworth is determined to be the first woman inducted into the elite Navy SEALs. But before her dream can be realized, she must return to Boston in order to put the abuse and neglect of her childhood behind her. When an unexpected encounter with the man she once loved leads to the discovery of a tea chest and the document hidden within, she wonders if perhaps true strength and freedom are buried deeper than she first realized.

Two women, separated by centuries, must find the strength to fight for love and freedom. . . and discover a heritage of courage and faith.

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     CBD


Interview with Heidi

Fast Five

  • Dogs or Cats? Dogs most definitely.
  • Coffee or Tea? Tea all the way.
  • Bookmark or Dog Ear Pages? And hurt the book?! Bookmark!
  • Kindle or Paperback? Paperback. I tried to get into digital reading but for me, there’s just something about the experience of holding a book with pages.
  • Night Owl or Early Bird? Early bird. I’m usually ready for bed by 9!

Q & A

RH: Heidi it’s been fun getting to know you through your launch team. Can you share something unusual about yourself with my Romancing History readers? Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

HC: I’m a bit obsessive compulsive about a clean house. I have one day a week that I set aside for cleaning and groceries, and I have trouble ignoring this day even when I’m on deadline. I simply can’t concentrate if it’s not done!

RH: I like a tidy house, too, but if I’m cleaning toilets either company is coming over, or I’m avoiding edits or writing a tough scene. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

HC: The first time I saw my husband we were freshmen in high school. I will always remember that day because he looked just like a boy I dreamed about the year before. (Not kidding!) But we didn’t hang out much. He was a vocational kid and I was busy with my honors classes. It wasn’t until senior year that he came up to me at lunch and asked me out. The rest is history!

RH: Aww, that’s so cute. I love hearing how people meet their spouse. What do you like to do when you’re not reading or writing?

HC: I love to hike. I also love to quilt, cross-stitch, watch movies with my family, bake, dance in my kitchen, and sing.

RH: Wow! You have such a wide variety of hobbies and talents! I love to sing around the house as well but I “can’t carry a tune with a handle on it” as my mama always said (and my hubby would whole-heartedly agree). When did you know you wanted to write?

HC: Ever since early elementary school, when I discovered the library and the power of a story, I wanted to write. In third grade, I attempted my first novel, I’d Cross the Desert for Milk. A masterpiece! 😉

RH: I love that you still remember the title of a story you wrote in third grade! That’s adorable! What unpublished story do you have in your stash that you really hope sees the light of day someday? 

HC: The second story I wrote, which actually won ACFW’s Genesis contest in 2014, is a historical novel based on a leper colony off the coast of Massachusetts in the early 20th century. For so many reasons, that’s the story of my heart. It needs a bit of work, and I’m not really sure how many readers want to spend time in a leper colony (I would, but that’s another one of my quirks!), so who knows if it will ever actually see the light of day.

RH: Wow, what a unique idea. As a lover of history, I think that would be a fascinating read!What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

HC: This inspiration definitely came slowly for me! Since I knew I wanted to write about the events of the Boston Tea Party, I dove into researching everything I could about the circumstances surrounding it. My historical heroine, Emma Malcolm, was birthed when I read an account of the brutal tarring and feathering of customs official John Malcolm. This servant of the crown was quite a character in his own right—very outspoken and stubborn with no patience for the antics of the Patriots. And yet I found myself feeling compassion for him. He was treated cruelly and inhumanely by those we find ourselves lauding as heroes today.

I imagined what it’d be like if he had a daughter—one who sympathized with the Sons of Liberty…one who sympathized with the very political side her father was intent on squelching. What if his daughter befriended those plotting to dump the tea? What if she aided them? What if she were even in love with one of them?

Once I had the historical story line down, I thought it might be fun to explore a contemporary woman who also longs to fight for her country and prove herself the best way she knows how. In my research about women in the military, I learned that in July 2017, it was announced that for the first time, a woman would enter the training pipeline to become a Navy SEAL. I imagined what this unidentified woman had gone through and what propelled her to enter such rigorous training. I decided to explore her story in fiction.

Emma and Hayley, my contemporary heroine, both long to serve their country despite broken families. They both long to prove themselves and seek a greater worth and identity.

RH: I really like the aspect that your heroines, though separated by nearly 250  years, were both seeking to belong and found that new identity in Christ. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

HC: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”

The Tea Chest explores what it means to find our worth not in our past, not in what we do or how well we do it, but in whose we are, and in who we trust in.

RH: Amen. When and where is your story set?

HC: Colonial Boston/1770s

RH: My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in Boston a few years ago. They’ve done such a fantastic job preserving our heritage. Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use or not use in your story that you’d like to share?

HC: Before I did the research for this book, I really didn’t understand the concept of tarring and feathering. All the colonial cartoon pictures depicted it as an almost funny event—a full grown man with a coat of feathers being paraded through the streets. Sounded silly to me! Not until I dove into my research did I really begin to understand how humiliating and dangerously painful this experience was. Those Patriots could certainly be brutal!

RH: I had no idea either until I read The Tea Chest. That was the first time I actually thought about how painful tarring & feathering must have been. I thought you portrayed that very well. Which secondary character do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

HC: Sarah Bradlee Fulton was a real historical person, but in The Tea Chest she is a friend and mentor to my historical heroine, Emma. Sarah is given credit for coming up with the idea of Mohawk disguises the night of the Boston Tea Party. She also did some other pretty courageous things to help the cause of the Patriots. Her bold courage inspired me, and I hope she will inspire readers!

RH: I did love Sarah’s strength of character and commitment to help the cause of Independence. Her determination was definitely inspiring. What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

HC: I hope readers are touched by the ultimate hope the characters find. I hope they feel it is possible to break away from a troubled past, to make peace with it, and to find renewed hope in a God who loves them.

RH: Yes, I loved the theme that you are not defined by your past or your family, but by the choices you make. The most important being where you place your hope and trust. What are you working on now?

HC: I just finished edits for my next book with Tyndale, scheduled for release next year and tentatively titled The Orchard House. So I’m in the wonderfully beautiful place of dreaming up a new book!

RH: I’ve really enjoyed your stories, Heidi, and look forward to your next release. I’m just not sure I’ll be able to wait an entire year! I had so much fun chatting with you today. Thanks for visiting with my readers.


Giveaway**

 

This Giveaway is now CLOSED! Congratulations to Connie Porter Saunders, the winner of the signed copy of The Tea Chest!!!

In The Tea Chest, Heidi’s historical heroine, makes a choice to leave her loyalist family and join the Patriot cause defying not only her strict father, but societal expectations. But not all men and women of that day agreed with cause of liberty. Many identified as English subjects and chose to remain loyal to the crown. If you lived in Boston on the eve of the American Revolution, would you fancy yourself a Patriot and risk being labeled a traitor? Or would you feel the moral road led to working with the crown to resolve your problems and remain a Loyalist? Tell us why in the comments below to be entered to win the signed copy of The Tea Chest.

**Giveaway ends midnight, March 4th, 2020.

Author Interview with Patti Stockdale & a Giveaway!

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and sweet friend, Patti Stockdale, to Romancing History today. Although Patti and I met through an on-line group for first-timers attending the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference in May 2016, we discovered that we once lived less than a block apart from each other in a small Virginia town but had never met. How crazy is that?

Patti’s debut novel, Three Little Things, released February 4th and folks, it’s fabulous. Click here to read my five-star review. Patti has graciously offered a signed copy of Three Little Things to one Romancing History Guest. You can enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post.

Before we chat with Patti, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.


About Patti

Patti Stockdale loves hope, history, and a good happily ever after. She can’t remember numbers, so she married a statistician. Thanks to him, she’s lived all sorts of places and worked all sorts of jobs. While employed by an NFL team, she once answered the phone by the wrong team name. She doesn’t work there anymore. For 11 years, she directed the programming at a nonprofit senior center and hosted an annual talent show, rocking a Dolly Parton wig, Annie Oakley boots, and a sweet—although snug—Batman costume. She no longer works there either. These days, Patti writes books and occasionally educational assessments and magazine articles.

You can connect with Patti on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, & BookBub


About the Book

One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.

Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.

Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.

One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.

 

Amazon          Barnes & Noble

 


Interview with Patti

Fast Five

Coffee or Tea?  Tea. Growing up, we visited my grandparents every afternoon at three o’clock for tea time.

Mexican or Chinese? Mexican. I always order the same thing – cheese enchiladas and rice.

Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin?  Chocolate Chip Cookies. Crispy, please.

Jeans & Ankle Boots or Pajamas & Slippers? Pajamas & Slippers. My go-to fashion is comfortable and casual.

Pride & Prejudice or Jane Eyre? Pride & Prejudice ranks as my all-time favorite book.

Q&A

About You & Your Writing

RH: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

PS: I returned to college over twenty years ago to study creative writing. That’s when I researched and wrote the first draft of Little Then, I packed it in a box and accepted a job at a busy nonprofit senior center. A few years ago, I dusted off the manuscript, researched for months, and rewrote the book two or three times. I also freelance, writing reading assessments for an educational publisher. Three Little Things, a historical romance, is my first book. Nine days out of ten, you’ll find me writing and editing in my little office with my back to the window. I’m easily distracted!

RH: Hahaha! I can relate to being easily distracted. I recently switched my office to the back of the house where I can no longer see the goings on in the neighborhood. Which 5 words describe you, the woman, apart from being an author?

PS: Five words that describe me include friendly, curious, hard-working, fun-loving, and a Christian.

RH: I would agree whole-heartedly with each of those descriptors and add a great sense of humor. I wish we had known each other when you lived in my neighborhood all those years ago. What or who is your favorite historical romance novel and/or author? Why?

PS: Deeanne Gist is one of my favorite authors because I can’t stop smiling when I read her books. She charms me from beginning to end.

RH: She is one of my favorite authors as well! Another thing we have in common. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

PS: I’ve known my husband forever. He grew up two blocks from my house and delivered our newspaper. In ninth grade, he asked me to dance. I told him I need to talk to my friend first because she’d had a crush on him. Thankfully, she gave me a thumbs up. The rest is history.

RH: That is just the sweetest thing. I bet you’re glad your friend wasn’t too interested. When did you know you wanted to write?

PS: In high school, my English teacher assigned short stories. I stopped myself around the thirty-page mark. My classmates turned in five or six pages. Still, it took me another twenty years to figure out my career goal.

RH: That’s funny! I’m so glad you’ve found you’re calling! What has God taught you along your writing journey?

PS: God has taught me to stop manipulating my writing career and to trust him.

About Your Recent Release

RH: That is an ongoing lesson that most believers struggle with. I know I do. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

PS: Love letters my maternal grandparents exchanged during WW I served as inspiration for my novel.

RH: When I heard the novel was based on your grandparents letters, you’d already hooked me. What a neat way to not only get to know your grandparents in a way most grandchildren never do, but its a pretty neat way to remember them by for your whole family. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?

PS: The first two sentences of Three Little Things are probably my favorite, not that it goes downhill from there! “Not once in eighteen years had Hattie Waltz considered praying for a plague. But if a swarm of locusts intervened, she’d not complain.”

RH: Those are some pretty great lines. I was all in as soon as I read them. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be?

PS: Deuteronomy 31:6 best fits my story. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

RH: I love that verse and having read the story, I’d agree that they fit your story well. When and where is your story set?

PS: Three Little Things, set from 1917-1918, takes place on the Iowa homefront, three boot camps, and in France.

RH: You must have really had your hands full learning about all those different settings you portrayed in your novel. Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for your story?

PS: If I made movies, I’d cast the hero and heroine from The Notebook (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) to star in Three Little Things. They slightly resemble my grandparents who inspired the story.

RH: Excellent choices! Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use in your story that you’d like to share?

PS: Much of my research centered on German-American families during the war and how they suffered discrimination based on their ancestry. I inserted that factual detail into the story.

RH: That is very true. Many German-Americans changed the spelling of their names to demonstrate their loyalty to their new country. One town near me changed its name from Berlin to Lovettsville during that time period. What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

PS: After reading Three Little Things, I hope people fall in love with Arno and Hattie, learn something new about the WW I era, and discover how faith and trust cemented the story.

RH: Well, I certainly did and was rooting for Arno from the beginning. Anything else you’d like us to know about you or your book?

PS: My favorite part of the book is the letters Arno and Hattie exchange, especially the three little things they share with each other.

RH: The Three Little Things that Arno and Hattie share in their letters are so endearing and really make your novel unique. What are you working on now?

PS: I’m polishing my next manuscript set in 1919. Because It’s True showcases a woman who learns she’s adopted and a soldier who learns his sweetheart married his twin. On a road trip to find two siblings for her and a fresh start for him, they discover there’s no place like home.

 RH: Oh, that sounds wonderful! I can hardly wait to read it! I had so much fun chatting with you, Patti. Thanks for visiting with my readers.

PS: Thanks so much for this sweet opportunity.


*Giveaway

This giveaway has ended.

Congratulations to Deena Adams, the winner of the signed copy of Three Little Things.

Patti has graciously offered a signed copy of Three Little Things to one Romancing History guest. To be entered to win, please tell us “three little things” about yourself in the comments below!

*Giveaway closes midnight, February 19th, 2020.

 

 

Interview with Author Jen Turano and a Give Away!

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author, Jen Turano, to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of meeting Jen at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat last spring. I think my jaw nearly came unhinged when she sat down at our table. I distinctly remember telling myself to “play it cool.” LOL! I don’t know if I managed to pull that off or not, but I did manage not to fall out of my seat so at least there’s that!

Jen’s newest release, Diamond in the Rough, released September 3rd and is the second book in her American Heiress series. Before we chat with Jen, here’s a little bit about Jen and her new book.


About Jen

 

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist.  When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. Readers may find her at www.jenturano.com or https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or on Twitter at JenTurano@JenTurano.


About the Book

 

 

To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble


Interview with Jen

 

Fast Five

Dogs or Cats? Dogs because, well, I don’t think that needs explaining.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee, but only one cup, two cups can make me rather…edgy.

Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth

Puzzles or Board Games? Board games – Clue being my favorite, although Al (husband person) is notorious for messing up the clue cards, which makes it all the more interesting.

Sound of Music or Hello Dolly? Sound of Music – I once sang the title song in a choir competition – had to dress in an outfit that looked exactly like Maria’s when she was twirling around in that grassy field.

Q & A

RH:  Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in?

JT:  I’ve been married to Al for thirty years, and yes, of course I was super, super young when we got married – okay, not really, but that’s what I tell people. “Diamond in the Rough” is my twelfth full-length novel with Bethany House, although I do have two novellas with them as well, but I usually don’t count those. I write Gilded Age Historical Rom-Coms (romantic comedies) and have discovered that I’m a complete history nerd.

RH: I’m a huge history nerd, too something else we have in common. Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

JT: I don’t like bacon.

RH: You don’t like bacon? Really? What about book boyfriends? Who is your favorite literary heart throb?

JT: Is it weird that I don’t have a favorite book boyfriend? Hmmm…

RH: Uh, yeah! LOL! Nah, its probably wise. Then you won’t have drool and ruin your book! LOL! Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your hubby, Al, meet?

JT: We met in a bar in Buffalo, NY – although I didn’t agree to go out with him at first. I actually accepted a date with one of Al’s friends instead. That date was only okay, but then I ran into Al at another event a few weeks later. He gave me this great smile, and we’ve been together ever since.

RH: Poor Al. You made him sweat a little. Your books make me laugh out loud. Are any of the funny incidents in your novels based on events from your real life?

JT: I seem to have a lot of run-ins with animals – I’ve gotten chased by dogs, peacocks, and had to rescue my son from a beaver pond when he sank in the silt. Horses are not my friends, they tend to like to chase me, and don’t even get me started on chickens – can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stalked by chickens.

RH: My, you really have had quite a few misadventures where animals are concerned. That definitely sounds like fodder for your one of your future heroines. What was the inspiration behind Diamond in the Rough?

JT: When I decided to write an American Heiress series, I knew it would be tricky to keep each story fresh, which is why I thought it would be amusing to include a heroine who was an unexpected heiress, and then throw her into New York high society.

RH: I love that twist. Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for your story?

JT: Hero would probably be someone like Clive Owen, while the heroine could be someone like, ah…Jennifer Lawrence? I don’t normally use images when I’m writing a story, nor do I give too many details about appearances because I want the reader to form their own image of what they think my characters look/act like.

RH: What fun! I can totally see Clive Owen as Reginald and Jennifer Lawrence as Poppy. I think its pretty cool that you don’t overload your readers with the physical description of your characters. I often see characters differently than an author paints them. Sometimes I’ll be reading along and the author will mention that the heroine is a brunette and I’m like, what? I could’ve sworn she had red hair!

In Diamond in the Rough, your heroine, Poppy Garrison, interacts with New York high society. What did you learn about the New York Four Hundred during your research?

JT: I do a ton of research about the Gilded Age, and with each book, I always learn something new – in this book, I ran across this mission house, The House of Industry, in Five Points. That establishment offered immigrants classes in English, while also offered school to children. They placed orphans when needed, provided job opportunities, and helped those immigrants transition to life in America.

RH: I’m such a history nerd and I’d never heard of The House of Industry before. That’s really interesting. I do know that etiquette was an important aspect of life in the Gilded Age. In Diamond in the Rough, Reginald Blackburn, agrees to give etiquette lessons to Poppy. Can you share some of the societal expectations for meals or balls that would’ve been part of his instructions?

JT: The quadrille dances were incredibly intricate – the young ladies and men who were chosen to participate in these were required to practice for hours on end, and then they had to go for fittings because each quadrille was really a stage production if you will, complete with costumes and makeup. As for the expectation for meals, it was not uncommon to have twelve courses served, which meant cutlery was excessive, and one had to learn how to properly negotiate around a table setting.

RH: Twelve courses? I can’t even imagine! I loved the opening scene in Diamond in the Rough when Poppy snags her tiara on her dance partner’s jacket. It must have been a challenge for the young women of Poppy’s day to learn all those intricate dance steps. What was your biggest challenge in writing Diamond in the Rough?

JT: Oddly enough, this particular book didn’t give me as much trouble as some of my books have in the past. Yes, the characters didn’t want to behave at first, but all in all, it was an easy write.

RH: Diamond in the Rough is the second book in your American Heiress series. Will any of the characters from Flights of Fancy make an appearance in book two? If so, who can we look forward to seeing again?

JT: Miss Beatrix Waterbury is seen throughout the book, and then she’ll get her story in book three, “Storing Up Trouble.”

RH: I really like it when characters reappear throughout a series. What do you hope readers will take away from Diamond in the Rough?

JT: I always hope readers will take away a few chuckles with any of my books, as well as enjoy a few amusing hours spending time with my quirky characters.

RH: I had so much fun chatting with you, Jen. Thanks for visiting with my readers.

JT: Thanks for having me Kelly!!  Always fun.


Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

Congratulations to our winner, Mandy Bentley!!!

Jen has graciously agreed to give away a paper copy of Diamond in the Rough to one Romancing History reader. To enter the giveaway*, tell us if you’ve had the opportunity to read one of Jen’s novels, and if so, which is your favorite.

*Giveaway ends midnight, September 11, 2019.

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