Lucky me, I received an advance review copy of my wonderful friend Janet Dean’s debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide. A Love Inspired Historical releasing tomorrow, it’s a truly touching story of romance and God’s forgiveness. As an added bonus, Janet has graciously offered to give away an autographed copy of her book. Leave a comment on this post before midnight this coming Thursday, and I'll announce the winner on Friday morning.
I’m so happy to welcome Janet as my guest today.
About Janet Dean: Janet grew up in a family who cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted fascinating stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. She married her college sweetheart and taught first grade before leaving to rear two daughters, but Janet never lost her interest in American history and the stories of strong men and women of faith who built this country. With her daughters grown, she eagerly turned to historical romance. Two of her manuscripts were Golden Heart Inspirational finalists in 2005 and 2006. Her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, will release September 9. The sequel, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, will release in May 2009.
Janet, thanks so much for visiting with me today. How did you get started writing and what was the first thing you wrote?
At twelve I wrote little romances, even illustrating them. I have no idea what happened to these first attempts to write, but I wish I had them now.
I know the feeling! What drew you to romance writing, and from there to inspirational romances?
I love happy endings and enjoy reading books that take me into the nation’s past so historical romance was a perfect fit. Years later I discovered inspirational romance. I love exploring the faith of my characters and how their pasts affect their relationship with God and with others. It’s fun to bring them to a closer relationship with God. Wish I could do that with everyone in my life.
Yes, in fiction writing as opposed to real life, we get to control the outcome. Are there recurring themes or underlying messages you hope to convey in your stories?
Forgiveness and unconditional love are recurring themes of mine. I want my stories to entertain, but I also hope God will use them to bring comfort to readers dealing with similar issues in their lives.
Courting Miss Adelaide certainly touches hearts, a wonderful reminder of God’s perfect love, even when a human parent fails us. When you begin a new project, which usually comes first: characters, setting, or plot?
Character. The “what if” for Courting Miss Adelaide: What if a lonely spinster sees the orphan train as her only way to mother a child? I devise the plot from there.
The “what if” for Courting the Doctor’s Daughter: What if an orphan’s biological father arrives in town and his secret stands between him and the boy’s widowed new mother, a woman he cares about?
Wow, you’ve already whetted my interest in CDD! What’s your least favorite aspect of writing? What part(s) do you love most?
I love writing the opening. I’m excited about the story and in my optimism I believe it will be a wonderful book. ☺ I love writing the last third of the book when I give my mistreated characters the happy ending they’ve earned. My least favorite part is writing the middle when I lose my way for a while and I’m sure the story is terrible. I’m a perfectionist of sorts so once the story is written, I love polishing it.
Yes, wading through the middle of a book is always the hardest. Describe your ideal writing day—surroundings, schedule, attire, etc.
My ideal day would find me dressed with my face on writing at my desk from 10:00 until 4:00. I will have already checked my e-mail, visited Seekerville, and on a good day, posted on my blog, A Cup of Faith. I’m surrounded with Post It notes—I use oodles of them each day—timer, calendar, Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms that dates words and phrases. And quiet. No interruptions. No sense of time pressure. I’d stop for lunch and check e-mail again. Then at 4:00, I’d leave to exercise at Curves. Back home at 5:00 to check e-mail, blogs and work on promotion until 6:00. After dinner I do e-mail—are you noticing a theme here?—and take a walk with my husband. In reality my day rarely goes so smoothly. When I’m on deadline, I write and revise. Little else gets done.
Dressed and with your face on? Just don’t come knocking at my door at 10 a.m.! Janet, would you name a few of your favorite romantic novels and movies and tell why you like them?
I’ve read my favorite novels several times: Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte and Morning Glory, by LaVyrle Spencer. Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs is a great example of the two dogs-one bone conflict. Of course, I love my critique partner, Shirley Jump’s books. And the wonderful romance authors at Seekerville: Mary Connealy, Debby Giusti, Julie Lessman, Camy Tang, Missy Tippens, Cheryl Wyatt and I’m thrilled to soon add Myra to that list of pubbed authors. The authors writing for Love Inspired Historical are amazing. The list of writers I admire is endless.
Movies: I prefer romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy travel, theater and walking along the ocean. But when I’m home, I love to curl up with a novel or catch up on magazines. I enjoy stamping greeting cards and having lunch with friends. Though a duffer, I like golf. I’m happy when rearranging furniture. Nothing is better than a drowsy ride in the car, as long as I’m not driving. ☺ I don’t need lots of excitement to keep me happy.
Sounds like you have plenty of outside interests to keep you busy. I know you enjoy keeping up with the grandkids, too. What’s the hardest part of keeping career and personal life in balance?
Determining what’s important and what isn’t, and then finding time for the important. I try to balance writing time with devotions, maintaining relationships and keeping fit. Thankfully my husband is supportive of my writing and helps with household chores, which I see as less and less important. But even as I say that, I can’t function in chaos. I’m one of those people who’ll get out of a chair to pick up a thread on the carpet or straighten a picture. I marvel at published writers with children and a day job. I don’t know how they do it.
I feel the same way—can’t imagine working full-time and also finding time to write. What’s next for you on the publishing horizon?
In another month or so I’ll get edits for my second book Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, which releases in May 2009. I’m working on a third book my editor and I are excited about.
Thanks for having me at your blog, Myra. I had a great time!
About COURTING MISS ADELAIDE: The “orphan train” seemed like small-town spinster Adelaide Crum’s last chance to know the simple joys of family life. So many lost children, every one of them dreaming only of a caring home—the home she longed to offer. And yet the narrow-minded town elders refused to entrust even the most desperate child to a woman alone….
Newspaperman Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by this lovely, lonely woman who was fighting for the right to take some motherless child into her heart. And her gentle soul and unwavering faith made him wonder if even he could overcome the bitter lessons of the past, and somehow find the courage to love….
Another quiz I came across . . . Actually, my results are pretty accurate. There are many aspects of both candidates I really like, but also much I disagree with. Although now that Gov. Palin has been announced as McCain's running mate, I must say I'm intrigued.
|Your Issue Profile: 48% Obama, 52% McCain|
You could vote for either of them. You are the typical coveted swing voter.
You may want to narrow yourself down to a particular set of issues in order to pick your president.
Or start looking at third party candidates. One of them might suit you better.