I'm delighted to have Love Inspired Historical author Janet Dean as my guest today. Janet is here to talk more about her second novel, Courting the Doctor's Daughter, a touching love story featuring Mary Graves, who was first introduced in Janet's debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide. This time it's Mary who's falling in love--and resisting the dashing Luke Jacobs to the very end!
To be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Janet's book, just leave a comment on this post before midnight Saturday, May 30. The winner will be announced on Monday, June 1.
Hi, Janet! Thanks for being my guest today! Courting the Doctor’s Daughter is set in the same town as your debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide. How did you choose Noblesville, Indiana?
I feel a pull to small town and rural America. The Midwest is what I know. Noblesville, IN, is a charming town. I admire its magnificent courthouse and the stores on the square that existed during my story’s timeframe. I knew an “orphan train” stopped there in 1859 so I saw no reason why it couldn’t stop again. ☺
I didn't realize your books feature actual businesses in existence at that time. It must have been fun learning more about the town. In CDD, the hero, Luke Jacobs, come to town as a peddler selling a “remedy.” Later in the story we learn some of the ingredients, which include catnip! Is this based on something you actually found in your research for the book?
To write Courting the Doctor’s Daughter I needed to research herbal remedies, looking for an ingredient with medicinal properties that fit the image I had of Luke’s medicine. In Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, I found what I sought—catnip. Not only cats appreciate this herb. Uses for humans include: digestion and sleeping aids; relieves colds, colic, nervous headaches and fevers. Catnip was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1842-1882. In more recent times, Varro Tyler, Ph.D., author of The Honest Herbal, found catnip to have small sedative properties. A health food store near me carries catnip in capsule form. It’s mainly used to calm fussy infants.
Wow, that's fascinating! I had no idea you could buy catnip these days for human use. Back to the subject of the Orphan Train, orphaned children and adoption are major aspects of both your novels. What piqued your interest in the subject?
A newspaper clipping my father sent me triggered my interest in the orphan train. I’m amazed by the sheer numbers of immigrant children that rode these trains. Between the years of 1853 and 1929, 250,000 orphans or half orphans were sent from New York City to new homes in the Midwest and beyond. What an amazing life change for these immigrant children and for the families that took them in!
The idea to place out orphans originated with a Methodist minister, Charles Loring Brace, founder of an orphanage, The Children’s Aid Society. At the time as many as 30,000 abandoned children were living on New York City’s streets in wretched poverty. Orphanages were overcrowded and unable to handle the number. Brace decided relocating these children to farms and small towns was their ticket to a better life. Some got good homes. Others lived like indentured servants. Still others were sent back to New York, only to ride west again. If you’re interested in reading more about their stories, visit: http://www.orphantraindepot.com/index.html
As a writer of historical fiction, what is your favorite and most consulted research sources? Do you have a system for collecting and organizing your research?
Besides online sites, I keep several books close at hand. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary dates words and The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms dates phrases. The Timetables of American History, Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s and American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs are invaluable. One of my favorite research books is a replica of an 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalogue. In this 770-page catalogue a variety of merchandise is interspersed with sales appeals, testimonials and illustrations of goods that reveal the times.
An 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalogue--that must be so much fun to browse through! What’s coming next from Janet Dean? Can you give us a preview?
My third book, The Substitute Bride, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, February 2010:
About Janet: Janet Dean believes in love stories that grab people from the first page and carry them along the sometimes rocky journey of maintaining faith in trying circumstances. Fascinated with history and the role of strong women in our nation’s past, Janet brings both together as she sits at her computer spinning stories for Steeple Hill.
Her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide, Love Inspired historical, September 2008, is a Booksellers Best “Inspirational” and “Best First Book” double finalist, a National Reader’s Choice Award “Best First Book” finalist and The Golden Quill’s “Best First Book” finalist. Her second book, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, released May 2009. The Substitute Bride will release February 2010.
Janet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Faith, Hope & Love. When she isn’t writing, Janet enjoys stamping greeting cards, playing golf and is never without a book to read. The Deans love to travel and spend time with family.