Monday, September 08, 2008

Interview and excerpt - Courting Miss Adelaide by Janet Dean

Captain's Log, Stardate 09.08.2008

Today I’m interviewing historical romance author Janet Dean about her debut novel, Courting Miss Adelaide!

From the back cover:

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….

Read an excerpt of chapter one on the page

And now, here’s me and Janet!

How did you come up with the idea for Courting Miss Adelaide?

My father, a Social Studies teacher, mailed me a newspaper clipping about New York City’s orphaned and half-orphaned children sent by train to new homes in the Midwest and beyond. More than 250,000 children rode those trains between 1853 and 1929, but that phenomena didn’t find its way into our history books for years. I was fascinated by this slice of history and immediately wanted to use it in a book. My “what if” moment became the kernel for Adelaide’s story—what if a lonely spinster wanted a child and saw the orphan train as her last chance for motherhood?

If your hero were an animal, what would he be and why?

I see Charles as a Bengal tiger, a large, beautiful, regal member of the tiger family. Tigers patrol their territory, alert, ready to protect what’s theirs.

Adelaide is a hat maker. Does she have a favorite hat? Why does she like it?

Adelaide’s favorite hat is trimmed with faux fruit, nest and bird, not unusual in Victorian times. Though not Adelaide’s prettiest hat, it’s her favorite because Charles teases her about it. If you look carefully at the cover, you’ll see a bird perched to the left of the brim. I have to thank Steeple Hill’s Art department for that detail.

If Adelaide had a favorite praise song or hymn, what would it be and why?

Adelaide’s favorite hymn has to be “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman, Jr. She starts each day by ticking her blessings off on her fingers. Here’s the first verse: “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

If you were a dessert, what would you be and why?

I’d be a cream puff. A well baked delicacy does not collapse. The hollow within is filled with lots of good stuff. It’s protected by a sturdy top and drizzled with chocolate. Yummy. But the best part—cream puffs are supposed to be lumpy. :)

You're off the hot seat! Any parting words?

Do all you can to attain your goal, but don’t let whether you sell or not destroy your love of the gift God has given you. I let that happen for a while. It made me miserable and changed nothing. So my advice—focus on the blessings inherent in the process of writing. If you need to, sing along with Adelaide. :) If you grow your talent and never give up, I believe a door will open.

Thanks for having me today, Camy! I had a great time!
Blessings, Janet

Camy here: Thanks a bunch, Janet!