Friday, September 18, 2020

Interview with historical fiction author Charlotte Whitney

My special guest today is historical fiction author Charlotte Whitney to chat with me about her novel, Threads.

During her virtual book tour, Charlotte will be giving away a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Charlotte Whitney grew up in Michigan and spent much of her career at the University of Michigan directing internship and living-learning programs. She started out writing non-fiction while at the University and switched to romance with I Dream in White. A passion for history inspired her to write Threads: A Depression Era Tale chronicling the stories of three sisters on a farm during the throes of the Great Depression. She lives in Arizona, where she loves hiking, bicycling, swimming, and practicing yoga.

Welcome, Charlotte. Please share a little bit about your current release.
It's a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm during the throes of the Great Depression. But when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and decide to solve the mystery.

What inspired you to write this book?
My grandparents had three daughters that they raised during the Depression, but my grandmother didn’t like to talk about those times. Once, when I asked her about it, she answered, “We were very, very lucky. We only went hungry for a year.” Even though I was a child, that left me with a chill. Even farmers who had gardens, chickens, pigs, and dairy cows went hungry, because saving for taxes and mortgage payments required them to sell everything. So I decided to use their farm as the setting for Threads.

Excerpt from Threads:
“Bad luck is raining down on our family. Like a wet, cold downpour. Every waking moment I walk around with a heavy heart. Ma and Pa confided that we will lose the farm if dairy and crop prices keep going down. I wish there was something I could do about that. I tried to give Pa my two-dollar nest egg a couple of weeks ago but he wouldn’t take it. Yesterday Ma told me to use the money to go to the movies with Jean, but I can’t do that with our farm in jeopardy.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to sneak behind Ma’s back and go to May Hendrick’s house after school to confront her about the baby. I feel guilty about it but, by gosh, May Hendrick was wrong to bury her baby and blame me. I’m going over there and get a confession come hell or high water.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on another historical novel, again set in rural Michigan in 1934. In this book twenty-year-old Polly is suddenly widowed. As the book unfolds, it’s unclear if her husband’s death was a suicide, homicide, or bizarre farm accident. There are plenty of twists to keep you guessing. The working title is VEILS: A Depression-Era Tale.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Actually, not until my first book was published. I worked in an academic environment at the University of Michigan, and if you called yourself a writer without anything published, people would simply roll their eyes.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I do write full-time and I’m a morning person, so I’m up early to walk the dogs, have a quick bite to eat, and then settle in behind my computer. I’m fortunate to have a large spacious office with a door so I can shut out the world. I’m also an exercise fanatic so I punctuate writing with swimming, Zumba, or bicycling. I attempt to do the hardest work in the morning, and save marketing and easier tasks for the afternoon. Guilty pleasure: I have a sofa in my office, so if I find myself nodding off, I simply take a cat nap on the sofa for fifteen or twenty minutes.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I’m listening to an audio book while I’m walking or hiking I sometimes think about plot issues with the book I’m currently writing. It seems strange and counter-intuitive that I could do this while spoken words are being delivered into my ears. But it happens!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I love to hear from readers. Let me know about your likes and dislikes. What is going on in your life right now? If you want to subscribe to my free newsletter, go to my website and sign up.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
You’re welcome!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

James Robert said...

Thanks for sharing your great  book and for the giveaway too.

Victoria Alexander said...

Happy Friday! Thanks for the great post, I enjoyed reading it :)

Bea LaRocca said...

Good evening! My question for you today is, are you a spontaneous or a scheduled writer?

marisela zuniga said...

I enjoyed reading the author's answers! Thanks for sharing

Peggy Hyndman said...

What do you find to be the most challenging part of writing? And the most rewarding?