Monday, September 29, 2014

Time for a Change...

I'm making a change to my blog; Fridays will become "Fiction Fridays" in which I will host a fiction writer. They may be brand new or established, but they will always be interesting. There may not be a new one every week, but I am happy for interested writers to message me (through my blog, FB, Twitter, email, or phone) if they would like to appear.

I've occasionally featured writers, but I'm very happy to have as my first in this new endeavor:

by my friend, Darlene Beck Jacobsen, fellow Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators member, and a hardworking writer.
Darlene loved writing since she was a girl. She wrote letters to everyone she knew and made up stories in her head.  Although she never wrote to a president, she sent many letters to pop stars of the day asking for photos and autographs.  She loves bringing the past to life in stories such as WHEELS OF CHANGE, her debut novel.
            Darlene’s stories have appeared in CICADA, CRICKET, and other magazines. When not writing, Darlene enjoys baking, sewing and tea parties.  She also likes hanging around forges watching the blacksmith work magic. She’s never ridden in a carriage like the one in the story, but hopes to one day. Her blog features recipes, activities, crafts and interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators. She still loves writing and getting letters.  Check out her website here:

I asked Darlene a few questions so that you could get to know her book better:
What was the most surprising thing you learned in your research?

The biggest surprise was discovering how Washington DC looked at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Even though it was the nation’s capital and center of government, it was very rural. With the exception of Pennsylvania Avenue and a few streets bordering 7th Street – the main street of commerce - there was only gas lighting and no electricity. Indoor plumbing was still a novelty. Many roads were unpaved or had cobblestones. There were farms and wooded areas surrounding the government buildings. Most people still rode in horse-drawn wagons, carriages, or buggies. Many goods were still made by hand. Those facts were instrumental in helping me set the scene and render an accurate time and place.
Did your research give you ideas for a sequel or other books?

I don’t envision a sequel to Emily’s story.  Her tale has been told.  It might be fun to find out what happens to Emily’s nemesis, Beatrice Peabody and her family.  How does Mrs. P survive the changes coming to her family as Beatrice discovers a different life at boarding school – a life away from her domineering mother.
What fascinated you about this subject/era most?

There was so much change that took place in such a short time.  From 1900 to WWI, people witnessed the birth of automobiles, airplanes, electricity, factory made goods, train travel across the continent, telephones, and modern conveniences such as canned foods, vacuum cleaners, washers and dryers and the like. Some of the changes were exciting as well as frightening. I tried to convey that ambivalence in the story.
Would you want to live in the era, or be your character?

Life was very difficult for girls and women 100 years ago. So much time and energy was spent in completing everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and childcare. Women kept households running, but had little or no say in how they spent their own lives. It took two world wars for women to test their own courage and break away from the strict confines of home and out into the working world. Thanks to our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, our choices are unlimited.

What sources did you use in your research?

Primary sources included an invitation my grandmother received to a reception held by Teddy Roosevelt, a letter from the National Archives confirming that she met the President. I read his personal letters, visited a working buggy museum and forge, read numerous books on American culture at the turn of the century, corresponded via e-mail to experts at the Smithsonian, Sagamore Hill, Historical Society of DC and others whenever I had questions. I also perused old cookbooks, maps, Sears Catalogs, and newspapers to get a feel for the era. 

Here's a link to her book trailer:            
Kirkus Reviews says: "The strength of the text lies in Jacobson’s ability to evoke a different era and to endear readers to the protagonist. The prose is straightforward and well-researched, heavily peppered with historical references and containing enough action to keep readers’ attention."
 So stop by and say hello to Darlene and check out her book.

And remember, if you're a fiction author and want to be featured her on a Friday, let me know! (Please keep in mind that I write for middle grade, young adult, and new adult. Romance okay, erotica no.)


1 comment:

  1. She is seeming to be a very interesting and warm personality. Wonderful interview!!!