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.
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.
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.
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?
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with historical references and containing enough action to keep readers’