Readers, this is another author who is new to my blog.
Welcome, Justina. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
How many times have you heard it said to write about what you know? Then it’s believable. I don’t do it deliberately, and then reading for edits, I see my failings glaring at me.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
An episode of “House Hunters” yesterday underlines what you think you would never do: move to a place you don’t know or change your living style. A couple decided they wanted pick up and move to
never having lived there and would have to find jobs. When I share with someone
just what would be the best thing I have ever done, they stare at me wide-eyed.
“You didn’t!” “How did you survive?” or “I just don’t believe it.”
After having kept you in suspense, here it is. Getting caught up with belongings, jobs, entertainment—you know, how life is out here, but doesn’t have to be? We knew a geologist who owned 1,000 acres in the
just kitty-corner from Mt. Shasta in northern California. Believe it or not, northern California
is not San Francisco.
We are talking about almost to the Oregon
border. It had a miner’s cabin on it, and you had to cross a large creek to get
to it. We rented it for a whopping $1.00 a year. Not only was it on 1,000
acres, but even that was set in the middle of BLM land, which meant our nearest
neighbor was 20 miles away. No electricity, just a generator. No running water,
but the glorious creek of snow run off and beaver free. Propane refrigerator
and stove, and a whopping woodstove. We cut down and seasoned the wood the
summer before each year we were there. Yes, three summers of hard work.
The geologist owned grazing land and another 1,000 acres next to us. A mile into the pasture and next to the school bus stop was a tiny trailer with electricity. From early morning to when the school bus came back at 3, I could be found in there with a little Brother computer/typewriter. My dad had bought it for me saying, “To do a good job, you need the proper tools.” This is where I wrote my first book, Stardust. One day I will polish it and submit. It’s a true story of my mom and dad, WWII, and Dad was a Japanese POW taken at the Baton Death March. He is the one who should have written a book!
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I absolutely love mysteries and biographies of the civil war generals. It’s finding the time to read that’s the problem. And I am one of those authors who cannot read anything while I’m writing. Just doesn’t work.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It was the three-year hiatus from the world where I bonded with what Christ was asking of us—to live simply, ask for nothing, and love-love-love and to see Christ in each and everyone. Difficult to do sometimes, but we are asked to do the difficult things!
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Since I write historical, I draw up names from the year on the internet. Gee, no longer having to spend long hours at the library…Then the name has to fit the description of the character. Tomboyish, glamorous, handsome—that kind of thing. Dickens was big on that, but he named people for who they were!
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Definitely, the publishing of my novel, but the top of the list would have to be earning my RN. My goal was to be a Hospice nurse, so I started off at the bottom with my Certified Nurse’s Aide, then an LPN and worked full-time on my RN. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever loved.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A horse, beautiful or not, but definitely a loved horse by a young girl. Talk about pampered…
What is your favorite food?
MandMs. Hamburgers. Hmmm…and MandM hamburger. That’s a thought. (I changed the spelling of the name of the candy, because ampersands don’t do well on Blogger.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My younger sister (the book is dedicated to her) was my best friend. I took care of her until she passed to God’s Hands after suffering from a very rare form of breast cancer. She would read each chapter and then send it back with comments. She didn’t make it to the end of the book but told me over and over that it would be a great success. It was six months before I could write another line.
Tell us about the featured book.
I am going back on what I said regarding how much of me goes into the characters. This book is about jealousy and envy. Though I suffer from many other things, I have seen what this has done to people. It isn’t pretty. This story follows Mrs. Blackburn, who is set on destroying one other woman, Adela Seward, because of these two passions. It is only by delving deep into herself with the help of God that she finally overcomes it. Of course, Adela has her own problems, Mrs. Blackburn being the first and foremost. She asks herself, “How can I love someone I loathe as God requires of us?” Adela is a single mother of Mendel, now eighteen. Her husband had left her for privateering in the War of 1812, just as they were starting a family and opening the business Adela has nurtured in his absence.
Adela walks to Collins Cove every morning. For the first few years it was to look for the sails of the schooner that had taken him away, but now it is from habit. As she walks, she turns away a few steps too soon, missing a bottle that has washed ashore.
This novel follows the ruby ring as it drifts through lives, each time passing through the hands of the pawnbroker. Is it looking for the rightful owner?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Adela had walked long enough and turned toward town. She took hold of her hem and attempted to shake free from the clinging water and sand. She’d been careless. It was too late to change her clothing now.
Adela glanced up with surprise. It was her son’s smile, the freshness of his face that brought such joy to her.
“Mendel, you’re following me,” she chided. “Can’t a mother have a moment alone?”
Mendel put his arm around her small shoulders and gave an affectionate squeeze. “Mum, would you rather I open the shop today?”
“And why would I want that?” She gestured to her left. “Fetch my shoes on the bench for me, Mendel. My cape and gloves, too. There’s a good boy.”
“Hardly a boy at eighteen, Mother.” He squared his large frame. “Please take a long, hard look. I am a man today.”
Hadn’t his father said these very words, or similar to them, eighteen years ago before boarding Fame, the schooner bound for
He was twenty-one when he left, Adela a mere sixteen. She begged him not to
leave, fearing what could happen. It was August 1812. The country was at war
again, and privateering was the lure for better things. It was too great a
risk, especially then. Adela had taken her husband’s hand and placed it on the
slight swell of her belly, but he only smiled and assured her, promised her, he
would beback within the year. Now, Adela saw that same smile, that same confidence
in her son, the living portrait of his father.
“A man you are, Mendel,” she said as she brushed her fingertips against his cheek; its natural pink glow was heightened by exercise. “This is your birthday, and you should spend it as you please, not at the shop. Zachariah could use the extra money. Now, please, bring my things and be off to your own devices.”
He did, and as she watched, he disappeared from view, eastward down the beach.
“Yes, and I will lose you, too, one day,” she whispered.
Adela squared her shoulders and shook her mind free of dismal thoughts. This would not be a day to dwell on any sadness, but rather she would think of the past eighteen years and what she had accomplished raising Mendel.
She was proud of her success. But it had come at a price. Her husband had embarked on the business only three months before he set sail, leaving her with the responsibility of not only raising a child alone but developing it as her only means of support. The Ship’s Chandler enjoyed its singular status in this port of call as supplier of replacement parts, food, and provisions. It was a service in high demand, and she was committed to retain it for years to come.
As she walked at a leisurely pace, she thought of the ongoing social classes in New England, still dividing themselves along rigid, and, for the most part, impenetrable boundaries. She now rested at the top, secure in her tenure as untitled aristocrat―a merchant rubbing shoulders with landholders and successful manufacturers. Adela used local merchants and farmers for replenishments, setting her in good standing and gaining the respect of all the local tradesmen—but not the respect of their wives. The ladies of
objected less to her than to their husbands’ admiration, even fondness, for
her. She had grown accustomed to their distaste. What better dish on the buffet
of gossip than she? “What they know of me is what they see,” she often told
herself, and she knew what they saw—an unmarried woman widowed young,
successful, and defying convention.
She wore the finest of dress but refused the confinement of the corset. She covered her head with fashionable bonnets of current fashion but allowed long tendrils of hair to fall free. Even now, as she made her way towards town, bare feet peeked from below the muddied hem. Before turning left off Essex onto
just three blocks from her shop, she stopped and glanced about her. There was a
limit to how far she would nudge propriety. Assuring herself that she was unobserved,
she brushed the sand from her feet, pulled on her stockings, and stepped into
How can readers find you on the Internet?http://justinaprima.weebly.com
Thank you, Justina, for sharing this story of Salem in 1820 with us.
The book will be available the first week in November on Amazon and in bookstores.
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