Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Author Janet Dean - COURTING MISS ADELAIDE - Free Book

I have really enjoyed the new Love Inspired Historicals. And here's another one. It's on the top of my to-be-read pile.

Welcome, Janet. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I suspect I could find some of me in all of my heroes and heroines, especially my faith and values. But my heroes and heroines are stronger and more confrontational than I am. And, they live far more exciting lives than I do. My wacky secondary characters remind me of other people. LOL Undoubtedly parts of me are in these characters, too. I may not have experienced all the difficulties I put my characters through, but I’ve had enough ups and downs in life to write about their struggles in a way that I hope feels real to the reader.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Writing books. :-) To sit down and make up people who then carry on conversations in my head is quirky. Just ask my husband.

Oh, yes, my husband has told me that writers, "think weird." When did you first discover that you were a writer?

At twelve I wrote and illustrated little romances. My friends noticed and wanted to read my stories. They must’ve given me positive feedback because from that point on I knew I’d write books one day.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I enjoy biographies. I also like to read books that motivate and challenge me to be a better person. I love happy endings so romance novels are at the top of my fiction list. I read contemporaries and suspense, but my favorites are historical romances. I’m not a fan of thrillers and fantasy.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

My first book was set on a ranch in Texas. I spent a year revising that manuscript, but it will never get into print without another major overhaul. The second book I wrote morphed into Courting Miss Adelaide. The sequel, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, will release in May 2009. I’d also written two other historical novels and a partial of a lady lit, bringing the total of books I wrote before I sold to four books.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Prayer. When I start my day with prayer, I’m strengthened for the challenges ahead. Plus prayer helps me remember God is in control of my life and this world. I keep a journal of the needs of friends and family and use that for intercessory prayer. I tend to think negatively so I find a gratitude journal helps me focus on the many blessings and positives in my life.

My husband’s support. My husband puts skin on his emotional support by doing chores, running errands and giving me a listening ear. For the nine years it took me to sell, he never once complained about the expense of conferences, contest entry fees or writing supplies.

Family. Our children and grandchildren give us great joy and remind me of what’s important in this life.

Friends. Some writers say they’re hermits, but I’m a people person. I need to interact with friends. Often that’s by e-mail. Occasionally, I go out to lunch or share a hobby. I attend a weekly Bible study. Meeting with my critique partner, Shirley Jump, www.shirleyjump.com each week is pure joy. Having writer friends like Shirley and the Seekers (www.seekerville.blogspot.com) who understand the highs and lows of being a writer are a wonderful support.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I used a few names of my ancestors in Courting Miss Adelaide, which has been fun for my family. My brothers agreed to let me name two young boys in Courting the Doctor’s Daughter after them. Usually a name comes to me and feels right for the character. I use names to give insight into the character. If I’m stymied, I grab my baby name book or lists of the most popular names in the year my story is set.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Without question that would be rearing our daughters. They are wonderful young women of faith. I’m very proud of them and their families. Not that I’m taking credit for who they turned out to be. But I’m grateful for the privilege of being their mom.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I’d be a Bichon with an owner who puts bows in my hair to keep it out of my eyes. :-) Dogs aren’t loners and neither am I.

What is your favorite food?

Chocolate. :-)

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

In the beginning, I made every mistake possible—POV errors, head hopping, pointless scenes, purple prose, long passages of back story and a manuscript dotted with exclamation points. Probably my biggest roadblock was not having strong external conflict. I find it easy to give my hero and heroine compelling internal conflicts, but devising book-length external conflict between them is hard for me. I wouldn’t say I’ve totally overcome it. But I’m very aware that’s a weakness of mine. I focus on developing a plot that puts the hero and heroine in conflict over tangible things. How to do that varies with each book.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Join a writers’ group. I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and RWA’s special interest chapter Faith, Hope and Love. Their conferences, online workshops, loops, and contest feedback will bring writers to their goal faster than writing in a vacuum. The friends you’ll make are a wonderful plus.

Get a savvy critique partner or join a critique group. Writers can lose our objectivity when it comes to our work. We need fresh eyes and someone who isn’t afraid to use red ink. Look at critiques with an open mind and a teachable spirit. Then if you still feel the point is wrong, don’t change it.

Develop a strong hide. If you can’t handle criticism and rejection, you’ll be miserable and may give up. Even when you sell, critiques don’t end. Editors will want revisions and will reject proposals. Reviews can hurt. Books may not win awards. We have to be tough to survive in this business.

Write. Write. Write. I wish I’d had a larger body of work when I sold. Instead of writing more books, I polished and revised and polished some more. Not that I’m against doing your best. That polished book enabled me to sell when the door opened, but if I’d had a larger inventory, I might have more books in print by now.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

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….

Romantic Times gave Courting Miss Adelaide 4 ½ stars. They called it … “a wonderfully sweet love story that includes facts about orphan trains of the 1800s.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

My Web site: www.janetdean.net

Thank you, Janet for spending this time with us.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Courting Adelaide.


Mindy Obenhaus said...

Hey, Janet! Can you believe the time has finally arrived and your "baby" is out there? I remember when you thought it was so far away. I'm excited for you and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Courting Miss A!

Darlene Franklin said...

Hey, count me in! It sounds like fun. Great to learn about you, Janet.

Myra Johnson said...

Always fun to learn a little more about one of my dearest friends! So, so happy for the arrival of this "baby"! CMA is a wonderful read -- highly recommended! Just be prepared to get a little weepy over the ending!

Mary said...

I am always drawn to stories about the orphan trains. Please include me, this sounds wonderful! Thanks.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Mindy! How nice to see you here! It's hard to believe Courting Miss Adelaide will be on the shelves September 9!! Thanks for your excitement about the book.

I'm sorry to be late. I had an appointment I had to keep this afternoon. But it's great to be here now!


Janet Dean said...

Hi Darlene, I guess most of us like to get acquainted with authors. At least I do. :-) Thanks for stopping.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Myra! Myra told me she finished Courting Miss Adelaide while sitting in her doctor's waiting room and had to hide her sniffles. Happy tears, right Myra? Thanks for the recommendation!

Myra just sold her first book to Abingdon Press. I'm still doing the Snoopy dance for her!


Cheri2628 said...

This book sounds so wonderful...sweet, touching,and inspiring. And I love the cover!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mary! For children to leave everything and everyone they knew with no idea where they'd end up or with whom had to be frightening or at the very least unsettling. Great fodder for books though. :-)

Thanks for your interest in Courting Miss Adelaide.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Cheri! I love the cover too! Did you notice the little bird peeking around the brim of Adelaide's hat? Such a small detail but one that fits the story. Steeple Hill's Art department did a wonderful job!


Mary Connealy said...

Nice interview, Janet. And nice play on Lena's world famous, "If you were an animal..." question.

Surely, Lena, this is your first bichon friese...freese...freize.

forget it.

I loved Courting Miss Adelaide. Excellent, funny, oh-so-sweet, heart tugging story.

.......My heart was an orphan

sniffling, a little weepy, beautiful book. Can't wait to get more from you.

Oh, and don't put me in the drawing. I've got my copy already. YAY!

Janet Dean said...

Mary, thanks for your lovely words of praise for Courting Miss Adelaide! We're obviously each other's biggest fans. I loved your humorous, action-packed debut, Petticoat Ranch and the sequel Calico Canyon!

My critique partner, Shirley Jump, has a Bichon. She dresses Sophie and puts the cutest bows in her hair. That's one pampered dog. Note the same name as your heroine in PR, Mare?


Julie Lessman said...

GREAT interview, Janet and Lena! And great advice for writers too.

I am thrilled to say that I read Courting Miss Adelaide and absolutely loved it. Beautiful cover, beautiful story. Can't wait to read Courting the Doctor's Daughter!


lisasab said...

I love books that deal with the orphan trains and this era. The strength of character and faith that moved these inidividuals was amazing. I also appreciated your candor on the struggles of writing. Thank you so much.

Janet Dean said...

To hear you loved Courting Miss Adelaide is pure joy, Julie! Thanks! I can't wait to read A Passion Redeemed!

Thanks for stopping!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Lisasab. It's not easy to admit I didn't always make the wisest decisions, but that's the only way I can share my "hindsight wisdom." :-) No writer will sugar coat the reality that this is a tough business. We have to be tougher and do all we can to be ready when opportunity knocks.

God bless you and your writing.


Jessica said...

I remember reading an excerpt of this story on your website. If I don't win it I'll definitely be buying it.
Great interview! I think external conflict may be a weakness of mine as well.

jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo DOT com

Billie Chai said...

Congratulations on the release of Courting Miss Adelaide. Sounds like a fun read with a good message.

Renee Ryan said...


I'm so glad to hear you persisted with your writing. I can't wait to read your debut effort. I am excited about it just from the excerpt on your Web site!!!


Missy Tippens said...

What a great interview, Lena and Janet. I don't remember ever hearing about your illustrated romance novels, Janet--and at age 12! :)

I loved this book!! You don't need to enter me in the drawing. But for those who don't win, you'll want to buy it. It's such a sweet story!


Patty Wysong said...

I followed you here, Janet--I've been really, REALLy wanting to read Courting Miss Adelaide. ;) Great interview!

Keli Gwyn said...

Wonderful interview, Janet. Thanks to eHarlequin I have my copy of Courting Miss Adelaide and will get to read it later this week. I can't wait. I've been looking forward to doing so ever since I first heard about it on The Seekers.

Rose McCauley said...

Thanks, lena and janet for this chance to win your book! It sounds great!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jessica! Guess we have to recognize our weaknesses to overcome them. But it's nice to know I'm not alone. :-) Do you love internal conflict as much as I do?

Thanks for stopping at my Web site and reading an excerpt of Courting Miss Adelaide.



Janet Dean said...

Thanks for stopping Billie Chai. I hope the story will not only entertain, but that God will use it to bless readers in some way.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Renee! One of Steeple Hill's editors mentioned at a meeting that excerpts are one of the best ways to promote a book. It's great to see you and Jessica proving her right. Not that I ever think an editor is wrong.


Anonymous said...

Wow, those questions sure put a different spin on the Janet I know.

he he he

Great post, Janito.

Congrats on an awesome debut!!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Missy. I drew all my heroines exactly the same--in profile with manes of curly hair, pouty lips and upturned noses. I'm glad to turn the Art work over to Steeple Hill. :-)


Janet Dean said...

Hi Patty. You can follow me anywhere, anytime. Guess that trail of crumbs worked. ;-)


Janet Dean said...

Thanks for stopping, Keli! I'm delighted I got to meet you at the RWA conference in San Francisco.

I didn't realize eharlequin had sent out preorders. Cool!


Janet Dean said...

Hi Tina! Was it the illustrating and writing romances at twelve or wanting to be a Bichon dressed to the nines that has you snickering? LOL


windycindy said...

Hi, I don't remember hearing about the orphan trains of the 1800's. This books does sound like a sweet story line! I enjoy the "Love Inspired Historicals" very much. Please enter my name in your book drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Janet Dean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet Dean said...

Hi Cindi! Nice to meet another fan of Love Inspired Historicals. Thanks for stopping.


Cindy Kirk said...


Great interview!

Your book sounds very interesting. My prediction is that with the orphan train hook and the beautiful cover you're going to sell lots of copies!

Linda Goodnight said...

Well, I'm a day late but I just had to pop in and say hello. Courting Miss Adelaide sounds adorable--I love orphan train stories--and that cover is to die for!

Abi said...

Oh, the cover is just beautiful. I love it. This sounds like a very interesting story. I love historical romances. My daughters love reading about orphan trains. We'd love to win this book. I'm interested now. Loved the interview.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Janet, I've gotten to Chapter 3. It's a wonderful book

Anonymous said...

I'm relatively new to the genre of historical romance and I'm enjoying it very much. It would be lots of fun to read this one too. I'm a softie for a great romance.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cindy! I love orphan train stories and the awesome cover Steeple Hill gave Courting Miss Adelaide. And yes, I love your prediction. :-) Thanks!


Janet Dean said...

Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping. And for letting me touch your lovely Rita after the Awards ceremony in San Francisco. :-)


Janet Dean said...

Hi Abi, glad to hook your interest with Courting Miss Adelaide! Love Mothers and Daughters teaming up to read!


Janet Dean said...

Lena, you've made my day!! I hope you enjoy the book to THE END.

Thanks for having me at your wonderful blog! I had a great time and got to meet some new readers, always my favorite thing to do.


Janet Dean said...

Hi Elizabeth. Sound like you and I both love those melt-your-heart happy endings of a good romance.


Cheryl Wyatt said...

Awesome interview! I already have the book.


Everyone...if you do not win this book, it is a MUST BUY. Seriously.


Donna M said...

I love the cover art and the books sounds wonderful. I love the interview and look forward to reading this novel.

Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! Sounds like a very touching story. The Love Inspired Historical line has been putting out some great books. I have been impressed with all the books I have read so far and this book sounds like another winner.

Jendi said...

I followed a link here.
I love the Love Inspired books so please enter me.

I'm going to post this on momgiveaways.com too.

What is the deadline for commenters?

Carolynn W. said...

I love, love this cover. Thanks for the chance to win!

Ausjenny said...

Oh Please enter me I really want to read Janets book and nice interview.
I have read a few about orphan trains and it really intrests me (and i love historical books)

Just.Me said...

I love the cover! It's like she is saying I may look sweet, but looks can be deceiving!

Sweetpeas said...

I'm always looking for good books to read, I'd love to win this.

Anonymous said...

I would love to win this book! thanks for the chance :)


Pamela J said...

Please do not enter me in your drawing. I may be back with some more thoughts in another day or so. I just wanted to let you all know, the ones who already commented and the ones that will comment that this book is FANTASTIC!! I should be finished reading it by now, I've had it long enough, but life got in the way. When I saw this post on Lena's blog I just HAD to start reading. Let me tell you, the turns it is taking already has surprised me and pulled me in and I'm not very far yet. I recommend to any and all to get the book if you don't win, it's a KEEPER!
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

sarahw said...

great interview. love the cover! please enter my name in the draw.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have just discovered you and am looking forward to reading the book even if i do not win.

Rhonda said...

Hi Janet and Lena!

I'm excited to see this book. I love the cover and will grabing up a copy!!

Norma said...

I, too, have a soft spot for orphans and was not able to adopt as a single woman due to lack of support - this book sounds very close to home and I would love to read it.

bookwurm70 said...

wow, this is the most number of comments I have ever seen for an author interview! Can't wait to read the book (next week!). Please enter me to win.

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your new book. This looks like a sweet story.

Theresa N. said...

I never thought about it before but I like to read books that encourage me to be a better person and entertain me acourse. :)
Theresa n

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read this book! Please enter me in the drawing!