Wednesday, December 02, 2009

THE SILENT GOVERNESS - Julie Klassen - Free Book

I've been wanting to feature this author on the blog for a while. Welcome, Julie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I intentionally try not to write about myself. I don’t want all my characters to sound and think like me. That would make for a boring book, believe me! An occasional anecdote from my childhood might sneak in from time to time and, of course, I hope my faith shows up as well.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

That I will admit to? Hmm. Maybe…completed a 3-day dance marathon? Played “Clarence the angel” from It’s a Wonderful Life at a company Christmas party?

It's a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I began writing stories and poems at a young age. My mom saved my 2nd grade report card that says something like, “Julie’s stories show great potential.” But you have to keep in mind that the teacher’s name was (no joke) Miss Balogna.

My second grade teacher was Mrs. Hater, no kidding. I loved her. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I enjoy contemporary or historical fiction with strong romantic elements. I also find myself reading more non-fiction than ever before--travel books and research books about life, medicine, and education in the 1800s.

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

I have two other published historical novels: Lady of Milkweed Manor and The Apothecary’s Daughter. I have also written one contemporary novel, which is still cowering on a low shelf after painful rejection.

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

Sunday after-church naps, camping with the family, and reading with my sons.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Surnames often come from historical census data from wherever my novel is set. I also use lists of popular first names from the time period. Occasionally I slip in names of people I know, as a small way of honoring them. For example, in The Silent Governess, I named a much-loved governess after the teacher who first introduced me to Jane Eyre.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

While I am proud of having written four novels, I find deeper satisfaction in having gone on short term missions trips to Ukraine and having a small part in building a church there.

I love missions trips. I've been on several to Mexico and one to Guatamala. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A cat. I’m a night person, like to nap in puddles of sunshine, like affection, but need plenty of solitude, too.

What is your favorite food?

I have an untamed sweet tooth and am far too fond of candy, cookies, and ice-cream.

I love sweets, too, so this season is hard for me. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

I tend to procrastinate, but the “Book in a Week” techniques (set daily word count goals, turn off internet, write without going back to edit or research until goal met) help me overcome this problem. And whenever I am struggling to come up with scene ideas, I take a walk or drive somewhere. There’s something about motion that spurs creative thinking.

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

You’ve heard the saying, Write what you know? I say, Write what you love—what you personally love to read. What is the genre you most often read for pure enjoyment? That is probably the genre you should be writing. I would also encourage new writers to study the basics (point of view, plotting, characterization, formatting) and to have well-read friends or a critique group read the manuscript and revise based on their feedback before submitting it to an agent or editor. Make the best first impression you can!

Tell us about the featured book?

The Silent Governess is a stand-alone, historical romance set in “Jane Austen era” England. Here’s the premise: When Olivia Keene overhears a dangerous secret, Lord Bradley gives her a post and confines her to his estate, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. With secrets of her own to hide, Olivia complies. Keeping an eye on Olivia as she cares for the children, Lord Bradley finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Chapter 1
November 1, 1815

Heart pounding with fear and regret, Olivia Keene ran as though hellhounds were on her heels. As though her very life depended upon her escape.

Fleeing the village, she ran across a meadow, bolted over the sheep gate, caught her skirt, and went sprawling in the mire. The bundle in her cape pocket jabbed against her hip bone. Ignoring it, she picked herself up and ran on, looking behind to make sure no one followed. Ahead lay Chedworth Wood.

The warnings of years echoed through her mind. “Don’t stray into the wood at night.” Wild dogs stalked that wood, and thieves and poachers camped there, with sharp knives and sharper eyes, looking for easy game. A woman of Olivia’s four-and-twenty years knew better than to venture into the wood alone. But her mother’s cries still pulsed in her ears, drowning out the old voice of caution. The danger behind her was more real than any imagined danger ahead.

Shivers of fear prickling over her skin, she hurled herself into the outstretched arms of the wood, already dim and shadowy on the chill autumn evening. Beneath her thin soles, dry leaves crackled. Branches grabbed at her like gnarled hands. She stumbled over fallen limbs and underbrush, every snapping twig reminding her that a pursuer might be just behind, just out of sight.

Olivia ran until her side ached. Breathing hard, she slowed her pace. She walked for what seemed like an hour or more and still hadn’t reached the other side of the wood. Was she traveling in a circle? The thought of spending the night in the quickly darkening wood made her pick up her pace once more.

She tripped on a tangle of roots and again went sprawling. She heard the crisp rip of fabric. A burning scratch seared her cheek. For a moment she lay as she was, trying to catch her breath.

The pain of the fall broke through the dam of shock, and the hot tears she had been holding back poured forth. She struggled up and sat against a tree, sobbing.

Almighty God, what have I done?

A branch snapped and an owl screeched a warning to his mate. Fear instantly stifled her sobs. Hairs prickling at the back of her neck, Olivia searched the moonlit dimness with wide eyes.

Eyes stared back.

Oh, give me more! I can hardly wait until I get my copy. How can readers find you on the Internet? or at

Julie, thank you for spending this time with us.

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book. If you use this link, you'll help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Margaret Metz said...

I'm a huge fan and have read both Lady of Milkweed Manor & The Apothecary's Daughter. She always manages to put a twist in her books that surprises me. I have been looking forward to The Silent Governess.

Please enter me.

Merry said...

I loved the interview with Julie. Please include me in the drawing for The Silent Governess. Thanks!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I have not heard of "Book In A Week"...I'll have to google that! If it helps with procrastination, I need it! lol

The Silent Governess sounds like my kind of book! I'd love a chance to win.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

adge said...

I don't blame you for wanting this author on your blog for a while now. I'd love to be able to read this book, please include me in the giveaway.

Veronica Leigh said...

I love Klassen as an author, all of her books are terrific. Please enter me into the contest. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

judyg54 said...

Would love to win and read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.

Wendy said...

I like Julie's books. Thanks for the chance.

Michelle V said...

I have both of Julie's other books and I'm a huge fan of her writing! Please enter me!

Michelle V

Julie Klassen said...

Thanks ladies! And, Sherrinda, just to be clear, I don't actually WRITE a book in a week--not even close. :) But the techniques sure help, as well as sharing the goals/actual word counts with writer-friends.

Casey said...

Oh, this book looks good. I loved Lady of Milkweed Manor. Would love to read this one too. Please enter me!

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview and would love to enter the drawing. Thank you!

Molly said...

I have not been fortunate to read any of Julie's books yet, but this interview and this book sounds FANTASTIC!!! Please include me!

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Please enter me. This book is on my TBR list. Thanks.

Sheila Deeth said...

Loved the interview and the excerpt. Write what you love's a tough one for me, since I love so many different genres - the guys say I have no taste, but I just say I have many tastes.

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

The cover for this is awesome! I love books based inthe Jane Austen era and would love to read this! I've only read Lady of Milkweed Manor but I enjoyed it! Please enter me for The Silent Governess!

xoxo~ Renee

Sylvia M. said...

I really enjoyed the first two books, so would like to sign up to win this one.


Carla Gade said...

Julie is one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed the interview and that first chapter, wow! I'd love to win a copy of the book.

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Loved the interview, ladies!

I have Julie's first 2 books and would love to add The Silent Governess to my personal collection. :)

Thank you and Merry Christmas!
~ Lori


Anonymous said...

I would enjoy reading Julie's latest novel...a wonderful interview.


Marla said...

This sounds like a great book. The first chapter drew me in. thank you for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Michelle said...

I would love the opportunity to win this book!

Thank you for entering me!

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Stormi said...

Not read any books from this author so I would love to read this book. It sounds great.


Anonymous said...

Please enter me....would love to read this book! Thanks.

mariska said...

please enter my name in the hat to win it :)

Hope said...

Wow, I'd like to read this one! Please enter me.

Unknown said...

OOO! Please enter me:) Would love ot read this one!!! Thanks!!

Unknown said...

I haven't signed up for a free book in a few weeks. lol

Happy Holidays

Sherry Kuhn said...

The interview with Julie was great! The Silent Governess sounds great and would love to read it. The cover sure draws me in.

Please enter me in the drawing.

Carla said...

Please enter me in this drawing

Julie Klassen said...

Ooo...How fun to find several fans here, and "meet" new readers, too! All the best to whoever wins. Hope you enjoy the book!

kristen said...

What happens? What happens?!!! This sounds amazing. Please enter me!!

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Please enter me! I'm a huge fan of Julie's and I'm really looking forward to reading her newest creation! :)

Anna W.

Martha A. said...

I have really enjoyed Julie's other books and am looking forward to reading this one by her! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

connie e said...

I would love to win this for my daughter. She has been wanting to read a Julie Klassen book forever!

Connie e

Connieed53 {at}aol{dot}com

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

Great interview Mrs.Dooley!
I love Mrs.Klassen's book and can't wait to read The Silent Governess. I would love to enter the giveaway.


Love Y'all,

Rose McCauley said...

This first chapter reminded me of Jane Eyre, my favorite book as a teenager, so please sign me up! thanks!

Katherine said...

This book looks very good. Please enter me.


Carole said...

I have enjoyed Julie's previous books and would love to read "The Silent Governess." Thank you for an interesting interview and chance to win a copy.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed "The Lady of Milkweed Manor" and "The Apothecary's Daughter" is on its way to me right now! Maybe it will be in today's mail. :-) I am a huge Regency fan and am so glad to see this genre in Christian fiction!


Sarah R said...

Please enter me in the drawing. I love Julie Klassen's books and this one looks especially good.

Amber Holcomb said...

This book sounds really good! Please enter me for the drawing! Thank you so much! :)

Anonymous said...

I would love to win/read this book!


Michelle J W said...

I do love a good Regency and/or governess tale. This sounds like satisfying both.
Love to win.
Do hope it is open internationally. I'm in Australia
Keeping my fingers crossed. Wonderful covers on all the books BTW!

Rosalie Patience said...

Please enter me in the drawing. It sounds wonderful! ~Abby

abster dot rose at yahoo dot com

Carla said...

Please enter me in the drawing.

lisa said...

Julie Klassen ranks among my favorite authors. I LOVED Lady of the Milkweed Manor. I didn't enjoy The Apothecary's Daughter as much. I have been most impatient about this release. Please enter me for a chance to win!

Megan said...

Wow that is an incredible first page - I need to get that book now! Thanks lena


Nancye said...

I would like to win this book. Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net