Thursday, March 04, 2021

UNTIL JUNE - Barbara M Britton - One Free Book

Welcome, Barbara. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters. Most of my characters have some aspect of my personality, maybe twenty-five percent. Stories have to have conflict to drive the plot, so my characters will face more challenges in a short period of time than I have in my lifetime. I draw on my own feelings and reactions to make my characters seem relatable. When my characters have to be brave, they reach into their life experiences and stay strong. I like to think they get that trait from me, but my strength comes from God and family.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done? I love doing kid’s ministry, so I have done some crazy things. Sometimes I teach with a puppet “Rusty.” Adults look at me like I’m nuts, but the kids love when Rusty comes and “talks” to me. He’s more popular than I am.

When did you first discover that you were a writer? I taught elementary school chapel for six years. Finding curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade is a challenge. I had to modify curriculum and write drama scripts to go along with the material. One spring I was feeling worn out and I prayed for God to “Hit me with some creativity.” God gave me ideas for my lessons, but I also felt a prompting to write a story. Four stories later, my first book was published, and it was a plot similar to a Bible story. I should have begun earlier writing what I taught each week.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. I became a Christian in the third grade, so I have a soft spot for children’s books that are spiritually based or are sweet stories. I’m always on the lookout for good resources for children. All my books have a romantic thread because I like a good love story, too. I enjoy reading Biblical Fiction, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, and sweet Young Adult books.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world? Setting boundaries is key to staying sane. I make God and my family my top priorities. I have turned down book contracts when my family needed more of my attention. Some might say I was crazy, but God blessed me in unexpected ways.

Philippians 4:4-7 are my go-to verses to reduce stress and anxiety.

How do you choose your characters’ names? When writing about historical characters, I am stuck with their names. If my characters are fictional, I choose names that sound different and do not start with the same letter so as not to confuse a reader. Imagine my concern when I wrote about the daughters of Zelophehad: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. I worked really hard to keep the characters distinct because their names are similar.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? Personally, it’s raising children that love the Lord. Professionally, it would be getting a second book published. With a debut novel, readers do not have any expectations. Expectations are high with a sophomore story.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why? I would be a butterfly who hangs out on pretty flowers and makes people wonder at God’s Creation.

What is your favorite food? Dark chocolate. If chocolate’s not a food, then I would say tacos.

Of course, chocolate is a food. I love dark chocolate, too. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it? My greatest roadblock, to this day, is self-doubt. I pray that God will help me write to the best of my ability. I pray before I write for the Spirit to help me craft the best story possible. I also never stop learning about the craft of writing.

Tell us about the featured book. Until June was the second manuscript I wrote—and that was many years ago. At the time, I was told that Historical Young Adult books would never sell. I worked on the book over the years because it was dear to my heart. On an Alaskan cruise excursion, I heard the tale of how a WWI veteran and his caregiver had lived at a lodge in Alaska and were cut off from society during winter. I had always had a passion to help veterans returning from war. I molded the lodge story and my compassion for veterans into a manuscript. Fast forward a decade later when my son texted me that someone had stolen my story. He had seen a movie trailer for Me Before You. My story is a caregiver trope too, but it has a happy ending. I dusted off my manuscript and submitted Until June to my publisher. Pelican Book Group accepted the story. The book is a departure from my Biblical Fiction.

Here's the official book blurb:

When seventeen-year-old seamstress, Josephine Nimetz, agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge to escape the influenza of 1918, there’s enough friction to melt the Mendenhall Glacier. Her position is only until June, and it pays well enough to overlook the hardship of managing a rustic home and a shell-shocked veteran, Geoff Chambers.

Geoff makes it clear that he isn’t too fond of the “runt” sent to take care of his needs, nor of her painful mistakes. Dealing with a depressed and addicted amputee, pushes Josephine to the brink of leaving, if not for the money her salary brings.

But Josephine is a perfectionist, determined to get Geoff back on his feet—figuratively. Though, sending a rich, handsome veteran back into society may cost Josephine the man she has grown to love.

This sounds interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.

Juneau, Alaska, September 1918

Josephine Nimetz slipped into a perfect replica of a wool coat, one she had drawn, designed, and patterned on old newspaper. She tucked a rectangular box under her arm and tiptoed across the living room toward her mother who slept in an oversized chair. Laying a gentle hand on her mother’s swollen knuckles, she whispered, “I’m off to the Chambers Estate.”

Her mother’s eyes fluttered open. “I thought you delivered Mrs. Chambers’s gown yesterday?”

“Yes, but Ann forgot to put the gloves and embroidered handkerchief in the box. I don’t want any complaints from our best customer.”

“Your sister can’t seem to think about anything these days. Anything, that is, except men.”

Josephine stepped toward the door. At seventeen, the last thing she wanted to discuss was her sister’s courtships. There had been too many stories of lonely miners with gold rush dreams. Her mother coughed and leaned forward. Josephine halted. “Do you need your medicine?”

“At night dear. Only at night.”

How can readers find you on the Internet? I have a website where you can find out about my books and sign up for my monthly newsletter, I am also active on Twitter, Facebook, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Thank you, Barbara, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I love reading stories set in Alaska.

Readers, here is a link to the book.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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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 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Barbara Britton said...

Thank you for having me back on the blog, Lena. I always enjoy interacting with your readers.

Carol James said...

I absolutely loved this book. It’s so good, Barbara. Congratulations.

Barbara Britton said...

Thank you, Carol. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate you joining us .

Patricia B. said...

UNTIL JUNE sounds like an interesting story. We have visited Alaska and the remoteness and isolation during the winter do force relationships to be intense. Once things open back up in the Spring, there is a different perspective on them. That would be even more so with the situation these characters find themselves in.
Have a safe and healthy rest of the winter. Spring is almost here.

We live in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Patricia. "Until June" is based on a story I heard on an Alaskan cruise excursion where a man and a woman were isolated in a lodge during winter when the Taku River froze. I thought that would be so isolating. I did enjoy the terrain and seeing eagles fly around freely in Alaska. Thanks for joining us. Tennessee is a pretty state, too.

Janice Cole Hopkins said...

Greetings from North Carolina. Your book sounds intriguing, Barbara. I've been to Alaska twice and thoroughly enjoyed its rugged beauty.

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Janice. I loved Alaska and want to go again. Although, I hear nice things about North Carolina and I bet it's warmer. I really enjoyed writing this book. It was a labor of love for many years to show the wounds veterans harbor. I'm glad you joined us.

Robin in NC said...

Poor Josephine! From the blurb, it sounds like she has a lot of responsibilities on her young shoulders. Geoff seems like he'll need a lot of TLC. This book sounds really interesting! Thanks for sharing with us.

Robin in NC

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Robin. Yes, Josephine doesn't have an easy time at the lodge, but she's a tough cookie. I hope readers enjoy their time at the lodge. Thank you for your kind comments.

Lucy Reynolds said...

Even as an adult I would enjoy when you bring out a puppet. Sounds like a great book. Blessings from WV.

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Lucy. It's amazing how many children--and adults--respond to puppets. Thanks for joining us today.

Elly said...

This sounds really good!😃
Elly -Indiana-

Barbara Britton said...

Thank you, Elly. I worked on this story for many years and never tired of it. I was ecstatic when it received a book birthday. I'm glad you joined us.

Melanie Backus said...

I am intrigued by this book. It sounds like a must read!
Melanie Backus, TX

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Melanie. Texas has had a harrowing month. I lived in Texas for ten years and we had ice storms, but nothing like this last storm. How scary. Thank you for joining us.

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Sharon. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you joined us. I was in South Carolina when my son graduated from Basic Training at Fort Jackson.

Melissa M. said...

Sounds interesting. Please enter me in the contest!
- Melissa from TN

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Melissa. Thanks for joining us. Tennessee is such a pretty state. I'm setting a story there now.

rubynreba said...

You had me at World War II veteran. My Dad was a World War II vet and they were all special people!
Beth from IA

Barbara Britton said...

Hi Beth. We owe a huge debt to our Veterans. Yes, they are all special people. Thanks for joining us from Iowa--one of my Midwest neighbors.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Lovely book!
Connie from Kentucky

traveler said...

Captivating and memorable book.
Anne from NM.