Special Features

The Hesitant Heiress | Author Interview & Giveaway

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome debut author Dawn Crandall to the blog. Dawn is an incredibly gifted writer who will be publishing three books within the next year! I’ve had the privileged of reading her debut work, The Hesitant Heiress, and I am sure that you will find both the book and it’s author to be delightful!

IMG_3394 (683x1024)Tell us about Dawn! We’d love to get to know you more. If you want, please include something silly or funny that we might not know about you.

I have ADD, truly so terribly that it’s difficult for me to keep track of just about anything. It’s still amazes me that I was able to write these books! But really, there was nothing I liked better than to get lost in 1890 New England and get to know these characters. However, now that I have a baby…. there is something I like better! I love being a mom! But now I need to figure out how to write books while having a baby around! And having ADD definitely does not help!
Had you always wanted to be a writer? When was it that you really knew God was leading you to write?

Ever since I was in 4th grade, the idea of writing a book has appealed to me. I remember my teacher had us choose some contact paper for the “cover” and then bound papers together for us—I thought that was so cool!! And I couldn’t wait to fill it with a story!! Don’t ask me what I ever wrote in that little book, but I do know that from then on my favorite time in school was when we were supposed to write something. 🙂 I never thought of “being a writer” until I was in high school and (finally!) came across the kinds of books that thrilled me to read—Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott… and then later in college, books by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. I’d made up some stories for my friends at the time and wrote out synopsis-like drafts, but nothing beyond that. At that time it was still just a dream of mine that I didn’t know when I’d ever get around to actually being serious about. It wasn’t until I married my husband in my late twenties and he found out the hidden secret of my heart… and believed in me 110% more than I’d ever believed in myself. He eventually had me quit working to focus on writing, and in 2010 I began writing “Amaryllis.” It was pretty clear to me that I was on the right track when I had two offers of agent representation after attending my first ACFW conference in 2011 and then continued to either semi-final or final in the Genesis Contest with all three of my manuscripts in 2012 and 2013 while my series was on submission.

HesitantHeiressBook Related Questions:

Who is your favorite character in the story and why?

Not a hard question to answer. 🙂 It’s Amaryllis Brigham, of course. Even though I really wasn’t doing anything toward writing in college, I did have a few of my main characters named. Amaryllis has been with me for so long, even if she was buried in the document files on two different laptops before I ever had the guts to bring her out and actually write her story.

The Hesitant Heiress is your debut novel. Tell us about your publishing journey.

Well, like I said, I never wrote a thing until January of 2010. I’d been thinking up my plot and figuring out what kinds of scenes I wanted, but I could not decide whether to write the story in first person POV or third person. I’d heard it was difficult to write first person well—and that kept me from doing it, although it was always how the words seemed to come to mind. Finally, I decided I just needed to do it—and because I was ultimately writing it for myself more than anyone else—I just dove into writing it from first person, because that was how it needed to be told. However, about a year later I was stuck on trying to figure out exactly how to get to the ending I had planned! Considering I’d basically figured out how to write a book from studying how my favorite books were constructed, I realized I needed to find a critique partner and join some kind of writing organization. So I joined ACFW, met my beloved friend/crit-partner Susan Tuttle, figured out my ending and went to the 2011 conference (upon my husband’s urging). I met with two agents there, had two partial proposal requests… and then a month later, I had two agent contracts in my email box! Pretty crazy for not even knowing what a proposal was until after they’d been requested. After I chose my wonderful agent, Joyce Hart, I still had to finish revising the ending of my book! So my one and only proposal went out into the hands of editors during the summer of 2012… and then I waited, and waited and waited. Basically two years to the day that I’d been offered my agent contract, I received official word that Whitaker House wanted to publish my series (which I’d been working on while waiting), first as eBooks, and then later, hopefully as paperbacks.

What spiritual lessons did you apply to your own life while you wrote this manuscript?

That everything, indeed, works together for those who love and trust God. I try to have the mentality that I will be joyful for whatever blessings He gives… even if they aren’t exactly what I had planned.

What is unique about the setting? How does it enhance the story?

There are two distinct settings in The Hesitant Heiress (which takes place in 1890), the neighborhood of Back Bay in Boston, and then for the last half of the novel, a group of elaborate “cottages” (mansions, really) on Mount Desert Island where Acadia National Park is located.

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

Honestly, there is a lot of me in Amaryllis Brigham. When I started my second book in the series (before I had my agent), it was just for fun as well, and also to prove to myself that I could write another character from first person POV that didn’t sound just like Amaryllis. I ended up with a character so opposite of me, it was quite interesting to write.

Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?

I do outline pretty extensively concerning chapters, character development, motivations and goals and especially the ending, but there are ALWAYS surprises along the way!! Sometimes I’m totally surprised by some of the things the characters end up doing!!

How do you organize your writing day? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

Um, before I got pregnant last year I used to start writing at 8-10am on my writing days, and I would get lost in my story world until my husband came home, most times forgetting to even eat lunch. On those days, I could sit there for up to ten hours, a few days a week. I’m not a very fast writer because it takes so long for me to get back into the story after days away—I would usually pre-write, write and edit one chapter per week… BUT then I had a baby. !!! He’s only a few months old right now, so I’m still trying to figure out how exactly I’m going to keep writing as efficiently as I had before I was pregnant.

If you have found yourself in a creative slump where do you turn to find inspiration?

I usually turn to pictures, as well as a good book by a favorite author. I have a Pinterest board that I’ve added all of my photo inspirations to, all in order of how they appear in the book (www.pinterest.com/dawnwritesfirst).

BoundHeart-e1405967174455When is your next book due out and what can you tell us about it?

The second book in the series, The Bound Heart, comes out this November. It’s about one of the minor characters, Meredyth Summercourt as she deals with her own issues a few months after the first book concludes. The prologue to this second book is previewed at the end of The Hesitant Heiress… which will give readers a pretty good idea about what her issues… (www.goodreads.com/book/show/21490844-the-bound-heart).

Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com
– twitter – @dawnwritesfirst
– facebook – www.facebook.com/dawncrandallwritesfirst
– pinterest – www.pinterest.com/dawnwritesfirst
– blog – www.apassionforpages.blogspot.com
– GoodReads – www.goodreads.com/dawn_crandall

 Just for Fun:

If you had three wishes (frivolous or serious…) what would they be?

Well, two of my wishes actually came true this year… having my son in March, and having my series published. Beyond that, I don’t know what else I could want besides perhaps to live on Mount Desert Island so I could go to the coast of Acadia National Park any time I wanted. 🙂

What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Haha—funny question! I take care of a baby ALL THE TIME right now! If I could find some free time I would read, write, read and write some more!

What is your favorite way to communicate with your readers?

I like to communicate through my FaceBook page the best. 🙂

CaptiveImposter-e1405967162864What is the most important thing on your current ‘To Do’ list?

I need to finish revising the ending of the third book in The Everstone Chronicles series, The Captive Imposter. !!!!!

Who is your favorite Christian author? Why?

I’m going to have to say there’s a tie between Julie Lessman and Jody Hedlund. As a writer, I have a difficult time getting into books without wanting to edit/critique them… but Julie and Jody write the kind of books that make me forget I’m a writer, and that I can get lost in—they write their stories just perfectly!!

What is your favorite place to curl up with a book?

When I have time… just on my bed with a pile of pillows behind me.

If we were to walk into Starbucks together what drink would you order?

White Mocha made at 130 degrees with whipped cream. Perfection in a cup. 🙂

If you were going to go on vacation would you choose the coast or the mountains?

Haha—the rocky coast of Maine, of course. 🙂

How can your fans best support you?

If someone reads my book and likes it, I love to see their reviews on GoodReads and very soon, Amazon and CBD (as well as many other sites like them). I also like to hear from readers on my Facebook page or Twitter account.

If you and your husband were going to have a “date night” where would you want him to take you?

Probably to dinner and then to see a really girly chick flick at the movies.

The Giveaway

{CLOSED}

During the six weekends of The Hesitant Heiress Blog Tour Dawn will be giving away prizes. By answering one of the feature questions in the comments below {including your email address} you will be entered into the weekly drawing, and then also into the end of the tour Grand Prize–all of which will be announced on Dawn’s blog.

Feature Questions (choose 1):

What do you like most about Christian romance or historical novels?

Dawn shared that her husband pushed her to write because he believed in her more than she believed in herself. Who is your biggest encourager?

If you had three wishes (frivolous or serious…) what would they be?

THE FIVE WEEKLY PRIZE PACKS: a $10 Amazon Gift Card, an eBook of The Hesitant Heiress, a mug with all three book covers and a moleskin journal.

THE GRAND PRIZE (at the end of week six): a Kindle Fire, a $10 Amazon Gift Card, an eBook of The Hesitant Heiress, a mug with all three book covers and a moleskin journal.

three photo mug

CAMDEN ENDORSEMENT

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34 thoughts on “The Hesitant Heiress | Author Interview & Giveaway

  1. My three wishes would be: 1. For my husband to be able to quit his current job and do something he really loves. 2. Open a lending library/coffee shop–because I love coffee and I want to share my love of books with others. And the really frivolous one: 3. Get a red Volvo Cross Country. Thanks for the giveaway. Would love the chance to win a print copy of Dawn’s book and one of those mugs….that would be great!

    Blessings,

    Like

    1. I feel the same about the first one, Tina. I really wish my hubby could find a job that was challenging and he enjoyed. He is way overqualified to drive a forklift, but in downeast Maine one is blessed to have a job at all. I keep hoping something will come along that he will enjoy! He lives farming, but he has to work so we can afford to keep animals, etc. love your second wish! 🙂

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Tina! I pray your husband finds his favorite job soon. I didn’t find mine (this) until I was in my 30’s and just worked random jobs until I started writing a few years ago. 🙂 And I would totally come to your coffee book shop!

      Like

  2. What a wonderful interview. I love Christian books because I feel the stories are usually more in-depth. That may not make sense to alot of people, but if you take the sex scenes out of a story and then look at the storyline it usually falls short. Christian authors usually spend more time on the actual storyline. I love to be pulled into a storyline.Thank you for sharing.
    eppersonkatrina@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Katrina! You’re right about the sex being the main basis for a lot of plots in mainstream romances… that’s why I love to write the kind of tension between characters that I do. It’s real and thrilling… and yet clean. 🙂

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  3. What I like most about Christian fiction is that I usually take away a great lesson from them. One of the lessons I took from this book was not to always trust our own intuitions and thoughts about others. We often make judgments about people that turn out to be totally false. I like clean reads with practical ( historical being my favorite) and spiritual lessons which is why I read Christian fiction mostly. Ewe_r_merritt(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  4. I love Christian Fiction and Historical Romance because they are good clean books.
    I love to read different books , but I love for them to be CLEAN. Dawn has written an awesome book and I love it. I would love to be entered in your giveaway . Thanks for the chance.
    lizd225(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. 1. That I could figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. 2. That my fiancé could find he good paying job he loves. 3. To travel all over the world and help to educate people about God and academically. I would love to teach in a foreign country for a year.
    I can’t wait to read these books.

    Like

  6. While my husband is sweet and supportive, my biggest encouragers are fellow writers at thescriblerians.wordpress.com. It takes other writers to fully understand what’s going on in your head and heart as you get words on paper or computer screen. But I have to add one more. One of my best friends and my walking buddy prays daily for my growth and success as a writer.

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  7. Great interview–thanks! What I like best about Christian fiction is that I can enjoy a beautiful romance without worrying that I’ll run across something I’d find objectionable. I love the variety and depth available in the market now.

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    1. Thank you Lynda! You’re right! The Christian market is booming with such talent these days! I still feel so honored to have had my own precious “book-babies” picked up to be published by Whitaker House! I’m surrounded by such amazing author friends who are such great storytellers!

      Like

  8. I like historical fiction the most. I appreciate the research the authors do to place their characters within events/happenings of the time period. So much more than we might have learned in school. I like stories showing growth in leaning on the Lord for direction. Hoping to win Amaryllis’ story! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  9. If you had three wishes (frivolous or serious…) what would they be? #1-To spend one year living near the ocean and focus on writing two books. #2- I would love to bring together a small to medium size group of 15 to 20 people to build relationships and study together. The group of 15-20 people would be made up of all new relationships. #3- Within the one year to travel to two countries to teach a Christian workshop for women. The two countries I would choose are Austria and England.

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  10. I love how sweet and inspiring Christian books are. There’s no fuss or muss like contemporary romance. Historical romance is my absolute favorite genre to go to whether it be Christian or contemporary. There’s just something about the eras that kidnaps me and holds me hostage until the end of the book.

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  11. Dawn, congratulations on your book and your son! I really enjoyed the interview. Your book cover is lovely and sounds like something I would read. The whole series sounds wonderful.

    ~~What do you like most about Christian romance or historical novels?~~

    I love Christian Fiction–Christian Historical Romance for several reasons. One is they are good clean books with nothing in them that makes me cringe. I love the historical settings, takes me back to a much different time and I usually learn something about our history and spiritual truths in the reading.

    Thanks for a chance to win a copy of your book.

    blessings, Tina
    tfrice@comcast.net

    Like

  12. Congrats on your son and new books! My three wishes: (1) to find a job, (2) to meet a godly man, (3) to travel more. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

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  13. I love Christian fiction and Christian historical books first of all, because they are clean and you don’t have to overlook bad language and sexualy explicit scenes that detract from the story. Then, I love the history and the research done to bring out little known and interesting facts.

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