I Return + Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant

Hey, everyone! I return! 🙂

(And if you didn’t notice I was gone, well… that’s either excellent news or… not. I leave you to decide. XD)

There was no post last week due to a long series of conspiratorial circumstances such as being busy, having shoddy/unreliable internet (still the case, actually; thank goodness for cupcake shops with wifi! Yes, that is a picture from today of my yummy cupcake), and a villainous wasp stinging my hand and thereby rendering me unable to type for a few days — the horror! #writersworstfears

BUT I’m back now, at least for the moment. 🙂 So blogging shall happen! Hurray!

I have bookish thoughts for you today, and next week (June 1st) I’ll be sharing an exciting cover reveal here. So excited for both! ^_^ After that I will endeavor to return to a more regular blogging schedule for June… Hopefully.

Meanwhile, I have exciting news to share in the bookish world: there are now THREE Vintage Jane Austen books out! *trumpets and confetti*

Emmeline by Sarah Holman (Emma retelling) which I reviewed, Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant (Sense and Sensibility retelling), and a collection of short stories by various authors, edited by Hannah Scheele, Second Impressions: A Collection of Fiction Inspired by Jane Austen.

I’ve read the two novels that are out so far and LOVED them, and I’m looking forward to reading the short stories! 😀 (You can learn more about the series HERE, or add these to your Goodreads TBR list HERE.)

Meanwhile, I’m here today to talk about Suit and Suitability by my dear author friend, Kelsey, and tell you why you should read it! ;D

Title: Suit and Suitability
Author: Kelsey Bryant
Date read: February 16, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction (1930s) / Christian / Romance
Age: YA
Year pub: 2017
Series: Vintage Jane Austen, #2 (Standalone. Each book by a different author.)
Fave character: Everett
Source: From the author
Notes: I beta-read this before it was published

My Review

Firstly, I enjoyed this book SO MUCH! 😀 A retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, this version is set in 1930s America during the Great Depression (mostly in Ohio, and parts in New York City), with a dash of mystery added to it, and it was an absolute delight to read. 🙂 It drew me in from the first chapter and kept me totally absorbed, despite historical fiction of this sort not being my usual reading fare—I loved it! ^_^

It was so fun getting to meet the characters (slightly familiar but also oh-so-new!), soak up the absolutely GORGEOUS description and brilliantly well-painted time period, connect parallels and suspect upcoming things with the retelling parts, be surprised by little twists, and enjoy the humor, dialog, spiritual bits, character interactions, and generally just bask in the excellent writing! 🙂

Retelling-wise, it’s definitely recognizable as a take on Sense and Sensibility (at times a little more like the movie, perhaps?), but also its own story. So much of the original story was woven in so interestingly in clever little ways, that I had great fun comparing the two, seeing the similar things and changes and tweaks, especially fitting so well into the new time period! I enjoyed the parallels and predicting things, but there were also enough surprises that it kept me on my toes and left me with some lovely “aha!” discovery moments, like an entirely new book… which in many ways it is. I was VERY pleased with this as a retelling and as a book in general. ^_^

The setting and writing, which I somehow think of together, were both AMAZING. I was in awe at how well the time-period and setting were painted! I don’t know a lot about the 1930s, but it was just set SO. WELL. The way people talked, the clothes, the houses, details, even their names… just all of it was so evocative of the ’30s. The attention to detail was phenomenal and absolutely stunned me. I avoid writing historical fiction largely because I would never be able to do the research well enough to plunge the reader so completely into the world like this book did for me. It helped that the writing was gorgeous (and sometimes amusing!), completely sucked me in, and held me spellbound. It’s quite a long book (largely to accommodate the stories of both sisters) but it didn’t feel that way at all. 🙂 (Also, references to Captain Blood, Agatha Christie, etc., was the best. :D)

Characters! One of my favorite things… and these absolutely did not disappoint. I LOVED THEM! 😀 (I mean, except for a few, but we’ll get to that. *cough*) I loved their dialog and interactions and they had me laughing and quoting them a few times. So much fun! ^_^

  • Everett Shepherd is my favorite. 😀 The character he’s based on (Edward Ferrars, of course) wasn’t very present in the original book, so it was fantastic that he got a more “screen-time” in this retelling! I loved that. 😀 Everett was really well-written and I loved him. 😀 He was so awkward and sweet and quiet and nice and just… basically the best! ^_^
  • Ellen Dashiell, the main heroine of the story, was also so well-written and I really liked her. 🙂 She felt so REAL to me. I felt bad for a lot of her struggles and cheered her on, and she was just a great heroine—rather inspiring, actually!
  • Calvin Bradley is AWESOME. I do wish he could have been in it more, but I suppose part of the point is that he’s in the background being steady and faithful and kind and solid and grave and dependable, so… I guess that’s all right. 🙂 But he was fantastic! ^_^
  • I loved Frances! :O A very opinionated secretary who was not (I think?) based on anyone particular, she was such an unexpected character to steal my heart, and really claimed her own as a memorable person. She’s so blunt and fiery and just… the best. XD I was really surprised at how much I ended up liking her. 🙂
  • In contrast, I really disliked Leona. UGH. -_- I mean, we’re supposed to dislike her, so that means she was written well too. XD And one of the things about Jane Austen books seems to be that there’s always THAT character we love to hate. 😛
  • I’m not saying who, but I was taken off-guard by how CHARMING and likeable a certain character was (anyone who knows the Sense and Sensibility story will pick out who I’m talking about). He was well-written enough that I found myself liking him at first even though I knew who he would turn out to be! I did really dislike him as time progressed and as his situation dictated, but the fact that I liked him at all to start with… I was impressed with that.
  • On that note: yes, I will finally talk about the other heroine of the story, namely Marion Dashiell. It’s tricky here, because at times I liked her, and other times… I really, really didn’t. But I feel like that’s appropriate, because that’s exactly how I felt about Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. A lot of people seem to like her but, really, I just DID. NOT. LIKE. MARIANNE. Ugh. So Marion in this version was very similar, which means I think she was written right. XD I did like her more than the original Marianne, I think, but they’re both so flighty and dramatic/passionate/un-reined-in, and while at times I connected with Marion Dashiell over loving books or thinking Ellen might be a little to nice or something (simply because I’m likely not as patient and kind as Ellen, so that’s one thing Marion and I have in common, unfortunately) I just on the whole didn’t like her, and I also didn’t understand her theater passion/obsession because I’m not an actor. 😛 (I’m a writer and an introvert, and the idea of acting on a stage terrifies and appalls me, which means I simply don’t understand her acting passion.) Much of the story is about Marion, and I just didn’t enjoy her parts as much, BUT they were still very interesting, and I suspect others would really enjoy reading those parts; I think it’s just a personality thing where I don’t really (personally!) like Marianne/Marion in either the original or this retelling. So that was just me. Hence, the fact that I loved this book so much despite that, shows how awesome it is. 😀

Also, I think it’s neat how, while Marion and Wilkie’s story was definitely very much there, it wasn’t the only thing that Marion was doing, since her focus is largely about acting too. Even if I didn’t care for her goals so much, it made it interesting that she had something going besides just a romance—and the same with Ellen. I liked how the plot had a lot more to it than just the romances—even though I loved those too. 🙂

There are many things I loved that I can’t directly address due to spoilers, but suffice it to say that the romances (not telling whose! ;)) were at times painful (as expected) but ultimately SO SWEET and rewarding and lovable. ^_^ Sooo many mixed emotions on the ride and I enjoyed it all so much! ^_^ My favorite pair of all, especially. They are the sweetest thing, poor darlings, and they go through so much but it’s all so worth it and their patience and quiet goodness is rewarded and it’s so SWEEEEET! ❤ I’m just really really happy with the entire plot related to them. 😀 JUST YES. Their parts were so fun and I just… I so enjoyed reading about them! I’m ever so pleased that they got more focus than their original counterparts, because they totally deserve some more focus and this time they get it! ^_^ But but but much cuteness of two sweet love stories. ^_^ BASICALLY THEY WERE PERFECT.

I was also very very pleased with how a lot of the plot turned out at the end! EEP. There was even a little sleuthing involved off-screen which made me think of the Hardy Boys and that time period, and it made me happy. 😀 Plus a couple of quite surprising twists, different than the original, which I absolutely LOVED in this! 😀 (Like how the stories of a couple of side-characters turned out, and the plot about Mr. Dashiell.)

Intriguingly, I felt like not only was this a good retelling of one of Austen’s books, but it seemed (to me) to hold true to the general worldview of what I feel like Jane Austen might have been trying to get across in some of her novels, about Christianity and morality, and perhaps about a peaceful rural life of contentment versus the rush and callousness of the city, etc. It all worked really well with this specifically Christian retelling. I quite liked the spiritual aspects of this book and thought they were well-done and inspiring. 🙂 I only recently picked up on those kinds of aspects Austen seemed to put in her books; it might have been reading Mansfield Park recently that helped me piece together this parallel connection. But somehow, some of the things in Suit and Suitability point to a deeper alignment with the (perhaps at times overlooked or forgotten) subtle hints in the original books, and just seemed to FIT with Jane Austen’s works. 🙂

Overall, I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS AND THIS STORY! ^_____^ *hugs it for always* Despite not reading much historical fiction or being particularly a fan of the ’30s, and almost not even liking (sometimes) one of the main characters (a.k.a. Marion) I just so enjoyed this! It’s definitely an excellent book (I kept being blown away by the writing—sooo good) and, what’s more, a fantastic retelling of Jane Austen’s original book! I just so enjoyed it! ^_^

I definitely recommend this book, to anyone who likes Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, the 1930s, well-researched Christian Historical Fiction, sweet YA romances, all of the above, or even just an excellently-written tale of charming (and sometimes funny) characters and their journeys in love and faith! 🙂

(Thanks to the author for the chance to beta-read this book before it was published. 🙂 I was not required to write a review and these are my honest opinions.)

About the Book

The mystery surrounding their father’s criminal accusations is almost as hard to solve as the many puzzles springing on their hearts.

Canton, Ohio, 1935. Ellen and Marion Dashiell’s world crumbles when their father is sent to prison. Forced to relocate to a small town, what is left of their family faces a new reality where survival overshadows dreams. Sensible Ellen, struggling to hold the family together, is parted from the man she’s just learning to love, while headstrong Marion fears she will never be the actress she aspires to be. When a dashing hero enters the scene, things only grow more complicated. But could a third man hold the key to the restoration and happiness of the Dashiell family?

Find the Book

Amazon • Goodreads

Author Bio

Since becoming an Austenite as a teenager, Kelsey has dreamed of writing a book in ode to Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility is one of Kelsey’s favorite novels and Elinor Dashwood is her favorite book character, so it’s easy to imagine her ecstasy as she was writing Suit and Suitability. This is her first published historical fiction work; she has also published two YA contemporary novels.

Kelsey lives in Central Texas with her family, where she’s also a copy editor, a martial arts instructor, and an avid student of the Bible.

You can connect with her online here:

Blog • Website • Goodreads • Facebook

So what do you think? Have you read or watched Sense and Sensibility? Does Suit and Suitability intrigue you? And have you read any Jane Austen retellings you can recommend to me? Tell me aaaall in the comments! 🙂 Thanks for reading! ^_^

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Black Friday Book Sale

Hi everyone! I’m taking a break from the hecticness of NaNo (and the semi-comatose lazy state of someone who had a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner…) to let you know about a Black Friday book sale of some Indie Christian books… Because BOOKS! And SALES ON SAID BOOKS! And… did I mention books? 😀

I know this is being pretty well advertised across the interwebs today, so if this is the billionth time you’ve heard it, please forgive mwa. 😉 But everyone must hear about it!

I know that at least Shantelle Mary Hannu, Jenelle Leanne Schmidt, Kelsey Bryant, J. Grace Pennington and Sarah Holman have each written at least one tale that I simply adore, and there are lots of other authors participating as well.

You’ll find details below, and be sure to check out the deals of free and discount books! 🙂

I hope everyone (American) had a lovely Thanksgiving; if you’re doing NaNo: KEEP GOING, THE END IS NIGH, YOU CAN DO IT; and happy reading, everyone!

blackfridaybooksale2015

It’s that time of year. The time for buying presents, making wish lists, and planning New Year’s Resolutions. If any of those activities involve books for you, Indie Christian Authors has a perfect event for you.

From Nov 27 (that’s today!) through Nov 30th, more than 70 independent Christian books are on sale. You can find free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals, and more! And if your budget is depleted from Christmas shopping, they’ve got you covered with some freebies!

Think 70 books is overwhelming? Narrow it down and find the perfect books for you or someone on your Christmas list by using this quiz to generate a customized book list.

What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?

A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as “Sold Out.” This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

The Bookshelf Tag!

Tag Catch-Up Post #5

Aspen tagged me for the Bookshelf Tag — thanks, Aspen!! Eeeeep, I’m so excited to do this one — it looks so awesome! *flailing* I just love love LOVE lists and books, and this combines them perfectly and aaaahhh!

Okay. I’ll get to the questions now and quit fangirling. 😉

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from: In this case, I have three bookcases, each with five shelves plus the top (which I totally keep books on too), one white, two black. The white one was from a garage sale. The black ones were from Target and I helped assemble them and it was awesome. I think I need a forth one though, because… overflowing. Yes.

Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books? Fictional books I’ve read are organized alphabetically by author… Then I also have some nonfiction and picture books etc., organized kind of by subject. And of course, my Tolkien books and Lewis books and Lloyd Alexander books have places of their own, apart from the general fiction. So much for read books… My unread books have their own bookcase, and I organize those however I feel like it, and it changes periodically, but mostly it’s organized either by category/genre, or by how much I want to read it right now, or some combination of the two…

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf? I’d say my dictionary, but it’s on my desk, sooo… If we’re going to go with overall pages, probably my Complete Shakespeare of which I’ve only read one play, and is 1300 pages. But collections aside, probably Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke at 782 pages.

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What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf? Little Mommy by Sharon Kane at 24 pages. It was kinda my childhood… *memories*

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Is there a book you received as a birthday gift? The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson.

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What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep by Gail Carson Levine.

What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Aside from my Atlases… Prince Valiant Vol. 11: Intrigues at Camelot by Hal Foster.

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Is there a book from a friend on your shelf? Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. (Thanks, Kelsey! ^_^)

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Most expensive book? Probably Time and Mr. Bass by Eleanor Cameron.

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The last book you read on your shelf? Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

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Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read? I literally don’t remember because I’ve been reading basically forever… Maybe Pippi Longstocking? That was early, anyway.

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Do you have more than one copy of a book? Honestly, a lot. Because I go to library booksales and can’t resist multiple copies of my scrumptious lovelies. They make great gifts, too! But if you want specifics… The Lord of the Rings. Lots and lots of The Lord of the Ringses, precioussss.

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Do you have the complete series of any book series? Yes. Lots and lots.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf? I don’t know which individual book was technically the latest, as I got fifteen books at a library sale recently…

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What book has been on your shelf FOREVER? The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 50th Anniversary Edition.

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What’s the most recently published book on your shelf? Illusionarium by Heather Dixon, published May 19, 2015.

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The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)? Probably an old gorgeous G.A. Henty book that I haven’t read yet, At Agincourt. Published 1896, and on the front page it’s marked as given to someone in 1897, so it was new at the time! O_O

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A book you won? King’s Warrior by Jenelle Schmidt.

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A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)? The Sign of the Seven Seas by Carley Dawson. I found it for a quarter at a garage sale, and later found out it’s kinda rare and expensive. Which is sad, because it’s kind of beat up and I LOVE it, and the first book is out of copyright and free on Gutenberg.org, which makes me wonder if The Sign of the Seven Seas is as well, or not…? I still periodically check Gutenberg to see if it’s been put up there but it never is, and maybe the copyright was renewed but… I don’t know. I wish I knew more about this sort of thing because if it’s just that nobody has a copy of it to scan, I would totally figure out how to help Gutenberg with that! *flail*

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Most beat up book? In Chimney Corners by Seamus MacManus. I almost didn’t get it at the library sale I found it at, but I couldn’t resist Irish folktales, so I got it, beat up condition and all — and I don’t regret it because it’s awesome!

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Most pristine book? Tossup between England Adventure by Kelsey Bryant and The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis, because I got them recently but had read them before and haven’t reread them yet so they are in gorgeous condition and practically untouched (except for when I take them off the shelf and gaze on their beauty and pet them. What, you don’t do that with your new books?? *innocent look*).

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A book from your childhood? The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

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A book that’s not actually your book? I’m going to steal Aspen’s answer to this and say Stephen R. Lawhead’s Hood Trilogy which are my brother’s, that I still haven’t read… Also my sister’s Goldstone Wood books by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

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A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.

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A book that is your favorite color? The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. Close enough, anyway…

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Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read? The Book of Merlyn by T. H. White.

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Any signed books? Yes! Several by friends, but my favoritest is my copy of The High King by Lloyd Alexander that I found at a library sale and was signed! *hugs it*

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***

So there you go! I don’t know about you, but I had a TON of fun with this!

I’m supposed to tag people but I don’t even know who to tag because I want to tag EVERYONE.

So basically, if you think this looks fun, do snag it and do it on your blog and let me know so I can read your bookishly delightful answers! (And you don’t have to take pictures of books unless you want… just answer the questions.)

But I do specifically tag Christine (because I want to see your answers and hear about your books!) and Cait (because you can do your awesome bookish photography and I know you love lists and BOOKS! You know you want to). Y’all don’t HAVE to do it, of course, just if you want. 😉

BUT I TAG EVERYONE. SO THERE.

England Adventure & Interview With Kelsey Bryant

Today is a day I’ve quite been looking forward to for a good while — it’s the release date for a new novel from a good friend and talented authoress, Kelsey Bryant!

I’m excited to share with you a little about the book, and honored to have the author over on my blog for an interview! 🙂 Kelsey’s one of the sweetest people I know and I’ve been watching the book’s journey to publication for awhile now… So this is a very exciting day! Be sure to check out her lovely blog, and another interview with her in honor of England Adventure‘s release!

So, let’s get this party going!

RSCN0847Bio: Kelsey Bryant is a homeschool graduate from Central Texas. Books have been a part of her family for generations. Ever since she can remember, Kelsey has been writing stories and dreaming of the magical moment when her books would join the ranks. She draws inspiration from the Greatest Story Ever Told, which culminates in the Messiah’s salvation offered to every person. Her life would be meaningless without her relationship with Yeshua (Jesus). She’s also inspired by the classics, especially the works of her favorite authors Jane Austen, L. M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Louisa May Alcott. She loves history and even her contemporary fiction has a historical bent.

England Adventure

Book 2 FrontCover copy

England Adventure (Six Cousins, book 2) by Kelsey Bryant

Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Marielle has dreamed of seeing England in person. When kind grandparents send her and her cousins there to visit old friends, she can hardly wait to see the places she’s known in fiction and film. The Endicotts are perfect hosts—and their worldly American granddaughter Paris, perfectly beautiful.

But it soon turns out that nothing is as it seems. Her cousins Abby and Reanna, once the best of friends, appear deeply at odds, and the picture-perfect Endicott family is hiding secrets of its own. Distanced by an ocean from home and her family’s protection, Marielle finds herself challenged by a troubling new world. She befriends Paris, but Paris seems opposed to what Marielle stands for. Can Marielle be the witness who helps Paris overcome the lifestyle that’s harming her? Or will Marielle and her cousins be overwhelmed by the conflict this supposed dream trip has brought them?

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My Mini-Review

England Adventure, book 2 in the Six Cousins series, is the sequel to Family Reunion, but I think it stands on its own quite well.

I had the privilege of reading along with the book before its publication. It’s quite a delightful, sweet story, with some good messages and gorgeous scenery (and no wonder, as it’s set in England, and Kelsey Bryant has an extraordinary talent regarding description — such poetry!), plus a memorable cast… I’m beyond amazed at how well the author manages to differentiate between 7 teenaged girls in this book! Their personalities were so well-crafted for me to tell them apart and follow their stories. My favorite is quiet Reanna — and another character, English and grandfatherly Mr. Endicott, of course! 😉

The story was enjoyable, the characters a delight, the descriptions gorgeous, and at one point I found myself near tears at a beautiful part of the spiritual journey in this Christian contemporary YA novel, steeped in a historical feel. I felt like I was visiting England myself!

For the rest, you’ll have to read it for yourself… I know I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on a real-live copy of England Adventure and settle down for a quiet read of the final version! 🙂

Interview with Kelsey Bryant

1. Did the experience of going to England yourself after writing England Adventure help enrich the story?

It definitely enriched it for me personally. I felt like I was in my story, to some extent, which is one of the best sensations a writer can have. 🙂 It also made me wish I could fit more of my experiences into England Adventure. But surprisingly little of my descriptions and so forth needed to be changed, which I was very relieved to discover! I learned enough new things, however, to make me even gladder I had gone myself before publishing so I could fix mistakes and enrich descriptions.

2. As Christian homeschoolers from Texas with a love of literature and so forth, there seem to be some parallels between you and Marielle, the heroine of the Six Cousins books; do you think she’s very similar to you or still very much from your imagination?

Ah, you uncovered the similarities! 🙂 Marielle is much like me, particularly when I was her age, fourteen. We think the same way about a lot of things. She is shier and sweeter than myself now; as she grows up, I’m not sure how she’ll change. I think she won’t venture quite as much out of her shell as I have, but then again, she may surprise me!

3. What sort of audience do you think England Adventure would most appeal to? (Age-range, girls/boys, homeschoolers/not..?)

I had Christian girl homeschoolers, ages 12 to 16, in mind as I wrote, but as the story doesn’t focus on homeschooling, it’s not exclusive there; the heroine’s being homeschooled, however, probably makes her appeal most to homeschoolers. It’s also a fairly long and involved story (at least from my perspective …) so anyone older than that has a fair chance of enjoying it, too. As for boys … it might not appeal to them unless they can appreciate its universal aspects, like spiritual lessons and travel … sorry, boys! There is Mr. Endicott, and some fun young guys at the end, but still ….

4. Do you have a favorite character (or two, or three!) in England Adventure, and if so, why?

I love any book character who loves writing, literature, and viewing life poetically, which describes Marielle, so I hope I’m not being vain when I say she’s my favorite. 🙂 I also enjoy Reanna, because she’s quiet, mysterious, musical, and somewhat marginalized. I love Mr. Endicott for making me laugh and feel safe, and Winifred Braithwaite for her spiritual maturity, whimsicality, and lifestyle tastes (house, land, food, literature, music, art!). (I hope four is allowed, because I couldn’t leave out any of them!)

5. What was the most challenging thing about writing England Adventure?

Remembering the days when I wanted to tear out my hair, I have two memories: 1) constructing Paris’s character arc and 2) making sure, from afar, that all my details about England were accurate.

6. How long have you been writing, and what got you started?

I’ve been writing stories since I could print (maybe five or six?) and therefore I don’t remember what got me started … probably being read to my whole life! I was inspired by stories I heard and somehow got the urge to create my own worlds from that.

7. What do you think were some really influential books in your life or writing, consciously or subconsciously?

There is the Bible, but that one’s kind of obvious for Christians. 🙂 Jane Austen’s six novels influenced me because of her attention to everyday life and character analysis rather than action and suspense. L. M. Montgomery made me ravenous for scenery description. Nancy Drew and American Girl’s History Mysteries stoked my love of mysteries, which show up from time to time in my work. Young adult historical fiction, like the Royal Diaries, Dear America, Elizabeth George Speare’s books, and the Little House books made history important to me (history usually shows up in my writing, even in contemporary stories). The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia gave me an appreciation for inspirational fantasy epics. I probably wouldn’t be the same spiritually if not for Christian fiction like Elsie Dinsmore, Christy, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Hind’s Feet on High Places. I can say the same for Christian nonfiction … books by people such as K. P. Yohannan, D. Thomas Lancaster, and Hannah Whitall Smith. And then there are the writing books that helped me improve my fiction techniques. 🙂 You asked a very good question, Deborah!

8. Do you have plans for more books in the Six Cousins series?

Yes, I do! Remember those England experiences I mentioned in the first question? I have to put them somewhere, so a third book in the series, when Marielle’s 18 or so and returns to England, would do nicely. But I haven’t started actually writing it yet, so right now it’s just that—plans. I also have ideas for a fourth book when Marielle is all grown up.

9. What other writing projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on a story set in the Great Depression … and that’s all I’ll say for now. 🙂 Well, I must add that it’s been a blast so far, both writing and researching.

10. And, finally, is there a particular message you are hoping England Adventure will share with its readers? (Or do we have to read the book to find out? ;))

Readers may find out more for themselves, but the messages I had in mind while I was writing were these: to make yourself a tool in God’s hands; to not underestimate what He can do with you if you give Him the reins of your life; to be kind to people because it’s the right thing to do and you never know what will make a life-changing impression on them; to be ready to make a stand for the Lord; and, last but not least, to find your worth in God, not beauty, popularity, success, or any lack thereof. I didn’t quite realize there were that many messages wrapped up in the story until I answered your question, but maybe it’ll all be better absorbed once readers read the book! Thank you SO MUCH for having me, Deborah! I really enjoyed being here and answering your questions!

So glad to have you, Kelsey! Thanks for joining us! 🙂

Readers, you can find and connect with Kelsey online in these places:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

And don’t forget to check out England Adventure for yourselves!