This is Janet Dean. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. Her daughters went to high school with our daughter. She served on the board of the PTA with us. She is active in her church. She loves to play golf and bridge. She is someone who could easily be your next-door-neighbor, except for one thing that sets her apart … she has just finished writing her third novel!
Janet’s first two novels are already in print. Courting Miss Adelaide was released last Fall and Courting the Doctor’s Daughter was released last month. Their genre is categorized as inspirational historical romance.
My book club read Courting Miss Adelaide for this month’s meeting, and then we invited Janet to speak at the meeting. We did discuss the book, which is a good read, but what was most interesting was to hear Janet tell about how a Midwestern wife and mother became a published author.
She talked about enjoying writing stories since she was a small child. And about how she decided on the subject for her books. And about word count and the way the publisher can make a little-too-short novel longer by adding advertising and excerpts from other books in the back. And how titles and cover artwork are chosen. And about publishers’ deadlines and how they can sometimes make writing a book feel an awful lot like working! All the things that you (or at least I) don’t think about when you pick up a book.
Courting Miss Adelaide’s plot is based on the placing of some orphans from one of the orphan trains that came from New York City in the late 1800’s carrying orphans that were adopted by people in towns all across the country. The book’s setting is Noblesville, Indiana, a small town just outside of Indianapolis, because in her research Janet found out that it actually was one of the stops for the orphan train.
Janet told us her research had shown that before the orphan trains, as many as 30,000 children were living on the streets of New York City at any one time, either orphaned or from families that were unable to take care of them, mostly new immigrants. Because the orphanages were full, a Methodist minister came up with the idea of sending the orphans on trains to small towns where they could be adopted, and the estimate of how many orphans were eventually transported on the orphan trains was between 200,000 and 300,000! A fascinating part of history that makes an interesting backdrop for a novel.
I very much enjoyed Courting Miss Adelaide and I’m enjoying reading Courting the Doctor’s Daughter now, which is based on other characters in the same town. And because I enjoyed them, and because I am delighted to actually know their author, I am going to give away a copy of these two books. If you would like to win them, just leave a comment on this post. I will draw a name from the commenters a week from today, June 19.
When I took my fiction writing class last year, Dr. H told us how many wanna-be authors there are out there. He said he sees them again and again at the writing seminars he gives. He said many people love considering themselves authors, but never really complete a book — they just like calling themselves that because they’re dabbling in a never-completed draft. And, even if they do finish a book, they still never actually have one published. So, I am delighted to be able to say I actually know an honest-to-goodness published author, especially one who is a very admirable lady in many ways … Janet.