I had the pleasure to interview Dawn and learn all kinds of crazy fun stuff!! :)
Do you have a specific writing style?
I write from first person point of view of the heroine of the story. I’ve been told that my voice is very “old sounding” and many of the reviewers have mentioned that it compares to the style in which Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte wrote their books. My goal wasn’t to imitate them; it’s just how my “writer voice” comes out.
How did you come up with the title?
For the last few years I’ve been calling my first book Amaryllis Brigham, the name of the main character. I liked how Jane Eyre was named so simply like that since it was basically a story of her journey. I knew my book was similar to the way Jane Eyre was written, I just never wanted to bring it up—because who compares themselves with Charlotte Bronte? When I got my three book contract my books were all named after my heroines: Amaryllis Brigham, Meredyth Summercourt and Estella Everstone. However, Whitaker House wanted them to have more suspenseful titles that all sort of went together. So I thought long and hard for about a week and gathered a bunch of ideas. I sent them a list, and they picked out the ones they liked best. I actually wanted to call The Hesitant Heiress “The Reluctant Heiress,” but I guess there is another recently published book with that title.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want readers to be encouraged that although there are times in our lives that don’t seem the greatest; He is using those instances to make us who He wants us to be. Amaryllis thought she knew what she wanted, she thought she knew what was best—but she was wrong. Through her journey, she found that God had been listening to the yearnings of her heart all along—even when she’d tried to ignore them because she didn’t believe she’d ever attain them.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Reading Jane Eyre, all of Jane Austen’s books, and Rececca by Daphne du Maurier have all had a strong influence on me since my high school and college years. I didn’t read much through my twenties, but then when I decided to write the book I’d always dreamed of writing, I read just about every Christian book I could get my hands on for about four years. I don’t think anyone out there writes close to the way I do, but I have learned a lot about storytelling from authors like Jody Hedlund, Julie Lessman, Julie Klassen and Siri Mitchell.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I haven’t really had a “mentor,” beyond my agent, Joyce Hart. I signed with her right after I joined ACFW in 2011, back when I hardly knew anyone or had made any connections with other fellow “aspiring authors.” But I have had some pretty great encouragers through the process of going from agented to published; authors like Julie Lessman and Sarah Ladd.
How are you the same or different from your main character?
Honestly, there is a lot of me in Amaryllis Brigham, the main character in The Hesitant Heiress. When I started my second book in the series (before I had my agent), I had written it just for fun, 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.
Craziest food you've ever eaten?
I used to attend an International Bible Study in college and every month there would be a potluck sort of thing. There were so many strange things I ate back then; I don’t even know what they were. J
Three things on your bucket list?
I must be a pretty boring person, because I don’t really have a bucket list. I can say that writing this book was one thing I’d always wanted to do ever since reading the classic novel, Rebecca, in high school. And having my son this March after thinking for years and years that I would never be able to have a baby. So yeah, I’m boring. I can’t even think of another thing I’d want “to do” more than those two things.
So fun learning about Dawn and the process to create this book!! Here's some more info on the "Hesitant Heiress"
About The Hesitant Heiress
After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.
Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn't who she thought at all.
About Dawn Crandall
A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.
Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.
The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.
CONNECT WITH DAWNFacebook: facebook.com/DawnCrandallWritesFirst
Book Review Blog: APassionforPages.blogspot.com
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