VBT – THREADS
Posted by authorcamilson
by Charlotte Whitney
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Women’s Lit, Book Club Lit
It’s a boring, hardscrabble life for three sisters growing up on a Michigan farm during the throes of the Great Depression. But when young Nellie, digging for pirate treasure, discovers the tiny hand of a dead baby, rumors begin to fly. Narrated by Nellie and her two older sisters, the story follows the girls as they encounter a patchwork of threatening circumstances and decide to solve the mystery.
When I woke up this morning the first thing I thought of was that baby. What a dark, scary place for a baby to be buried. So alone, away from everyone. Where were its parents? Babies need to be held and cuddled and kept warm. Even dead babies need to be buried in the churchyard with purty flowers, not off in the cold, dark backwoods.
I keep thinking ’bout the Preston’s baby girl, such a sweet baby. I held her once when Mrs. Preston was sitting beside me on the davenport. The baby kept sleeping, then blew a little bubble and later I could feel her little fart that warn’t stinky at all. All the time she jist kept sleeping. When she finally woke up and fussed, Mrs. Preston picked her up and jiggled her and talked baby talk to her so she quit fussing. That’s how babies are posta be treated.
But thinking ’bout the Prestons made me sad, too. They lost their farm and had to move away to Mrs. Preston’s parents’ place in Indiana. Ma said we might never see them again. Ma and Mrs. Preston both cried when we said goodbye. Pa and Mr. Preston shook hands and Pa bit his lip. I’d only seen him do that once before, at my grandpa’s funeral.
AUTHOR Bio and Links
Charlotte Whitney grew up in Michigan and spent much of her career at the University of Michigan directing internship and living-learning programs. She started out writing non-fiction while at the University and switched to romance with I DREAM IN WHITE. A passion for history inspired her to write THREADS A Depression Era Tale chronicling the stories of three sisters on a farm during the throes of the Great Depression. She lives in Arizona, where she loves hiking, bicycling, swimming, and practicing yoga.
Facebook Author Page:
Charlotte Whitney will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Q&A With …. Charlotte Whitney
Tell us about you as a person.
Many people know me as an academic from my work at the University of Michigan. I’m a wife, mother, dog-lover, and exercise enthusiast, including Zumba, yoga, swimming, biking, and hiking. Also, I must add travel. I’m happiest when I’m planning the next trip
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Eleanor Roosevelt, definitely. This former first lady overcame so many obstacles and brought about so much positive change in the world. She was ridiculed for her appearance, treated poorly by her mother-in-law, cuckolded by her husband the President, yet she did so much to help the working class, women, and people of color, back in the 1930’s and 40’s. She had a daily newspaper column that spoke to women, validated them. She set up a furniture factory, Val-Kill Industries to employ people during the Depression. She was a diplomat at the United Nations, and an advocate for labor, for servicemen, and child welfare. My favorite story about her is when Marion Anderson, an African American opera singer, in 1939 was banned by the DAR from singing at Constitution Hall because of her race. Eleanor resigned from the DAR and arranged for the concert to take place at the Lincoln Memorial. The event was attended by 75,000 people.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
Set in 1934 during the Great Depression, three sisters living on a Michigan farm, relate their stories of hardship, romance, and crime. It all starts when young Nellie goes out to the woods looking for pirate treasure and digs up the tiny hand of a dead baby. The sisters decide to form a club to solve the mystery, taking them down many different paths until it’s resolved.
What is your writing process?
In the summertime iced coffee is my inspiration; in the winter time it’s hot coffee. Seriously, I have no magic formulas for up-and-coming writers. Simply stick with it and get good editors.
Tell us about your main character:
There are three main characters: Nellie (age 7) is imaginative and talks to animals, Pottawatomi Indian boys, and a space alien named ZeeZee. Irene (11) is smart, arrogant, and judgmental to a fault. Flora (17) would like to become a farm wife but a vicious rumor quashes her hopes. All three are likeable in different ways and the reader sees how they develop and change over time.
If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
Real-life sisters Maude and Iris Apatow types, for sure. Both have played spunky girl roles. The movie would open with an aerial shot spanning the entire farm, including the back meadow, woods, and creek. Roosters would be crowing while the neighbor man swears at his cattle. Then we’d see all three sisters waking up to face their chores collecting and washing dirty eggs, going to the windmill to pump water for the day, and setting a fire in the cookstove to begin breakfast.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on another historical novel, again set in rural Michigan in 1934. In this book twenty year-old Polly is suddenly widowed. As the book unfolds, it’s unclear if this was a suicide, homicide, or bizarre farm accident. There are plenty of twists to keep you guessing. The working title is VEILS: A Depression-Era Tale.
What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Get lots of reviews, get as much publicity as possible, even if you’re shy. Have a super-fun Launch Party; that will keep you motivated for a long time.
What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
I just finished Finding Mrs. Ford by Deborah Goodrich Royce. I’m fascinated by her success of weaving back and forth in time. Usually I find those dual time-lines distracting, or I lose interest in one of the story lines. Not this time.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
Perseverance. That’s a much needed quality for writers.
You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Invisibility and time travel. (Yes, I know that’s two.) I would love to listen in on so many conversations in so many strange places. It would provide great fodder for stories.
List 5 things on your bucket list:
- A tour of Christmas Markets in Germany
- Two weeks in Amsterdam
- Sequoia National Park with my family
- Tahiti and Bora Bora with my husband
- A day at a fancy spa without once thinking about how much it costs
Any final thoughts?
I love to hear from readers. Let me know what’s on your mind, some of your favorite books and if you belong to a book club.
The following is a talk on YouTube where I describe my own childhood experiences as they relate to THREADS:
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