Friday, January 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Jubilee's Journey by Bette Lee Crosby

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When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life. Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making. If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him. The problem is she’s only seven years old, and who’s going to believe a kid?

Jubilee’s Journey is Book Two in the Wyattsville Series. This story of discovering lost family and finding love reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the other heart-warming characters of the bestselling novel SPARE CHANGE.

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A Woman who is Superstitious to the Core…

A Boy who claims his Parents are Dead…

A Murderer who wants to Silence the Truth of What Happened.

Olivia Westerly knows what she knows — opals mean disaster, eleven is the unluckiest number on earth and children weigh a woman down like a pocketful of stones. That’s why she’s avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she’s a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson.

Spare Change is a quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about the important things in life, the madcap adventures of a young boy and a late change of heart that makes all the difference in an unusually independent woman. 

With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He was counting on the grandpa he’d never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to blazes because the grandpa’s dead too. He’s got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama’s will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him.



                     
1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?


My mother, born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, was not a writer, but, she was a wonderful storyteller. Not realizing that at heart I was my mother’s daughter, I studied art intent upon becoming a graphic designer. My first job was that of a packaging designer, but it was a short-lived career. Faced with an immediate deadline and a blank space where the copy should have been, I began to write. I never looked back, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that my love for words far outweighed any design skills I acquired along the way.     

2. Jubilee’s Journey is Book Two in the Wyattsville Series, but wasn’t Book One, Spare Change, written as a stand-alone novel?

Yes it was. Actually all of my books are stand-alone novels, but after Spare Change was published, I discovered that both I and my readers were not ready to leave Wyattsville and the people living there. That’s when I turned it into an ongoing series. Like many writers, I tend to favor the books that reflect the most poignant aspects of their life. For me, it’s my Southern heritage.

3. Will there be more books in The Wyattsville Series?

Although I do not have one currently planned, I’m sure there will be. Once you get involved with characters you are fond of, it’s hard to let them leave your life forever. I find that I think of characters like Olivia Doyle, Ethan Allen, Paul and Jubilee as friends. I might not get back together with them for six or eight months, but I always know they are there…waiting for me and ready to start off on a new adventure.


4. You’ve written six novels, in those books, which character is your favorite and why?

I suppose I’d have to say Ethan Allen of Spare Change and the reason why is because he is the type of kid I imagine my mom being when she was his age. She came from a family of eleven siblings and they were what many of us would consider poor; so she had to be resilient and determined to survive. And although she wasn’t one to toss around obscenities indiscriminately, she could cuss up a storm when she was really mad. When Mama started cussing we knew to step aside and mind our manners.

5.  Is Ethan Allen is modeled after your mom, is there a character that you’d modeled after yourself?

There is probably a bit of me in every character, but the one most like me would probably be Olivia Doyle in both Spare Change and Jubilee’s Journey. Like Olivia, I have quirky ideas about life, I am an eternal optimist and regardless of the odds, I will always go down swinging. When life takes a turn for the worse, that’s when you need to be strong, draw on your Faith and cling to the love of those around you…which is pretty much what Olivia does.

5. What is your next book project?

I am currently working on a novel titled “Previously Loved Treasures.” Although it is not a sequel, it does dovetail into the mystery that ended “The Twelfth Child.” One of the protagonists in this book is a delightful man of magical talents called Peter Pennington and much of the story centers around a very special second-hand store. I believe this book is scheduled for release in April or May of 2014.

6. What is your favorite quote?

It probably depends upon when and where you ask me. I would love to be deep and profound like so many brilliant writers, but I’ve learned over the years that I am still my mother’s daughter – sometimes irreverent, always a story-lover, but seldom brilliant. So here is the quote that most closely reflects my own thinking…"The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues." Elizabeth Taylor

7. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?


Be yourself. Discover what’s in your heart and create characters you love or love to hate. Never allow yourself to follow in the tracks of another author simply because he or she sold a million copies of their book. If you stumble on that pathway, your readers will know; your characters will sound shallow and superficial. But if you’re true to yourself and work to develop your own voice it will ring loud and true with believability. It isn’t something that happens overnight. I wrote four novels before the fifth was published, but the truth is that the first four didn’t deserve to be published, they were all part of my learning curve. So, stay with it and learn from the writers who inspire you, from the books you love, and from the books you hate. You learn something from every book you read, and sometimes that something is what not to do.  Most of all enjoy every minute you spend writing—because if you’re not writing for fun, you shouldn’t be writing.




Writing Jubilee’s Journey was somewhat of a trip down memory lane, not because of my own memories, but the memories of my mother, who so generously passed them down to me.

My mom was born in Coal Fork, West Virginia; as was her sister Ruth. They were two in a family of eleven siblings.  Times were hard and the family didn’t always have the luxury of living under the same roof. Once the girls were old enough, they were sent to live with relatives who needed house help; the boys went to work in the mines or became farm hands for neighbors.

When my mom was not yet twenty, she married a city boy from Charleston and moved away. Her sister Ruth married one of the men who worked in the mines. The part of Jubilee’s Journey that tells of life in the mining community is based on the truth of how it was.

After Ruth was married, she and her new husband moved into a tiny four room house wedged into the side of the coal-mining mountain. Did they own the house? No. Did they rent the house? No. In the little community of Coal Fork, there was no owning or renting; if a house stood empty and you had need of it…you simply moved in. Of course the house was little more than walls and a floor, there was no plumbing, no electricity, just a cast iron coal stove used for both cooking and heat.  But it was a house and it was free. It had a stretch of land suitable for some farming and a well that had a plentiful supply of cold clear water – water far better than anything you’ve ever tasted.

In Jubilee’s Journey, Ruth’s husband is named Bartholomew but in real life his name was Clifford. He was a miner who lived a life very similar to Bartholomew’s. He and Ruth had four children, the eldest of which was my cousin Paul. And the Paul I knew was my model for the one I created. He was wise, strong, loyal beyond belief, and filled with love and Faith.

I spent many summer vacations visiting my cousins and the memories I have are truly treasured ones. Despite the fact that Ruth’s family had very few material possessions, they were wealthy beyond compare. They were rich in the things that no amount of money can buy—love, faith, trust and hope. Like Bartholomew, Clifford hoped his boys would never see the inside of a mine…and they didn’t. All four of my cousins earned scholarships and went on to become professionals in the fields of education and ministry.

I have always been inspired by the goodness in the life they led, and that inspiration is what led me to write Jubilee’s Journey. I hope the book inspires others as the truth behind this story has inspired me.


Bette Lee Crosby







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