Monday, January 29, 2018

A Visit with Susanne Dietze


Susanne Dietze, one of my more recent favorite authors, is celebrating a new release this month. Her book, A Mother for His Family is a lovely and heartwarming story. I thought it would be nice to have her stop by and share a little about this engaging tale. 


Susanne, congratulations on A Mother for His Family! I'm so excited for you. :) How did this story come about? Was there any particular inspiration?

Thank you, Karen! I appreciate you celebrating with me. 

I have always wanted to write a marriage of convenience story featuring a house full of children. I also wanted to write a story where the heroine struggles to see herself as Jesus sees her (which I confess is something I struggle with sometimes). Helena, the heroine, appeared as a minor character in my first Regency novel with Love Inspired Historical, The Reluctant Guardian (Helena is the cousin of the hero from that book). Her role is tiny in that story, but she comes across as cold and judgmental. One day I realized why she was the way she was, and my heart broke for her. I was honored to write about her overcoming her difficulties and stepping into her new identity in Christ. 

It sounds like a wonderful basis for a story. I'm glad you decided to tell it. Which character was the most challenging to create? Which was the easiest? 

In some ways, Louisa was both the easiest and most challenging to write. She is five years old, her personality, perspectives, and attachments (in this case, Tabitha, a sticky doll in need of a good bath), were fun to explore. 

Louisa is also blind, and I wanted to write about her blindness as accurately as possible. I researched blindness in the Georgian era—a time before Braille or much in the way of education or institutions to assist individuals or families. At the beginning of the story, Louisa is treated more like a doll or a baby than a little girl, which was not necessarily out of place for the times—although Louisa’s situation was heightened by her mother’s fears for her. 


I was blessed to ask a few authors with experience in the area of blindness and education for their advice: Laurie Alice Eakes and Kathleen Fuller. They graciously answered my questions, but any errors in the book are mine alone. 

It's interesting to learn how the sight impaired were treated back then. Society has made tremendous strides, hasn't it? Was any additional special research necessary for the story? 

In addition to learning about blindness (then and now), I spent time researching the Peterloo massacre of 1819 (when people in Manchester demanded better representation in Parliament), the death of King George III, and how peerage worked in Scotland during the Regency. My hero, John, is a Lord of Parliament, a Scottish title that, despite its name, doesn’t necessarily serve in Parliament. One of my favorite things to research, no matter the story, is the fashion of the times, and this was no exception! 

That detail about Parliament surprised me as well. I had no idea. And the Peterloo event, how terrible was that? I learned a lot from reading John's and Helena's story. So, what's next on the horizon for you? 

At this moment I’m working hard on proposals! However, I do have two novellas coming from Barbour this year. In April, my story First Things First will appear in First Loves Forever, and the heroine in that story, Georgie Bridge, first made her appearance in For a Song from The Cowboy’s Bride Collection! In the autumn, I’m thrilled to have a Christmas story out: Star of Wonder in Victorian Christmas Brides. Both stories are set in the 1870s: the first in Texas and the second in England!

I remember Georgie! Will look forward to reading about her story soon. Sounds like you've been super busy writing and editing these past months. Appreciate you stopping by this week. May you enjoy great success with all your books! :)

Thank you for having me, Karen! 


My Review of A Mother for His Family 

It’s July 1819, and Lady Helena Stanhope has a dilemma. Due to an interesting set of circumstances, her reputation is questionable at best. Her parents wish to remove her from society to avoid further scandal, so they arrange a marriage between her and a Scottish Lord of Parliament. John Gordon is a widower in need of a mother for his four children. With his busy schedule, he’s looking forward to having a responsible young woman assume the duties of caring for his family. 

Helena and John marry and become acquainted within the boundaries of friendship. They hit a few bumps in the road, but begin to earn each other’s trust. The children – twin boys, a blind little girl, and an orphaned niece provide ample mischief, which often complicates Helena’s and John’s growing relationship.

As if four busy children aren’t enough to test the newlyweds’ mettle, the author throws a little blackmail and a series of robberies into the mix. This isn’t your typical marriage of convenience story. The twists and turns are intriguing and entertaining. It was enlightening to watch the main characters evolve and work through the hardships and events thrown their way. The result is a captivating story that will make you stay up way too late because you just can’t put the book down. (This may or may not have happened to me.) 

Susanne Dietze is a wonderful storyteller, and has written another captivating and heartwarming tale. Helena learns that she is loved, and that God’s redeeming power can restore what’s been lost. I was challenged and able to identify with some of the main characters' inner struggles, and found myself considering my attitude and actions lately.  This delightful story will appeal to historical and other fiction fans, as well as anyone who loves a happy ending.

Find Susanne

Website
Books
Blog
Facebook
Twitter  - @SusanneDietze


What is your favorite genre to read in winter? Do you have any questions for Susanne? What type of research do you conduct for your writing?

Happy writing,

Karen

23 comments :

  1. Congrats to Susanne on her new book. Sounds like a great story with the mix of a marriage of convenience and having the main character dealing with being blind. Interesting time period that Susanne picked too. Thanks for a great interview, Karen.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Natalie! I love Marriage of convenience stories, and I was so honored to write one! Caring for a blind child in that day and age was far different than today.

      I appreciate you coming by to say hi today. Have a great week!

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  2. You don't see many blind characters, especially a child. I imagine blind people were treated very differently back then.

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    1. Hi Alex! After my research, I realized how I've taken so many things for granted, like Braille, which wasn't invented until the 1820s (I think...need to double check.). It's not in the book but of course Louisa will grow up and be able to read books using Braille!

      Thank you so much for coming by. Have a great week!

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  3. Your review of Susanne's book makes me anxious to read it,Karen! And thank you for your insights, Susanne. It's always interesting to know how a fellow writer develops her characters.

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    1. Hi Susan! I enjoy learning how other authors do things, too. I learn so much!

      Have a great week.

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  4. Natalie,
    You are welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming by to see us. :)

    Alex,
    This is true, and it was interesting to read about it in her book. Appreciate you coming by! :)

    Susan,
    Glad you enjoyed the interview. Hope you enjoy the book too! :)

    Susie,
    It's always a pleasure to have you visit. :) Thanks for coming by this week!

    Happy reading and writing,
    Karen

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    1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Karen!

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  5. How interesting to include a blind child character. Using informants with first-hand experience was a great idea. Congratulations on writing the book you always want to write.

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    1. Thank you so much! It was a joy to write this book for many reasons, and I'll always be grateful for the chance.

      Have a great week.

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  6. Congrats Susanne. I do love historical settings.

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    1. I love them, too! The world around us is so rich in history!

      Thanks for coming by.

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  7. Even in later times blindness was treated differently. Think of what Helen Keller went through before being taught sign language by touch.

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    1. Great point, Diane! I'm glad for every step society has taken toward improving lives.

      Thank you so much for saying hi!

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  8. Lee,
    There were several interesting elements that Susie included in this story. It was a great read. :) Thanks for stopping by!

    Holly,
    Appreciate you coming by! :) Susie nailed the historical elements.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  9. Diane,
    This is true. There were so many misconceptions, weren't there? I'm so glad that there's been such great progress.
    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  10. This sounds like a yummy read with a bowl of popcorn on a snowy night! Thanks for sharing, Karen.

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    1. Love it! Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!

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  11. Your book sounds intriguing. I wish you well with it.

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    1. Thank you so much, quietspirit! Blessings!

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  12. Jen,
    You are exactly right! This book would be perfect for that. I highly recommend you doing so. :)

    Cecelia,
    It is intriguing! And a very good story. You just might like it. :)

    Happy reading and writing,
    Karen

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  13. A Mother for His Family sounds like a heart-warming read. I love the way you did research for your characters and your story background.

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  14. Hi Karen and Suzanne! I think it's fascinating that you do all that research for your books. That brings so much authenticity to the story. I bet its fun to think about how your characters would react to the doings of the time.
    And I also enjoyed learning how you developed a character from one of your earlier books. You caught a glimpse of what she was really like. What a moment that must have been!
    Best of blessings on your many, many projects!
    Ceil

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!