Juliet Waldron, Author of “Roan Rose”

What is your book about?

Roan Rose, my newest novel, which was published by Second Wind Publishing, is a story about a peasant girl who becomes a house servant to a royal family. Their wealth and power and their eventual downfall affect her life in unpredictable and sometimes terrible ways.

How long was the idea for the book developing before you wrote the story?

Perhaps four or five years. I’d wanted to write a book about the Wars of Roses since childhood, but was never sure how to approach it, especially as the subject has lately become very popular.

What inspired you to write this story?

My love for the Late Medieval period and my interest in the royals involved. I’d already researched the period pretty thoroughly.

Tell us a little about your characters. Who was your favorite?

The heroine, Rosalba, is my narrator. It is through the lens of her perception we see the events of this tumultuous, barbaric era. As a poor girl, she sees life in the castle in ways her masters do not. As a peasant woman in the 15th Century, Rosalba has a mostly insurmountable set of challenges, but she is bright and resourceful. Occasionally her emotions keep her from making the best choices, but she is always courageous and not afraid to act.

How long did it take to write Roan Rose?

About three years, which is fast for me. One thing about writing a historical based upon the lives of real people is that the plotting is done in advance. I don’t think a historical writer should alter facts to pretty up—or tidy up—a story.

What do you want people to take with them after they finish the story?

I’d like them to know a little more about history and about the historical characters involved, of course. In this case, I’d like them to think about women’s lives, and how perceptions of women have changed in 600 years—and how, in many ways, they haven’t changed at all. Limitations placed upon women simply because they are women are present the world over. In positive and in negative ways, biology is still destiny.

How has your background influenced your writing?

My mom was an Anglophile who loved to travel.  I spent my teens in Cornwall and in Barbados. An English education reinforced my interest in the UK and Her history. (She is called “Britannia” after all.) I read Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, which is a classic mystery novel about the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, before puberty. As I was nerd child who had crushes on historical figures, the idea of an unjustly accused King whose name had been blackened by the real perpetrator was appealing. My interest in this Wars of Roses story resurrected during my writing years. Somehow, I felt I “owed” the Middle Ages a book. Roan Rose is my take on what is becoming a favorite ground for novelists.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a number of words a day?

My schedule, when I’m deep in a story, is ideally all the time. As I’m retired, that’s possible. Otherwise, I don’t push. My muse—and I believe in her/him—goes back out the window when rules are set in concrete. Now, if you are a writer with lucrative contracts and books pending, you are working at a job, and need to punch the clock. Otherwise—my kind of writer sometimes needs to run the vacuum, cook a meal or clean the cat boxes.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve got a creature story in the works. Thank heaven no one is waiting with baited breath, because I don’t have time for creativity just now. Every now and then, I’ll jot down a paragraph or two, just to hold onto the images.

What is the most difficult part of the writing process?

The most difficult part is WRITING. It’s one thing to have those little voices in your head and pretty images of some long-ago world, but it takes the other side of the brain to actually find the words and force them out through the tips of your fingers onto a keyboard. Left side creates; right side organizes and uses logic in order to discriminate, to pick and choose among effects you want your words to make. That takes time and lots of re-reading and re-thinking—commonly known as “editing.”

What do you like to read?

History/non-fiction is my favorite, because that’s where my stories come from. However, I spend a lot of time reading in order to review e-books of all kinds and historical novels through the Historical Novel Society magazine.

What writer influenced you the most?

At the moment, I’d say Cecelia Holland.

What do you think the most influential change in book publishing will come from?

It’s here, and it’s called the internet. The rise of the e-book, after a decade in which problems of software and hardware have been (more or less) sorted, is the best thing that’s happened for readers since the printing press. It gives them far more books to choose from at better prices. Traditional publishing has a long way to go before it can meet the e-book prices of independents or the appetite of e-reading consumers. It’s good for writers because more of us can take a crack at the market than ever before. Perhaps we can find readers in a more direct way than through the strangle point of NYC.

Where can readers learn more about you?

From my website: http://www.julietwaldron.com and Second Wind Publishing.com

Click here to read an excerpt from Roan Rose

The Authors of Second Wind Publishing

I thought a fun way to introduce the authors of Second Wind Publishing, LLC (or at least the ones who wanted to be introduced) would be to have them answer three simple questions so you can see how different authors perceive themselves and their writing. The questions:

1. What is writing like for you?
2. What is the most thrilling thing about getting published?
3. What is the most humbling thing about getting published?

Nancy A. Niles, author of Vendetta:

1. Writing is something that I can’t not do. It’s my best friend, sometimes a pain in the neck, but most times just something that I need to do for my own peace of mind.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the encouragement it has given me to keep writing and keep allowing myself to express more freely and deeper. I think all those rejection slips had an effect on me and now being published is having a strengthening and very positive effect on my writing.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is knowing that for a few hours the people who read my novel will be taken away from their problems and be in my world. It humbles me to know that for just a short time I can give them a little escape from their troubles. It is quite a blessing.

Laura S. Wharton, author of The Pirate’s Bastard:

1. Writing is like exercise. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get up at 4:00 in the morning to begin writing…the warm covers are oh so snuggly. Other times, the adrenalin rush about an aspect of the story-in-process surging through me has me up at 3:00, sitting still for three hours, and then reluctantly stopping so I can prepare myself and family for the work/school day ahead. Like exercise, it has to be done nearly every day to accomplish anything close to completion.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is reading reviews from unknown readers – and seeing that they really loved my story.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing typos after publication of what I thought was an error-free book.

Nichole R. Bennett, author of Ghost Mountain:

1. Writing is in my blood. I don’t mean that I come from a long line of authors, because I don’t. But I have to write. I have to get those words out of my body and onto paper. Some days those words flow and there is no stopping them. Other days I struggle over each and every letter. Either way, writing is something I have to do. Just like eating or breathing.

2. The most thrilling thing is knowing that I am living my dream. Yes, it can be hard, but this is what I want to do and I’m doing it. How many people can truly say they get to live their dream?
3. I’m not sure there’s a humbling moment for me. I knew going in that writing would take some thick skin and hard work. I knew not everyone would like my work or appreciate the time and energy that it took to get where I am. That’s okay. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I have had and that there are people who do like it!

J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings and One Hot January:

1. I haven’t found anything that provides the level of satisfaction writing provides me—the highs of crafting a perfect sentence, of self-discovery and exploring the universal themes of love and loss, dying and death, salvation, redemption, and keeping my parents alive and making them proud.

2. As writers, I think we all believe our work is the greatest since Hemingway, and seeing our work in print is affirmation, a thrill, that our work has merit—even if it isn’t really as good as Hemingway.

3. I find nothing humbling about getting published (I write with publication in mind), save for the process. By the time I receive my first proof copy, I’ve gone over my manuscript a dozen times or more and have probably a half-dozen drafts. An editor has gone over it, found several typos I’ve missed, and made suggestions for changes—some with which I agree, but most I discard. So I find it maddening and, yes, humbling, when I start reading my proof copy and find ways to improve the narrative, to rewrite a passage and, worst of all, I find a typo! I’m a perfectionist, so, yes, it’s humbling to learn I still can improve upon the process.

Eric Beetner, co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head and Borrowed Trouble

1. Writing is lonely and tiring. Even writing as a part of a team like I do with Jennifer is still lonesome. We live on opposite coasts and only communicate through email. I never show anything to anyone for critique. Never let early drafts out to the public. So having her around is also an act of real trust. We show each other our naked first drafts and still expect that we’ll respect each other in the morning.

2. I find that it is too easy to only hear from a friendly audience of family and friends so the biggest thrill for me is when a total stranger says or writes something good about my writing. I know it is genuine. Being published lets that person have exposure to my work and find something in it that resonates or entertains. That’s why we’re here, right?

3. Oh, brother, what hasn’t been? I’ve had signings at book stores I respect (and where I shop) I’ve been in panel discussions alongside authors I admire. I’ve met writers as an equal – a fellow published author, not just a fan. All that has made me feel grateful beyond words.

DCP_0851-136x150Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday:

1. A few years ago I came back to writing fiction after a self-imposed twelve-year period during which I did not write, and found about twenty ideas of books rattling around in my head. My first official act was to get a notebook and list the novels, outlining them to the degree they had “marinated” in my imagination. For me, writing is getting out of the way and allowing those stories that germinated so long ago to take root, flower and bear fruit.

2. The thrill comes from somebody you don’t personally know buying a book, or seeking you out intentionally at a book signing. It’s also thrilling when someone asks you a question about your story in such a way that you know they have read it with comprehension.

3. A couple things strike me right away. First is the praise I often get from my colleagues. When another writer whose work I admire compliments my work in a way that reveals I’ve accomplished precisely what I set out to do in the story—that is humble. The second thing is when people I know hunt me down and pester me until I get them a copy of one of my books. And sign it to them personally. I’m not accustomed to adulation.

lucy_balch-113x151Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic:

1. Writing is like I’m in a time machine. I can work for hours on a story and it always feels like much less time.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the knowledge that, finally, I’ll have something to show for the five years I’ve put into this obsession. Maybe I haven’t been selfishly squandering huge amounts of time?!

3.The most humbling thing about getting published is the realization that so many good writers have not yet been given the opportunity to publish. Is my book worthy of the privilege? As an unpublished author, I can always tell myself that my book will be well received when given the chance. The reality might be different. I hope not, but it’s a possibility, and once a book bombs there is no going back to the fantasy of it doing well.

jwcomputercatmail2-133x157Juliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride:

1. I write historicals, so writing for me is like entering a time portal—or, sometimes, like stepping out of Dr. Who’s callbox after accidentally pushing the wrong button. I have an idea of what may be there when I first look around, but I often find the world I’ve entered to be surprisingly different from my preconceptions.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting/being published is having someone you don’t know leave a message or write a review that totally “gets” the book. Shows I wasn’t as off-base as I sometimes—in those dark 3 a.m. moments—imagined.

3) The most humbling thing about getting/being published is that we have so much competition, and that there is a great deal of good writing out there. After publication there is the (IMO) far less agreeable marketing to do. The playful creation is now complete.

TracyB_3-134x150Claire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny:

1. For me, writing is a journey. I don’t always know the final destination until I start traveling, but it’s always a rewarding trip.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is when people read what I’ve written and they like it. I write for myself because writing is almost a compulsion for me. Readers enjoying my writing is a bonus.

3. The most humbling thing? All of the work it takes to get the books out and maintain a normal life while still trying to write. I realized pretty quick that I wasn’t superwoman. I’m still trying, but someone keeps standing on my cape.

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies:

1. For me, writing is like being in that space just after you woke up from a dream but you only remember half of the dream and you spend all your waking moments trying to flesh it out.

2. I had some stories to tell and now I feel like they’ll be heard. And it really is thrilling. I feel like I’m white water rafting and I don’t need a boat!

3. I’ll be awed that anyone would take the time to read what I’ve written when they could be doing something more valuable with their time.

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare:

1. I am an entertainer. I don’t write for a cause or to pose my own thoughts or impressions on issues. My only function is to provide a suspense-filled, exciting ride the reader won’t want to stop until they reach the very last word.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is seeing the words I’ve worked so diligently to craft actually in print. If what I present happens to be worthy enough for readers to tell others about Staccato, that’s all I could ask for.

3. Everything about being published is humbling to me. That readers would seek out Staccato, then take the time to escape from their lives for a while, makes me more grateful than anyone could possibly know.

Sherrie_-_book_2-120x154Sherrie Hansen Decker, author of Night and Day, Stormy Weather, and Water Lily:

1. For me, writing is like a dream vacation – a chance to escape the realities of my everyday life and travel to some faraway world where I can see the sights and meet new people.

2. For years, I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would ever read my words. What a wonderful feeling to be writing for readers who are eagerly awaiting my next release!

3. Every time I think I have a perfect draft, I find more errors glaring out from the pages of my proof. Very humbling . . .

Norm2-140x151Norm Brown, author of The Carpet Ride:

1. As a retired computer programmer, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and creating a complex software program. Both processes require an enormous attention to detail. All the little parts have to tie together in a logical way and a good flow is critical. And it’s hard work to get all the “bugs” out of a book, too.

2. The most thrilling thing for me was pulling the first copy of my book out of the box and holding it in my hands. It was exciting to see something that I actually created.

3. The most humbling thing for me about being published was discovering how much I have to learn about promoting my book. I’m still learning.

biopicsmall-136x139Jerrica Knight-Catania, author of A Gentleman Never Tells:

1. Writing for me depends on the day. Some days it’s the most wonderful romp through my dream land and other days it’s like getting a root canal.

2. Knowing that someone else believes in your work enough to put it in print is just about the most thrilling feeling. It’s great to hear friends and family say how much they enjoyed my work, but to have it validated by professionals is a whole ‘nother ball game!

3. I’m not sure I’ve been humbled at all! Haha! But I’ve never really had unrealistic expectations of myself or my work. . . . I’m prepared to correct mistakes and make cuts/edits as needed. I’m just grateful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Lindlae_Parish_photo-129x151Dellani Oakes, Author of Indian Summer and Lone Wolf:

1. Writing is like a discovery process. I start with a beginning line, an idea or even just a character’s name and watch as the characters lead me where they want me to go.

2. I loved the fact that I finally was validated. Someone did think I was worth publishing and I wasn’t just “Wasting time with all that writing.”

3. Humbling? Wow, I think the most humbling – perhaps humiliating – step in the publishing process is all the rejection you get until someone finally says “Yes, we want you!”

Margay_touch_up-129x150Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul:

1. For me, writing is like creating a baby. There is the conception (what a wonderful idea!), the writing/rewriting period (gestation, anyone?) and the birth (I can’t believe it’s finally here!). And then you nurture it for the next couple of years as you slowly introduce it to the public – and hope they don’t think it’s an ugly baby.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the sense of accomplishment when you see it in print for the first time and you discover that people actually like it!

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing the book in print for the first time and realizing that all of those years of struggling, writing, rewriting, submitting – all boil down to this one little book that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Chris2-132x150Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River:

1. Writing is multi-faceted for me. It is a joy, but also pretty hard work at times. I do much of my writing in my mind and when I finally sit down to get it on paper, it often comes out differently. I spend more time mentally forming plots and picturing scenes than I do writing them. I love having a whole day here and there to sit at my computer and concentrate on writing. If I have problems with a scene, I skip ahead to the next one so I don’t get frustrated.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is getting my books out of my house and into readers’ hands–hoping people get some enjoyment reading them.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing mistakes and typos in what I thought was an error-free manuscript!

Amy_12_1-113x151Amy De Trempe, author of Loving Lydia and Pure is the Heart:

1. Writing for me is like unmapped journey, I never know what turns, obstacles or excitement is about to unfold.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is seeing my name on a book cover.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is finding out how supportive and happy my friends and family really are for me.

maggiemed-138x150Mairead Walpole, author of A Love Out of Time:

1. In some ways, writing is a form of therapy. Not from a “work out my issues” standpoint, but rather it allows me to escape from the day to day stresses of the world. I can let the creative, sometimes a little off-beat, imaginative part of my soul off the leash and let it run. Some of my very early writing did dip into the realm of “working out my issues” and those stories will never see the light of day!

2. Can I channel my inner Sallie Fields and run around saying, “They liked it, they really liked it…”? No? Darn. Seriously, I think it is the whole – I did this – aspect. Someone read the book and thought it was worth publishing. That is pretty cool no matter how you cut it.

3. Opening yourself up to criticism, being vulnerable. Sure, you know that not everyone is going to love your book, and intellectually you know that some people will hate it and think you are a hack, but when someone actually expresses that to you it is a whole new experience. It can be very humbling.

IMG_4132-use-115x154Suzette Vaughn, author of Badeaux Knights, Mortals, Gods, and a Muse, and Finding Madelyn:

1. I’m like a humming bird on too much caffine. I write in waves. When the wave hits I can put out several thousand words in an unbelievably small amount of time. Then when I’m not in humming bird mode I edit.

2. The most thrilling is probably the fact that there are people out there that I don’t know that have read my book and liked it. I had the pleasure a few times of meeting them and there is some twinkle in their eye that is amazing.

3. My son is always humbling. I recieved my proofs in the mail and my then seven year old son didn’t fully understand what it meant that I’d written a book. He flips through the pages looking for hand-writting. “I get in trouble when I write in books.”

jjdare-139x150JJ Dare, author of False Positive and False World:

1. Writing is like being in a triathlon for me. I power write for days or weeks at a time, then crash for awhile with the help of Tylenol and chocolate. Writing is a scary, exciting roller-coaster. It is exhilarating and draining, and Iwouldn’t do it any other way.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the very act of being published! Something I wrote is out there, available for anyone to read. Holding the hard copy of my book in my hands gives me the good shivers. The other thrill is the pride in my family’s voices when they introduce me as “The Writer.”

3. The most humbling thing is feeling responsible for the places I take my readers. During the time they’re walking with and living the lives of the characters in my book, my readers are taking the same roller-coaster ride I took to write the

pat-135x150Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I:

1. For me, writing is like the world’s longest crossword puzzle, one that takes a year to complete. I like playing with words, finding their rhythm, and getting them to behave the way I want. I like being able to take those words and create ideas, characters, and emotions.

2. Someday perhaps, I will find the thrill of being published, but to be honest it was anti-climatic. I am more thrilled at the thought of what the future might bring now that my books have been published.

3. I had no intention of answering these questions. After all, I was the one who collated all these mini interviews, but a fellow author said, “This is your party, too. People will tune in because of you. They want to know more about YOU. Don’t cheat your fans and followers.” Now that’s humbling.

Click here to read the first chapters of all Second Wind novels: The Exciting Worlds of Second Wind Books

Karl Joseph Wildbach, hero of Hand-Me-Down Bride by Juliet Waldron

Bertram: Who are you?

Karl: My name is Karl Joseph Wildbach and I’m a younger son of the local miller.

Bertram: Where do you live?

Karl: I live in German’s Mill, PA, but most of the time I wish I didn’t.

Bertram: What is your problem?

Karl: My relationship with my father has always been difficult, but that doesn’t seem as important anymore as getting my peace of mind back after the long years I spent as a Union soldier.

Bertram: Do you run from conflict?

Karl: Well, that’s not a question I’m happy to answer, but I do run—in my case, into the army, and now that I’m back home, all I really want to do is leave again.

Bertram: Do you have a goal?

Karl: To live honestly, to succeed through my own merits and not be beholden to any one.

Bertram: Do you have any skills?

Karl: I was raised to be a farmer, to know about land, crops and animals. I was also taught to balance the mill books, something I surprised myself—and everybody else—by learning to do darn well.

Bertram: What do you want to be?

Karl: A free man, free of my memories, and free of all the obligations my father has tried to wrap me up in.

Bertram: What makes you happy?

Karl: Not much these days, although seeing a field of corn in tassel, or buckwheat in bloom can take me out of myself. A piece of Divine’s blackberry pie and a fresh cup of coffee…

Bertram: What are you afraid of?

Karl: My temper—and of losing it like my father used to.

Bertram: What makes you angry?

Karl: Things that don’t make any sense—which seems to be a lot of the things that make this world go around. People who don’t stand up for themselves make me angry too.

Bertram: What makes you sad?

Karl: Thinking about my mother, who died the night I ran away. If I’d been in the house, maybe I could have saved her.

Bertram: Are you lucky?

Karl: You must be kidding!

Bertram: Who was your first love?

Karl: Well, that would be Miss Dawn McNally, my best friend’s sister.

Bertram: Who is your true love?

Karl: Don’t have an answer for that one yet. Maybe someday, but I’m not ready for a wife just yet.

Bertram: What is your most prized possession?

Karl: My saddlehorse, Buck. He’s a dream to ride, and he’s a looker. It’s vanity, I guess, but I’m always proud to ride him out.

Bertram: Do you have any hobbies?

Karl: Those are for old folks who have time to waste. I’m at work, one way or another, from dawn to dusk, making sure the mill turns a profit, and that’s fine by me.

Bertram: What is your favorite food?

Karl: Chicken pot pie, the way our cook, Divine, makes it. She doesn’t stint on the chicken. Sometimes she puts it all under a good pie crust instead of using noodles, but that’s more for Sunday dinners. When she uses noodles, she’ll balance a big hunk of chicken–white or dark–right on top of the bowl she serves you.

Bertram: Name five items in your purse, briefcase, or pockets.

Karl: Five? Let’s see. I’ve got a handkerchief, a pocket watch and a good sharp folding knife. If I’m riding the fields and ‘susing the crops, I’ll take a notebook and a pencil stub along, but that’s about it.

Bertram: How do you envision your future?

Karl: I’m heading out west to tame some raw land. I’m hoping for the good luck and the good health to make my fortune by the work of my own hands, and to be away from German’s Mill, from everybody who knows me, and start my life fresh.

Bertram: What is your most closely guarded secret?

Karl: Cassie Taylor, the little brown girl who is growing up with the good Reverend Taylor and his wife over in Yellow Springs.

Bertram: How can we learn more about your story?

Karl: Juliet Waldron wrote it down in a book called Hand-Me-Down Bride. You can find it at Second Wind Publishing or Amazon. You can find out about Juliet here.

Sophie Nieman, heroine of Hand-Me-Down Bride by Juliet Waldron

Bertram: What is your name? Who are you?

Sophie: My name is Sophie Neiman, and I’m the second daughter of Albert and Anna Neiman of Osnabruck, in Northern Germany. I have four sisters, one older and two younger.

Bertram: Where do you live?

Sophie: I am an immigrant, and today I live in German’s Mill, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Bertram: Are you the hero of your own story?

Sophie: I’m the heroine.

Bertram: What is your problem in the story?

Sophie: I have many problems, but the biggest is how to help my mother and my sisters back in Germany. They are now very poor, because my Papa died. Although he was an official in the City of Osnabruck, his pension was not enough for us all to live on. My mother works as a governess. My oldest sister, Ursula lives with Uncle Rudolph and cares for him and his household, but he is stingy and unkind. I agreed to travel to America to marry a wealthy older gentleman who wanted a “pure German” bride for a second wife, but the morning after we were married, I awoke to find him dead. Herr Theodore did not include me in his Will, so now I have nowhere to live and no idea of how to support myself.

Bertram: Do you have a problem not mentioned in the story?

Sophie: No. I have many problems to solve, but they are all part of my story.

Bertram: Do you embrace conflict? Do you run from conflict?

Sophie: I would rather avoid conflict, because I was raised to obey those in authority. However, I have my pride and a strong sense of right and wrong. If you treat me unfairly or condescend to me, I will challenge you.

Bertram: How do you see yourself?

Sophie: My family has fallen on hard times, but I am still a lady and a dutiful daughter. I understand that life is not a bed of roses, and that personal sacrifice is often required. I try not to brood or be sorry for myself, although sometimes it is not easy. I try to live by the Golden Rule. Secretly, I am hot-blooded. Falling in love came close to destroying me, so, here in America, I keep a tight rein on my feelings. I don’t trust men.

Bertram: How do your friends see you?

Sophie: As a reserved person who does not easily show her feelings, but who has a kind heart. A church-going Lutheran lady, who, nevertheless, is not afraid to get her hands dirty and work.

Bertram: How do your enemies see you?

Sophie: As a cold opportunist, who agreed to immigrate and marry Herr Theodore strictly for his money.

Bertram: does the author see you?

Sophie: As a proud, brave, and well brought up young woman who is willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill what she sees as her duty to her beloved family back in the old country. Sophie tries to follow through on the obligations she has, but life has a way of throwing her curves she doesn’t expect. She is more adaptable than she gives herself credit for.

Bertram: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

Sophie: Yes.

Bertram: What are your achievements?

Sophie: I can play the piano and sing. (People always seem to enjoy it.) I can sew my own clothes. I have good taste in literature and music. My biggest achievement is that I dared to come to America to marry a man I’d never seen because my family was depending upon me. It might seem desperate, but it was also the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

Bertram: Has anyone ever failed you, betrayed you?

Sophie: Yes, my best friend Lisel and Herr Captain Frederick, back in Osnabruck. They ran off together, although they both knew I was in love with him. My poor friend Lisel paid for her mistake, because Frederick proved to be nothing more than a wicked seducer, who dishonored her and abandoned her. I wish I could help her, but I do not know where she is anymore.

Bertram: Do you keep your promises?

Sophie: Yes.

Bertram: What in your past would you like to forget? Or perhaps something you wish had never happened?

Sophie: Even more than wickedness of Captain Frederick, I would like to wish away the death of my sister, Anna. She had consumption and we managed to find the money to send her to the sanatorium, but she did not recover. She was so young! God has certainly taken her sweet soul to his bosom.

Bertram: Do you like to remember your childhood?

Sophie: Yes! The early part was so happy for our family. We were not rich, but we had a nice apartment and we were respected because Papa was a high clerk in the Osnabruck court. My Papa indulged us all. We went to school and studied music, too. After my studies were done, I could read, all I ever wished to.  We walked in the parks on nice days, and had dinner with friends. Sometimes, we hired a carriage and visited the countryside for picnics. After our Papa died, we lost so much! Our lovely apartment and my piano and the books were the first to go. Some of Papa’s “friends” and their families were no longer in evidence, and we were lonely. Mama found work, and she was so tired and sad all the time, it was almost as if we had lost her, too. Next, my big sister Ursula left us to go work for Uncle Rudy on the other side of the city. That was when I began housekeeping and sewing and looking after my little sisters, Rosemarie and Lizbet. I worked very hard so that my mother would not have to come home and feel that things were not well-taken care of.

Bertram: What is your most closely guarded secret?

Sophie: How close I came to running away with Captain Frederick myself. My days and nights were full of dreams of him, of yielding to his passion, but somehow, even though he asked me to come away with him, thinking of my mother and my sisters—of my father and what he would have thought—kept me from doing so. If I were more impulsive, I might have ended up like Lisel, disgraced and lost. Deep in my heart I know I am not more moral than my friend, only more cautious.

Bertram: What is your favorite scent?

Sophie: I think it is the honeysuckle. I blush to admit it, because honeysuckle grows all over the front porch at the millhouse, where my husband used to sit with me while we were courting.

Bertram: What is your favorite color?

Sophie: Green, because that is a color we didn’t see much of in the poor neighborhood we lived in after Papa died. Here, in German’s Mill, there is so much green! So many beautiful trees, like the big Linden trees next to our house, or the poplars which line the roads, or the sycamores down by the river! All the fields are a bright sunny green in the springtime. Also, I love the fine Philadelphia green linen dress my Aunt Ilga bought me to wear.

Bertram: What is your favorite music?

Sophie: I love Bach most of all. His music speaks to my soul and quiets all my sad and stormy thoughts. I wish I played better, so that I could play more of his music. Herr Schwann, at our church, has been giving me lessons, but we are all so very busy all day here, and so very tired at night, it is hard to always practice.

Bertram: What is your favorite hobby?

Sophie: I am learning to ride a horse, one which my dearest Karl Joseph has purchased for me. I never could have imagined having such a privilege, and it is the greatest fun to ride her out into the countryside. Her name is Polly, and she is gentle and sweet-natured. I love to go to the stable and brush her. I feel like pinching myself every time I see her there, munching her hay. I can hardly believe that such a fine creature is mine!

Bertram: What is your favorite food?

Sophie: I love chicken with dumplings, and have learned to make them from the best cook in all America, the woman who cooks for us at the millhouse, Mrs. Divine Daniels. She also makes the very best cherry dampfnudeln (sweet dumplings with cherry sauce) I have ever tasted, either here or in Osnabruck.   

Bertram: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

Sophie: I wish everyone would be kind to each other, that they would not judge each other before they really know them. So much unhappiness and sorrow could be avoided if we would all give each other the benefit of the doubt, if we would not condemn others just for preconceptions we have about them. I have learned this only through experience.

Bertram: How do you envision your future?

Sophie: I hope that my birth family will be with me again, right here in America. As much, or possibly more, I also hope that I and my dearest husband will live happily ever after, right here in German’s Mill, Pennsylvania. If you’re interested in finding out more about me, Juliet Waldron told my story in Hand-me-Down Bride.