The End of Summer Birthday Bash has begun! Today Olivia Newport is joining us with an interview and giveaway! I love her Avenue of Dreams series and definitely recommend it. :)
I’ve lived in various states, but Illinois is the place of my family roots. After 17 years in Colorado with no thought of moving, I’m sure my young adult children think of this state as the place of their family roots. No two writers take the same road to publication. For me, I’ve had various jobs that gave me the opportunity to use my natural wordsmithing tendencies and taught me a lot about understanding the target reader, purpose of writing, and taking care with words, even though I was not writing fiction. Like most writers, I have manuscripts in the closet that will never see publication—and probably shouldn’t. Then several years ago the project that became the Avenue of Dreams clicked into place.
What is your Avenue of Dreams series about? Will there be more after The Invention of Sarah Cummings or will that be the end of the series?
The Avenue of Dreams series is about three young women in Chicago in the 1890s who struggle to be able to choose their own futures. They come to their circumstances by widely divergent roads, but what they all seek is finding meaning in their lives. Lucy Banning (The Pursuit of Lucy Banning) is a privileged daughter of wealth, but society tries to put her in a box that squeezes the life out of her. Charlotte Farrow (The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow) arrives at the Banning house with a secret that makes it hard for her to trust. And because of the sudden death of her parents Sarah Cummings grows up in an orphanage and then goes into domestic service, a life she detests. Sarah’s story wraps up the series.
What is something the average reader wouldn’t know about you?
In the eighth grade, I was voted “Most Literary.” I guess this business of chasing words around the page goes back a long way. Who knew?
What’s the best and/or worst part about being an author?
Being a published author is a roller coaster ride. My favorite part is when a reader takes time to find me and send me an encouraging message. Until I began publishing novels last year, I never knew how much that would mean to me. Yet it’s still early enough in my fiction career that I feel uncertainty. Will readers like my stories? Will anyone buy them? Will there be another contract? So the mix of ups and downs can wear me out if I’m not careful to keep things in perspective.
Do you have a favorite summer memory?
So many! Emotionally, summer memories bring to mind family vacations, mostly camping. Whether with my family of origin or with my own husband and children, these were always times of adventure and the unexpected—the kind of thing you tell stories about for years or smile about when you see the photos.
What’s your favorite season and why is it your fav?
Fall. I wait all summer for the Virginia creeper growing on my fence to turn gorgeous shades of autumn that I don’t get tired of staring at. By then the cooler temperatures are welcome. I also think that culturally in the United States fall signals the end of the looseness of summer and a return to structure, and deep down I thrive on structure.
If you won the lottery, what are the first three things you’d do?
1. Faint. I presume I won a multi-million dollar jackpot, right?
2. Give. It would be satisfying to be generous with causes and people I care about.
3. Recreate. It would be lovely to have a second home in the mountains and know that it’s waiting for me whenever my soul needs some tending or I just want to get away to write.
Let’s say you’re hosting a party and can invite any ten people, living or dead. Who would you invite?
ould be a weekend destination kind of party because, after all, I just won the lottery.)
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Henri Nouwen said, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” I don’t think joy has anything to do with circumstances. We choose what to fill our hearts with.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate a birthday?
True confession: I’m not really all that great about this. But a shared meal goes a long way toward celebrating anything, it seems to me. Maybe the weekend destination party with my ten best friends can also involve a birthday and a lot of eating!
A few this-or-that questions:
Cake or Cupcakes? Cupcakes! The frosting is usually piled higher.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, hands down.
The Pool or the Beach? Beach. There are so many more sensations to soak up.
Sunbathing or Swimming? Close call, but sunbathing.
Sandals or Sneakers? Sneakers. My cranky feet don’t tolerate sandals well.
Early-bird or Night-owl? Night-owl. I do not get people who get out of bed at 5:00 a.m. when they don’t have to!
Ice Cream or Sorbet? Ice cream. (Though oddly when it comes to ice cream I prefer vanilla over chocolate. Go figure.)
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
A few weeks ago I signed a contract with Barbour Publishing for a series I’m calling Amish Turns of Time. Three stories create composite pictures of critical transitions in Amish history in the 1910s. Each story is set in a true-to-history setting. They all revolve around conflict or challenges that arose in Amish history. As a historical writer, one of my favorite things is to discover something that really happened and put characters on both sides of the conflict. The first story, Wonderful Lonesome, will release in late 2014. It explores the reasons why an Amish settlement on the Colorado plain failed a hundred years ago.
Thank you so much for being here today! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
I blog at www.olivianewport.com. Along with “Lens on Life” entries, the site has information about all my books. I have a Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/OliviaNewport and I’m on Twitter at @OliviaNewport.
Giveaway details: Enter to win a print copy of The Invention of Sarah Cummings, the third and final book in the Avenue of Dreams series. US only. Ends 9/29
How to enter: Sign into the Rafflecopter form below (it might take a moment to load) and click “enter” on each of the entries you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!a Rafflecopter giveaway