Catherine Brakefield is a published author of two non-fictional history books, and two inspirational historical romances, The Wind of Destiny and Wilted Dandelions. She has free-lanced for numerous newspapers and magazine publications. She has had many short stories published. A few are: CrossRiver’s The Benefit Package and God’s Promises scheduled for fall 2016 publication. Revell’s The Dog Next Door, and The Horse of my Heart scheduled for early October, 2015.
Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband, Edward, of forty years and her Arabian horses. Her children are grown and married. She and Edward are blessed with three grandchildren.
Cathy, it’s great to have you at Novel PASTimes today! Could you share with us some of the surprises you’ve encountered along the road to publishing?
First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me. I feel so very blessed and honored to be here and I pray there is something for everyone in my answers.
Now back to your question. I think the most surprising part of publishing road is how long it takes to get to the end! I never knew that so much went into the publishing process. It took a year from signing the contract and then the process of book covers, endorsements, edits and more edits before the proof is complete. Yet, I must admit, looking back, it seems a blur. I really still cannot believe Wilted Dandelions is out!
Please tell us something about your latest novel, Wilted Dandelions.
Wilted Dandelions begins in April, 1837, during the high peak of America’s Second Great Awakening, when tent revivals sprang up like mushrooms, and preachers would preach sometimes for three days nonstop.
Spinster Rachael Rothburn is stirred by what she feels and believes God wants her to become a missionary in the west. She is determined to share the love she felt when she accepted Jesus as her Savior and after hearing Reverend McCray talk about the Native Americans of the Rocky Mountain region, she sends her letter to the missionary alliance asking to be one of the missionaries going west.
Then she learns that the missionary alliance will only allow married couples. Well, there are no suitors knocking on her door and Rachael’s dreams look impossible to fulfill! When Jonathan Wheaton, another missionary hopeful learns of the restrictions, he is desperate to find a wife. So he offers Rachael a marriage of convenience.
She is forced to agree to a loveless marriage with a man she only just met. She receives Jonathan’s proposal through her father! Rachael and Jonathan sets off for Oregon to share Jesus with the Native Americans. They battle sickness, raging rivers, hostile Indians and treacherous mountain passes. After Rachael escapes from a Native American, Rachael discovers she’d grown to trust and love Jonathan. But she wasn’t sure how he felt. She comes to realize the deep, depth of God’s love. That it wasn’t just a coincidence that Jonathan came along when he did. No, an almighty and loving God doesn’t create coincidences—He designs possibilities.
What drew you to set Wilted Dandelions during the second Great Awakening in our country’s history?
Because the Second Great Awakening was God inspired, starting in a little town called Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1802. Then in 1803, France decides to sell the United States of America all the land they owned west of the Mississippi River. This treaty was known as the Louisiana Purchase and this purchase doubled the size of the United States. Was it just a coincidence that the Second Great Awakening started in America one year before the Louisiana Purchase? I do not believe so; I believe it was Divine Intervention. God was directing this country established “Under God” to becoming the great evangelistic hub for the entire world.
This Great Awakening brought the missionaries willing to sacrifice their wealth and lives to travel through the unknown in order to save the souls of those Native Americans living in darkness. It was here, at one tent revival with the odors of perspiring bodies and moldy canvas, the Bible thumping preacher caused such echoing cries that Spinster Rachael Rothburn found meaning for her quintessential life kneeling in the dirt floor, asking Christ’s forgiveness. You know Rachael was a regular church participant, yet she had never felt the Holy Spirit in her brick and mortar church like she felt the Holy Spirit in that smelly tent.
Have you found that similar themes throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?
Yes, now that I think about it, everything is “Christ” based. I guess that is why I am happy to live in the United States. I remember in elementary school, and this was a public school, every morning we would sing, God Bless America and recite the “Pledge of Allegiance”. In music class we would learn: “My Country Tis of Thee” We would learn and sing every stanza and the last one was my favorite; “Our fathers' God, to thee, author of liberty, to thee we sing; long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light; protect us by thy might, great God, our King.”
What drew you to writing historical novels?
I think our American history is fancinating. My two history books are about the small towns in my region and my first historical romance is about the south. I especially like to read or purchase old history books. The older the better. It is amazing how much “God” and “Family” is mentioned in these treasures of America’s past.
What do you consider the best resources for historical research?
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