Sometimes family can meddle in the unsuspecting, unmarried, near to be spinster’s life, and Charlotte Withersby is just about to find that out. This lady is a knowledgeable botanist who assists her father. She’d love to be published concerning her findings, but has been hindered because she is female. The males in 1852 generally will not take a woman—even one so accomplished—seriously. Her uncle, the retied Admiral, has plans to wed her into what he feels is a purposeful life. When help for her absentminded father shows up at their door, Charlotte plans to get rid of him, this Edward Trimble who is so willing and available to steal her job. So of course—the struggle begins!
This story is full of Siri Mitchell’s charm and humor and undeniable conflict that I’ve always come to enjoy with her novels. This is an author who knows how to put a story together and keep me engaged in the characters as the plot unfolds! I highly recommend this for your summer reading! You can imagine the fragrance of blossoms on and off the page in that way! Siri Mitchell is a definite favorite of mine, whether you explore her stories via a purchase or the library with electronic device or hold in your hand book, I wish you a happy adventure.
QUESTIONS FOR SIRI:
1) How did you stumble on the idea of a woman botanist? I’m so glad that you did!
My public library system has a huge used book sale in the spring and fall. When I write historicals, I go with a list of topics or eras that I hope to find information on. Regardless of what I plan, I always come home with hitchhikers – books that call to me from the shelves for no apparent reason. The funny thing is that they usually come in handy one or two manuscripts down the road because they turn out to be directly relevant to my stories. Somehow my subconscious knows before I do what books I’ll be writing in the future. Women of Flowers by Jack Kramer was one of those books. It has beautiful botanical illustrations by thirty women that were created between the 17th and 19th centuries. The women’s stories are even more interesting. Time after time, they had to publish under male names or sell their work to male editors who compiled collections of botanical illustrations in order to be published. It was outrageous. It was from this outrage that the idea for Like a Flower in Bloom was born.
2) Where do you like to write your novels?
I usually write in my office. It’s quiet there and I don’t have to load everything up and spend time driving in order to get anywhere else. For me, home is always best. :)
And how: pen and paper, in a busy café, quiet study or in front of the television? I write in various ways during different parts of the writing process. As I first think about an idea, I use a Michael Hauge template to make sure my basic elements are in place (character, conflict, tension, goal). I usually go to paper and pen after that to play around with ideas and map out scenes. I use an oversized tablet in the portrait position to think about themes and descriptive words to define and elaborate on it. As I think about plot, I like to write on the tablet set in landscape position. Then, as I think about actual scenes, I have an excel spreadsheet that I print out and use a pencil to fill in. Finally, once I’m ready to start writing, I sit down at the keyboard. At various times during the process, I’ll return to the Excel spreadsheet. I’ll erase some entries or even print out the template again and pencil in a whole new version.
3) What is your favorite flower and did you include it in this novel?
I am partial to white roses. I always have been. Roses have such beautiful structure they don’t need a lot of color to dress them up. On the other hand, I also love iris. ‘Iris’ is my name spelled backwards but I also love their vibrant colors. Alas, I don’t think I used either of those in the book. Mostly because I was focused on what would have been native to England (or New Zealand) at the time.
4) What message do you wish to share with your reader from a theme in “like a FLOWER in BLOOM?
Be who you are. Own it. Because the chances of you being able to be someone else? Zero. Allow others the privilege of being themselves too.
5) What is your strongest talent as a writer: organization, plotting, or character development? (Frankly, I think you are strong on all counts!)
Thank you so much! I would say that my natural strength lies in character development. I’ve worked hard to get my plotting and pacing up to speed over the years.
6) Where can your readers find you?