By Deena Adams
Please help me welcome author, Izzy James to the blog this week. Izzy is a fellow ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) member and is also part of the Virginia chapter, which is where I met her online in 2020.
She writes historical romance and has offered a digital copy of her recent release, The Dollmaker’s Daughter, to one reader who comments on this post by July 20.
Welcome Izzy! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I am married to the best man I’ve ever known. We just celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary. We have three children and two grandchildren. My husband is getting ready to retire, so we have recently bought a new house and are transitioning to it from the house we’ve lived in for the past 22 years. It’s an amazingly complicated process, but we are thankful and blessed to be moving into the next phase of our lives.
Congratulations on thirty years! Do you have hobbies you enjoy? What do you do for fun?
Oh, yes. I spin, knit, and sew. Oh, and I READ! All the time. I read all the time.
For an avid reader, I know this is a hard question, but who is your favorite fiction author?
Of course, this changes from time to time. My favorite of the last couple of years is Regina Scott. Her romances are just a delight. I got started on them about five years ago and I’ve read every one. There is not one of those books that I didn’t like. I started with The Unflappable Miss Fairchild, although I also really loved My True Love Gave to Me.
Now that we’ve gotten to know a little about you, let’s jump into talking about your writing. How and when did you start?
I started writing when I was still in elementary school. The first things I wrote were adaptations of fairy tales for classroom plays, and of course, The Christmas Play.
In Junior High School and High School, a couple of friends and I used to trade the stories we’d written based on our favorite television shows.
How fun! I know you write historical novels. What time period are they set in?
Generally, around the time of the American War for Independence.
What inspired you to write historical fiction for that specific time in history?
I aways say I grew up in coastal Virginia. And I did, a couple of blocks from the Chesapeake Bay, but I also grew up in historical Virginia. Thirty minutes from Yorktown and Williamsburg, ten minutes from the Battle of Great Bridge. The streets I travel everyday are the imprints that George Washington or George Whitfield would have traveled when they visited Virginia.
I love historical romance, especially Regencies, but I found I didn’t imagine England very well. When I started researching The Shopkeeper’s Widow I found that I could relate very well to the people that lived here, in Virginia, in the eighteenth century.
They were not so different from us and their society was a bit more messy than that of England at the time. Though I think it could be argued that life has always been messy! So my imagination has found a home in eighteenth century Virginia. Although lately it has been making plans to take the Wilderness Road to Kentucky!
Yes, life has always been messy, which means people need hope! How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?
The underlying premise of my books is that the world is a supernatural place. That God is real and He is working around us all the time, and that the age of miracles is not past.
Because my characters inhabit a world based on this premise, they too believe. Of course, that does not mean they are all knowing and miraculously glide through life, but it does mean they have a foundation that keeps them from complete despair, even if they have to be reminded occasionally.
I think we all need to be reminded of that at times. How long do you spend on research before you begin writing the book?
It depends on the book. The Shopkeeper’s Widow took several years, but that was because the details of era were completely new to me. It’s one thing to visit museums and get a flavor of the time period. It’s something else to make it alive in your imagination.
Since 1770’s Virginia is an area that I am more widely read in now, I generally only have to research very specific topics. The Dollmaker’s Daughter took a couple of months. My Yorktown Time Travel series took a couple of months as well to reconstruct Yorktown as it may have looked like in 1769.
Congratulations on your release of The Dollmaker’s Daughter! What do you hope your readers take away from the book?
It’s easy to fall into the idea that something outside of God can bring you luck or good fortune. But the truth is, it is God at work in our lives to bring about the abundance and peace that we need.
Amen! Which character in the book was easiest for you to write and why?
This time Simon was the easiest to write. He sprung to me a complete character. I could, and still can, imagine immediately what he will do just like a real person.
What’s next from you?
The Dollmaker’s Daughter is about Amity Archer. Those of you who read The Shopkeeper’s Widow will remember Amity’s brother Field Archer. Field becomes reacquainted with Delany Fleet when he arrives at her shop bearing a gift of new doll clothes for an old childhood doll.
Field is surprised and a little scandalized to find that his mother, Ann Archer, is supplying Delany with dolls and other toys to sell in her toy store. Ann’s unconventionality is inherited by her daughter Amity, though it manifests in a different way.
The next book is tentatively titled The Woodcarver’s Granddaughter. It is Ann Wrights story. I thought it could be called “The Dollmaker”, but my editor thought it would be too confusing to readers. It takes place at a Christmas house party in 1740.
Sounds interesting! Besides posting comments on your website, how can your readers and fans support you?
By asking your local library to order my books, leaving positive reviews on your store of choice, and telling your friends if you liked my book.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know more about you and your books, Izzy! Thanks so much for the interview. May God continue to bless you as you write for Him.
Join the conversation. Do you enjoy books set in the eighteenth century? Do you live in an area rich in history? If so, where? Do you have any questions for Izzy?
Remember to comment by July 20 for a chance to win a digital copy of Izzy’s book!
The Dollmaker’s Daughter by Izzy James
Click the book cover for a purchase link
Forgetful scientist Simon Morgan lost his chance with Amity Archer ten years ago. He knows there is no hope…until a sea captain trades a meal for an ancient stone reputed to have the power to give him his heart’s desire. Immediately after pocketing the stone, Simon runs into Amity. Did the ancient artifact cause this chance encounter or was it mere coincidence?
Like her favorite travel writer Mrs. Peabody, Amity Archer yearns for adventure, but she’s horrified when her father asks Simon Morgan to escort her on her first real adventure.
With Amity’s Aunt Clementine as a buffer between them, will Simon be able to prove that his love for Amity is real? Can Amity show Simon that her love for him has nothing to do with a so-called magical rock?
Please share Izzy’s interview on social media to help promote her books!
If you missed last week’s interview with Mark Wainwright, find it here.