THE POCKET WATCH by Kathleen Rouser
Isabel Jones, an orphan, receives a ruby ring from the mother she never knew . . . a lost pocket watch ties her to Daniel Harper, the doctor who saved her life. He doesn’t realize the importance of redeeming time until she almost dies during an influenza epidemic. Will he be compelled to help her find her lost past?
Questions for Kathy:
Kathy, your novella, THE POCKET WATCH, is part of the anthology Brave New Century. Whether the turn of the 19th or 20th or now the 21st each century, with all its changes, asks each one of us to be brave. How are your characters braving changes?
Thank you for having me on your blog this week, Elaine. It’s a blessing to be here.
People living at the dawn of the 20th century had some particular changes to brave, especially women. Women’s suffrage became a mass movement, for one. Middle class women were still considered the guardians of morality in society and the home. They had begun to affect change through organizations like The Women’s Christian Temperance Union. The automobile was still a new mode of transportation. Electric lighting began to replace gas lighting in homes.
Despite all of these exciting changes, my heroine, Isabel Jones, is facing something else. She has been raised in an orphanage and wants to know who her birth parents are. When she is given a ruby ring that her mother left for her, knowing her past becomes even more important to her.
Like many young women of the day, her world is small and protected. She aspires to one day marry and have a home of her own. She’s content to stay and help with the care of the younger orphans, but the director of the Protestant Orphan Asylum of Detroit has bigger things in mind for her. Mrs. Pleasance finds Isabel a position as a companion to an invalid. Leaving the orphanage each day to face the world and meet new people stretches Isabel to grow and change.
The hero, Dr. Daniel Harper, is charmed by Isabel, when he rescues her from an oncoming automobile. But he’s been betrayed and heartbroken before. He would rather bury himself in charitable work than risk that again. When a lost pocket watch ties them together and they both are caught up in caring for the orphans during an influenza epidemic, Daniel must decide whether to help Isabel find her family.
|Kathy & husband Jack|
Does Kathy, the wife and mom, brave things differently than the author Kathy? Any “secret weapon” up your sleeve?
I’ve found that no matter what area of life, career or personal, the best thing to do is cling to the Lord. I need to spend time in the Bible and pray for His help and strength often. I don’t subscribe by the adage that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. He allows us to experience things that we can’t handle, so that we cling closer to Him. I guess that’s my secret weapon!
What is it about reading and writing about historical time periods fascinates you the most?
There’s just something about period clothing and genteel manners that seems more romantic to me. (Think Jane Austen’s novels or Lucy Maud Montgomery.) It fascinates me to think about how people, just like you and me, lived without modern conveniences, and how their decisions are influenced by their times. They often had more obstacles to overcome than we do, but had full, though often shorter lives.
Exploring those differences and putting characters in a historical setting allows me to escape as I write. I hope it would also give readers a chance to enjoy a slice of life in another time period.
How do you believe your contemporary readers will relate to your stories set in yesteryear? Any common denominators of the two eras?
Despite the difference in time periods and changes in societal values, people are people. We often have the same goals as our predecessors: Safety, food, a home, peace, happy marriages, good family relationships and friendships. And of course there is the spiritual element. We all have that longing for the eternal, for a relationship with God, available only through His son, Jesus, because we are eternal beings and long to be part of something beyond ourselves.
I would hope that as readers see my characters facing challenges and learning how to trust God, they would be encouraged to apply the same thing to their lives.
Please share with us the highlights of working with your small press, Prism Book Group.
The nice thing about working with a small press like Prism Book Group is that they are open to new authors and different kinds of stories. The editors make sure their authors are networked through an email group and Facebook page, so that they can help promote one another.
Our acquisitions editor, Susan Baganz, has been delightful to work with. Owner/editor, Joan Alley, designs the covers and gives authors input on the decisions being made over them. It’s been a fun process.
|Lilybits sharing Kathy's office|
Any tips for working in collaboration with other authors?
The days of the Internet and email makes working with authors who are many miles apart much easier than it was in the past. When Lisa was looking for people to contribute to an anthology of romances set in urban areas in 1900, I figured this was a good match for me. This was the era I had set a full-length novel in. I had also done some research on the city of Detroit for it.
It turned out that each of our heroines were orphaned or abandoned before or during the beginning of their story, unbeknownst to me. That had to be orchestrated by the Lord, I’m sure! Attempting to follow His leading, prayer with writing, being flexible on decisions about the manuscript can all help authors work together. I have been very thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with Lisa Lickel, Paula Mowery and Teena Stewart. It’s been a great experience. The people make a big difference.
You’re also now represented by a fabulous agent, Linda Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency. Is obtaining an agent truly a must for the pre-published author?
Linda is wonderful. Her clients know she’s in their corner.
I didn’t feel ready to look for an agent until an editor had asked for my full manuscript. Options for pre-published writers are growing with the new smaller publishing houses starting out. However, an agent is wonderful for opening doors, which are otherwise closed, except at conference appointments. Write, keep honing your craft and don’t worry if it takes awhile to find the right agent.
Would you like to share with us on your current work in progress?
Sure. I’m currently working on the second novel in my “Hearts of Stone Creek” series, with the working title, A Good Medicine. Here’s the blurb: A widow and a pharmacist find a remedy for their lonely hearts comes from where they least expected.
It’s a historical romance set early in the 1900s. Maggie Galloway and Thomas Harper meet after their sons’ wind up in a fistfight. Since Maggie and Thomas are opposites, contentions arise between the two, before they turn to sparks!
As an aside, Thomas is the older brother of Daniel Harper, the hero in The Pocket Watch. Maggie is the sister of the male protagonist in the first novel in the series, As Rumor Would Have It, Ian McCormick.
I’ve also been working on a biblical novel dealing with both the birth and adoptive mothers of Moses.
Is there a certain passion/issue you’re longing to write about or a genre you’d like to try?
One of our pastors once mentioned a book, Under the Overpass, by Mike Yankoski, in a sermon. The author and a friend had decided to be intentionally homeless for a time, so they could understand the experiences of the homeless. They developed great compassion for these people, seeing Jesus in them.
I read the book and researched what circumstances could lead to a young man becoming genuinely homeless. I came up with an outline for a contemporary women’s fiction with a hero who is a homeless veteran. It is a heartbreaking issue for some veterans as they deal with PTSD, substance abuse and unemployment. I’m hoping to eventually be able to further develop that manuscript.
And, a bonus question for you, Kathy: What would you like to ask your future readers and fans?
What issues would you like to see portrayed in works of fiction?
Thank you again, Elaine, for interviewing me.
Kathy's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Love #HistoricalFiction? See how it comes alive for author Kathy Rouser. (Tweet This)
Tricks author Kathy Rouser, of THE POCKET WATCH, uses to bridge the past to present. (Tweet This)
Author Kathy Rouser shares author-collaboration tips. (Tweet This)
Everyone has a story: Kathy Rouser shares her publication story. (Tweet This)
Kathleen Rouser has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. Kathleen’s debut novella, The Pocket Watch, part of the anthology, Brave New Century, will be published by Prism Book Group this November.
She studied communications and English during her first college years and recently graduated with an Applied Science degree. Kathleen has been published in Homeschool Digest and An Encouraging Word magazines. She currently enjoys writing devotional articles for a local women’s ministry newsletter and interviewing authors for the Novel PASTimes historical fiction blog. Her desire is to bring to life endearing characters, who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives.
During a long career as a home school instructor, she reared three sons, with her husband. Along with her sassy tail-less cat, she lives in southeast Michigan with her hero and husband of 31 years, Jack, who not only listens to her stories, but also cooks for her.
Find Kathy At:
Writing, Whimsy and Devotion (personal blog)
Novel Pastimes (co-blog)