Welcome to the next stop on the A Violet Season Blog Tour. The tour is hosted by Tribute Books and can be followed right HERE. A Violet Season is written by Kathy Leonard Czepiel.
Kathy Leonard Czepiel's Bio:
Kathy Leonard Czepiel is the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and teaches writing at Quinnipiac University. Her short fiction has been published in numerous journals including Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, Calyx, Confrontation, and The Pinch. A native of New York State’s mid-Hudson Valley, she now lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
OUaT: What attracted you to write historical romance?
I didn’t set out to write in a particular genre. What I was really drawn to was writing about the lost violet-growing industry in the area where I grew up, the beautiful Mid-Hudson River Valley. The violet industry was booming at the turn of the 20th century, so my novel had to be historical. As for romance, every good novel should include a love story, right?
OUaT: Is there a favorite time period you would be interested in traveling back in time to, if you could?
I think life is pretty good for us today, so I wouldn’t want to live in another time! But I would love to be invited to a lavish 19th-century party in Newport or stop over in the 1930s to go swing dancing to the great big bands, especially the Duke Ellington orchestra.
OUaT: How much research went into or goes into writing historical novels?
I did a lot of research for A Violet Season. Not much has been written about violet farming, so I went straight to the source. I visited a farmer in the Hudson Valley whose family used to grow violets and who still grows one bed of them himself, though his business is now in anemones and Christmas trees. I also relied on a lot of old newspaper clippings and an oral history for details about the violets. I consulted about fifty major sources while writing the novel. That doesn’t include all the quick little online searches I did to pick up a detail here or there. It’s important for a writer of historical fiction to know a lot more than what ends up in the novel. In reading a lot of sources, you pick up on the flavor, the mood, the tone of the period as well as lots of little details that lend authenticity to the story, a sense of how people spoke, how they behaved in public, what their values were, and so on.
OUaT: When the idea of A Violet Season came to you, did you know you would have a message in your story for the readers to capture?
I didn’t have a particular message in mind, though at different times I thought I was writing a novel about forgiveness, or about preserving a lost piece of my hometown’s history, or about women’s work. One of the great things about any text is that every reader takes something a little bit different from it, based on her own experiences and her own view of the world. I would be interested to hear what my readers think the message of the novel is, since I’m sure their answers would all be different!
OUaT: Tell us about current work or future ideas?
I’m working on my second novel, which is set in 1929 and post-World War II. This one was inspired by the story of the building of my grandparents’ house, but of course it is taking on a life of its own. I’m thinking I need to work in some swing dancing, too!
A Violet Season
Author: Kathy Leonard Czepiel
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Released: July 10th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Available: Amazon•Barnes & Noble•IndieBound
Summary: (from Tribute Books) A mother’s choices in a time of crisis threaten the one person she means to protect—her only daughter—and force her to make the boldest move of her life.
The violet industry is booming in 1898, and a Hudson Valley farm owned by the Fletcher family is turning a generous profit for its two oldest brothers. But Ida Fletcher, married to the black sheep youngest brother, has taken up wet nursing to help pay the bills, and her daughter, Alice, has left school to work. As they risk losing their share of the farm, the two women make increasingly great sacrifices for their family’s survival, sacrifices that will set them against one another in a lifelong struggle for honesty and forgiveness. Vivid and compelling, A Violet Season is the story of an unforgettable mother-daughter journey in a time when women were just waking to their own power and independence.