Kelsey, welcome back to Homeschooled Authors. What have you been up to since the last time you were here?
Well, I’ve been doing lots of fun things in writing and in the other aspects of my life … I’ve met new writing friends, taken a copy editing course and gotten into freelance editing, set up a website, published a short story, and seen new places.
You have just published the second book in your Six Cousins series. What can people expect from this story?
All six cousins return, but the rest of the characters are brand-new, as is the setting. I had a lot of fun really delving into England and its wealth of history and fascinating and beautiful places. The differences run deeper, though: In the first book, Family Reunion, set in Central Texas, I was exploring a limited setting—the kind of environment most young teenagers live in, where they have to learn how to handle family and friend relationships with grace. It’s that environment that really forms character and prepares us for a wider life. In England Adventure, set a few months later, my MC Marielle’s world expands when she and her cousins travel to England and she meets someone whose life and family are really falling apart. She uses the lessons she learned during her family reunion to deal with this situation and the stress of traveling abroad for two weeks. (I’ve traveled like that before, so I know how much it stretches your character!) In general, all six cousins grow to some extent or another, and they also get to tootle around with Mr. and Mrs. Endicott and Paris, an older couple and their granddaughter, all of whom possessed new and really fun personalities to write.
You took your own trip to England. What was your favorite part?
I’d always wanted to go; that desire was where the inspiration for England Adventure came from, and before I published this book, I was blessed to be able to go on a historical costume tour with a dear friend. I got to experience a lot of incredible things, but one of my favorite memories was actually outside the tour ... my friend and I met up with another homeschool author and her mom who live in England and visited Jane Austen’s House Museum in Chawton, about an hour from the borders of London. It was like a scene out of my book; I felt just like Marielle as I walked the wooden floors, admired the curios from my favorite author’s life, and imagined her living there. The entire village of Chawton was beautiful, and we had such a sweet time together as friends. We even had a cream tea at Cassandra’s Cup, the tea room right across the street from the House. The whole afternoon is a memory I’ll savor forever.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in writing this book?
It may be impossible to narrow it down to one lesson, I’m afraid. In the Six Cousins series, I try to write naturally (without “preaching”) about lessons that I’ve (supposedly) already learned, which is a sure way of cementing them in my own life. One of the most important, then, would be to stay close to God even during stressful, distracting times so that you can always be ready to do His work—whether speaking to someone about Him, reacting rightly to a certain situation, or something else.
What challenge do the cousins face in this story?
Once again, the six cousins have to work together … this time to have a fun, fulfilling, and amiable tour. It isn’t always easy. Paris, the bold, fashionable, yet friendly granddaughter of their guardians, is a challenge for each to determine how she’ll relate to her. Marielle especially is affected when she learns about Paris’s troubles … and she wants to help her. But it will require courage and sensitivity to God’s direction … maybe more than Marielle possesses.
Will we see more of the cousins in the future?
Lord willing, you will! I know I’d like to see more of them. I have plans for two more books that follow Marielle when she’s older, and all the cousins will at least make cameo appearances. Tentative plans include another trip to England, new friends, and the big questions of what Marielle will do after graduating high school and whom she will marry.
Thank you for having me, Sarah!
Where can readers connect with you?
I would love to see and interact with you on any of these sites!
Win your choice of a signed copy of Family Reunion or England Adventure! Open to USA residents only.