Thursday, January 14, 2016

Q & A with Julie Dewey, Author of Forgetting Tabitha

First off, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and answer some questions! Historical fiction is my all-time favorite genre and I’m always amazed at the myriad perspectives authors find to highlight for us readers. How do you decide what corners of history to write about?

Thank you so much for having me at A Literary Vacation! I love being here! Historical fiction is my favorite genre as well, I tend to write about these little nuggets in our history that we don’t really hear about. My book, Forgetting Tabitha, is about the orphan train movement, and I for one wasn’t taught anything about it in school! Yet hundreds of thousands of children from 1854-1929 were placed on orphan trains heading west and this movement was the impetus for our modern day welfare system!

That is fascinating! I didn't learn anything about the orphan trains in school either, but I wish I had! What draws you to historical fiction? Are there any particular times in history you gravitate towards or do you just enjoy history in general?

I gravitate towards medical history for certain. I have written books about leprosy, tuberculosis, and insane asylums and find the comparison between treatments one hundred years ago and now to be astounding. What people endured so long ago and how they had the will to survive is a theme I love to explore.

What sort of research do you conduct when writing? Have you ever traveled to the locations before or during the writing process?

I have traveled to many locations during my writing process and absorb as much as I can from my surroundings. For instance, when I went to what was once the Five Points District in New York City, I could envision the five corners and appreciate just how chaotic life alone on the streets had to be for my main character, Tabitha. Similarly, when I journeyed to the Willard Insane Asylum, I could feel shivers run up and down my spine, just being in the space where my book takes place was awesome in every way. The research is plentiful, I try to talk to as many people as I can with experience in my topic and then I just get to it!

What does a typical day (if there is one) look like for you? How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

I love this question. Being a writer does allow me flexibility so when I want to go outside with my best buddy, Ziggy, we leash up and take our walk. Some days I can put in twelve hours, others two or three. Some days are simply spent writing, and others promoting. I love every aspect of the process and am lucky to have people like yourself be such gracious hosts!

A lot of authors have become huge on social media, not only promoting their work but interacting with their readers and offering up giveaways, book recommendations, etc. Are you a big proponent of using social media in this way? How do you prefer to interact with your fans?

Social media is where it’s at. I spend a good amount of time answering emails and keeping my readers updated via a newsletter. I have done numerous virtual book tours, giveaways, and online promotions and it’s lovely. I could certainly do more but there is only so much time in a day! I do prefer, though, meeting my readers face to face. I do as many signings as I can, I go to book groups when invited and enjoy interacting with my readers and getting their perspective on my work.

I’ve noticed that a lot of authors are also big readers. When you have time for leisure reading what sorts of books do you gravitate towards? Have you read anything good lately?

I love to read HF. My very favorite book is Daughter of Fortune by Isabelle Allende. She is such a talent. I love Nancy E Turner and Geraldine Brooks as well, these are the true writers in my mind.

Are you working on any other books that we can look forward to reading in the future?

At the moment I am in the research phase of the Oneida Utopia…stay tuned for this unbelievable story!

Oh, I can't wait to learn more about the Oneida Utopia....sounds fascinating! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing with my readers today. Your books sound right up my alley and I look forward to reading them! Everyone, be sure to read below for more information about Julie and her newest novel, Forgetting Tabitha.


Publisher: Holland Press
Publication Date: December 17th, 2015
Pages: 280

Raised on a farm, Tabitha Salt, the daughter of Irish immigrants, leads a bucolic and sheltered existence. When tragedy strikes the family, Tabitha and her mother are forced to move to the notorious Five Points District in New York City, known for its brothels, gangs, gambling halls, corrupt politicians, and thieves. As they struggle to survive in their new living conditions, tragedy strikes again. Young Tabitha resorts to life alone on the streets of New York, dreaming of a happier future. 

The Sisters of Charity are taking orphans off the streets with promises of a new life. Children are to forget their pasts: their religious beliefs, families, and names. They offer Tabitha a choice: stay in Five Points or board the orphan train and go West in search of a new life. 

The harrowing journey and the decision to leave everything behind launches Tabitha on a path from which she can never return.

Buy the Book

About the Author

Julie Dewey is a novelist residing in central New York with her family. Julie selects book topics that are little known nuggets of U.S. history and sheds light on them so that the reader not only gets an
intriguing storyline but learns a little something too.

Julie's daughter is a Nashville crooner and her son is a student. Her husband's blue eyes had her at hello and her motto is, "Life is too short to be Little!"

Her works include Forgetting Tabitha: the Story of an Orphan Train Rider, The Back Building, One Thousand Porches, The Other Side of the Fence, and Cat (the Livin' Large Series). To follow Julie, visit and sign up to get regular updates and reading guides.

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