Answering Your Questions

Hi Friends,

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream, or what are you reading now? I’m often asked questions like these for guest blog posts. Michelle at New Horizon Reviews asked some fun, creative questions, and I thought you might enjoy reading my answers.

(1) Can you briefly describe your new novel?

I’ll share this endorsement from Cathy Gohlke, the author of Secrets She Kept and Saving Amelie.

“From the first compelling page to the last heart-lifting moment, Shine Like the Dawn drew me in, made me smile then cry—all while keeping me on the edge of my seat. Turansky’s latest English historical romance, rich in mystery and intrigue, brings to life warm and memorable characters nestled between a charming Edwardian village and its local grand estate. Uplifting and highly recommended.”

(2) What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Christian fiction has the power to reach past our intellects and touch our hearts. Like Jesus, with his parables, and Nathan the Prophet , with his stories, our novels can have a powerful impact when they are well-told. Christian fiction offers a hopeful message because it is written from a Biblical worldview. And the world needs hope now more than ever.

(3) What is your favorite jewelry piece, and why?

My favorite piece of jewelry is my wedding ring. It’s vey special because I lost the diamond out of my original ring. So my husband bought me this new ring and got down on his knee to ask me to marry him (again) on Christmas morning in front of all the family. I was so choked up I could hardly say yes . . . but I finally managed to give him my answer and a kiss. He’s a keeper!

 

(4) What are your ideal writing conditions?

My idea writing conditions would be sitting in a recliner with my laptop in a quiet and clean house with instrumental music playing on my headphones. Ahhh . . . I can feel the words flowing just thinking about it.

(5) Are there any secret wishes hidden in your new book?

Maggie Lounsbury, the heroine, wishes she could discover the truth behind the tragedy that happens to her family at the beginning of the book. She keeps her quest a secret for a long while until she decides whom she can trust. Nate Harcourt, the hero, wishes he could convince Maggie that he has her best interests at heart and that he truly cares for her.

(6) Just for fun, What’s on your nightstand?

On my nightstand you’ll find several books including Jesus Today by Sarah Young and The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller, two copies of the Focus on the Family Magazine, and soft earplugs that keep my ears warm and keep it quiet at night.

(7) Can you give your reader’s a peek into what’s next?

I’m working on my next English historical novel, Across the Blue, that comes out early in 2018. It’s set in 1909 in Kent England. The hero is a young pilot and airplane designer who wants to be the first to fly across the English Channel and win the prize offered by the Daily Mail newspaper of London. The heroine is the daughter of the wealthy owner of the Daily Mail. She is an aspiring journalist who believes covering the hero’s story will help establish her career, but her parents want her to focus on marrying well and helping them move forward in society. Romance, adventure, inspiration, and secrets from the past make this a fun story to write and hopefully for you to read.

(8) Another, just for fun, What do you drink while in the writing mode?

I love tea! Hot tea in the cold months: Earl Grey, Mint, and Chai are my favorites. In the summer I like iced Tazo Passion tea.

(9) What other books have you published?

Shine Like the Dawn is my 17th novel and fourth English historical novel. The Edwardian Brides Series includes The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge and Highland Hall. I’ve written several small-town, family centered contemporary romance novels for Love Inspired including Along Came Love, A Man To Trust, Seeking His Love and Surrendered Hearts. I’ve also written several historical and contemporary novellas. I hope you’ll to stop by my website and take a look at those. You can see photos of the characters and read the first chapters there.

(10) What is your most memorable moment?

I’ve been blessed with so many great moments in my life. It’s hard to choose one, but I’ll share one related to my writing. In 2014 I traveled to England on a research trip with my author friend Cathy Gohlke. We spent the day at Tyntesfield Estate near Bristol. That’s the estate I had in mind as I was writing the Highland Hall novels. It is so beautiful and full of history, with lovely paintings, furniture, and sculptures. After seeing so many photographs and imaging the setting for more than a year it was such a thrill to be there and see it all in person. It’s owned by the National trust and open for tours. The staff were very kind, and when they found out I was an author setting a story there, they gave us a private tour of several areas of the house that were not open to the pubic. It was a marvelous day that I will always remember and be so thankful for.

If you’d like to read other interviews or reviews for Shine Like the Dawn, please visit my Review Pinterest board! Ready to purchase your copy? Visit my website for links to your favorite retailers. 

Oh . . . my favorite flavor of ice cream is jamocha almond fudge and mint chocolate chip is a close second.

Until Next Time . . . Happy Reading!

Carrie

 

Governesses in the Edwardian Era

Edwardian womanHi Friends,

Researching the role of governesses in English society in the late 19th and early 20th century was one of the topics I enjoyed delving into as I prepared to write The Governess of Highland Hall. Here are some of the interesting facts I learned about women who took on this role.

The English governess occupied a unique and sometimes lonely role in society. She must be educated enough to teach others, but poor enough to needed a job.  It could be an isolated life, because she was not really part of the community of servants downstairs, and she was often excluded from much of the family life upstairs.

Some governesses were invited to join the family at mealtimes. But the governess’ presence at the dinner table could serve as an uncomfortable warning and threat. She was a constant reminder that if a daughter didn’t marry, she might have to earn a living, and her primary option was to become a governess herself.  On the other hand, an attractive, charming, single woman could be considered competition for the daughters of the family.

This in-between state created wonderful potential conflict for my story. Would my heroine, Julia Foster, be considered part of the family, or would she be considered more an employee?  What authority would she have over the children?  How would they respond to her instruction? How much responsibility would she have for their upbringing?  How would the other members of the family relate to her? I increased the conflict for Julia by giving her four charges: a nine-year-old boy with ADHD (of course undiagnosed in that period) and six-year-old girl with fragile health, a fifteen-year-old starry-eyed teenage girl, and an almost eighteen-year-old young woman who deeply resented having a governess.

The term governess was used in three ways. It could refer to a schoolteacher; or a woman who lived in one place and traveled to another home to teach (a “daily governess”); or a woman who lived in a household in order to teach the children and serve as a companion to them (a “private governess”).

A governess should not be confused with the nurse, who was a member of the servant class and responsible for all the physical and emotional needs of the children during their first four to five years of life. After that, the children would be turned over to a nursery governess, who was responsible for the education of both boys and girls until they reached the age of eight. The most important duty of the nursery governess was to teach reading and writing.

Edwardian ChildA preparatory governess would then teach the girls subjects such as English, geography, history, singing, piano, drawing, and needlework until they reached the age of twelve, when a finishing governess or a boarding school instructor would take over their education and give lessons in fine arts, dancing, piano, and singing. By the age of seventeen or eighteen, girls would be ready for their social debut, and finding a husband.

Boys typically left the care of their governess at the age of eight, when they entered a preparatory school. (I stretched this a bit in my story, keeping Andrew with his family at age nine. But it seemed reasonable to me since they had just moved to Highland Hall.) This followed the belief that boys’ education was vitally important because they were the future supporters of their families. Girls didn’t need as much formal education, since their prospects for marriage were based on their personal fortunes and on their appearance and genteel manners.

It was this emphasis on gentility that characterized a good governess—and also contributed to a great deal of social conflict. Above all, a good governess had to be a lady herself, in order to instill in her students proper morals and values. Yet as a group, governesses were generally seen as inferior and often looked down upon. That also became a key element in my story.

The yearly salary for a governess ranged from twenty to forty pounds per year, but could be as high as 100 pounds if she worked for a very wealthy family. Although a private governess was provided with food and shelter, she was expected to either buy or make her own clothes, keeping in mind that she was required to look presentable at all times in order to avoid shaming her employer. She was also expected to pay for her own medical care, travel expenses, and laundry, and she could expect no security of employment.

governess of highland hallDespite this popular image that governesses were lonely and looked down upon, there were many examples of happy situations in which the governess was respected and well treated by her employers and was loved by her pupils.

How was Julia treated when she came to Highland Hall? Was she able to cross the great divide that separated her from Sir William Ramsey, the master of Highland Hall? How did her faith and pure heart help her overcome the stigma attached to the role of governess? I hope you’ll pick up a copy of The Governess of Highland Hall and find out! Blessings and Happy Reading!