Thursday, June 2, 2022

NBtM Virtual Tour and Giveaway: The Unveiling of Polly Forrest by Charlotte Whitney

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual tour for The Unveiling of Polly Forrest by Charlotte Whitney. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a fantastic guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: The Unveiling of Polly Forrest
Author: Charlotte Whitney
Publisher: Lake William Press
Publication Date: March 15th 2022
Print Length: 322 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
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Rural Michigan, 1934.

During the throes of the Great Depression Polly marries for money. After her husband Sam dies in a bizarre farm accident, new bride Polly assumes she is set to pursue her dream of opening a hat-making business. Instead, she becomes the prime suspect in Sam’s murder. Secrets abound and even Polly’s family can’t figure out the truth.

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EXCERPT:
Sarah Wolcott Johnson

Thursday, May 24, 1934

I couldn’t hold back. “Polly, you’re such a liar. You kept making excuses for all your bruises and now you’re still hiding stuff from us. Sam’s letter. And now the coffee. When will it all end? All these lies. All this deception.”

Contrary to what Wes said, I was not going to apologize for anything. She was the one who needed to make amends.

Polly stiffened, put the coffee cup on the table, and stood rigid, arms crossed. I looked out the kitchen window and could see Sailor Dog in the yard a few feet away, probably drawn close by our voices.

Polly wrinkled up her nose. “Well, sometimes deception is the best course of action. Fewer people get hurt.” She was making no sense.

“I think not,” I responded. “Deception only builds and builds until you have such a mess you can’t get out of it. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.”

“That’s enough, Sarah,” Wes said to me. He was speaking as if I were a misbehaving child, which perturbed me even more.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Charlotte Whitney is the author of historical fiction set during the Great Depression in the rural Midwest. Her most recent work, The Unveiling of Polly Forrest, a stand-alone historical mystery follows her groundbreaking novel, Threads A Depression-Era Tale, which was met with both critical acclaim and commercial success. She received a master’s degree in English at the University of Michigan, and after a short stint of teaching at two community colleges, worked at the University of Michigan where she was an associate director of the Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts. Currently living in Arizona with her husband and two dogs she enjoys hiking, bicycling, swimming, and yoga.

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GUEST POST:
- Author Charlotte Whitney Reveals Memories of her Childhood that Appear in The Unveiling of Polly Forrest

While almost all of the mystery of The Unveiling of Polly Forrest is totally fabricated from my imagination, there are several settings that are familiar from my childhood, living on a small family farm between Marshall and Battle Creek, Michigan. Of course, I wasn’t alive in 1934-1935, the time the book was set, but my family farm hadn’t changed much since the days of the Great Depression. We lived in an old termite-ridden farmhouse, used an outhouse, and I walked down a gravel road to the local one-room country school.

Two scenes in the book are set in the silo which stands next to the barn. I used the silo of my childhood farm as the model. When my father was working there, we’d go in and play blindman’s bluff, sing, shout, and listen to the echoes. It was always dark, stinky, and spooky—a perfect setting for a murder mystery.

Canning fruits and vegetables was another familiar chore from my childhood so it was natural that I included a scene where Sarah and Polly are canning corn in Sarah’s kitchen during the hot sticky days of August. Canning corn is no easy feat. First you must pick it, husk it, pull away the silk, then blanch it in a hot water bath, and cut it off the cob. After that you must pack it into pre-sterilized cans and cook it in the old, somewhat dangerous pressure cooker. Sarah and Polly didn’t have indoor plumbing and the kids had to carry in buckets of water from the well. Similarly they had to carry in firewood to keep the stove burning. A daylong chore, it was hot, messy, sticky, and tiring from beginning to end.

Mending clothes was another one of many chores familiar to my childhood. In The Unveiling of Polly Forrest there is a scene in which Sarah and Polly’s mother comes for a visit from Connecticut and we meet the female characters mending clothes. The scene was familiar to me: cutting out patches from leftover material and sewing them onto the frayed fabric so that the garment would last another few months until another patch was needed.

Finally, the climax plays out “down the lane” –a path that connected the various fields and ended up at the neighbor’s property, divided by a fence with barbed wire across the top. I used to go down the lane to gather up my father’s cows for the late afternoon milking. Similarly my mother and I would go down the lane to take my father water while he was working in a back field. We’d also go down the lane to the back forest, where we’d have a picnic or a campfire in the fall. It was a familiar part of a family farm and I couldn’t resist including it in the book.

With the development of agribusiness very few small family farms still exist. It was hard to eke out a living after the Great Depression, but I have vivid memories of a childhood spending much of my time outside, “assisting” my father with chores and remembering the women folk sweating it out in the non-air-conditioned kitchens putting up food for the following winter. Times were different, not simpler, and, of course, made an interesting setting for a mystery.
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GIVEAWAY:
Charlotte Whitney will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to one random winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

159 comments:

  1. Looks like a very good book.

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  2. Charlotte WhitneyJune 2, 2022 at 7:41 AM

    Thank you for hosting today

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  3. How do you handle writing slumps?

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    1. Author Charlotte WhitneyJune 2, 2022 at 11:59 PM

      Writing Slumps. I fill in with doing research for a future book and marketing my most recent publication TikTok videos are fun.

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  4. Oh but this sounds wonderful. What inspired you to write this story?

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:01 AM

      I wanted to have a main character who was naive and yet complicated. It didn’t take long before Polly appeared.

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:02 AM

      I hope you enjoy it.

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  6. this sounds like a wonderful book

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:04 AM

      Happy reading. Fortunately I’ve been getting great reviews.

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  7. This features many of my favorites. Great genre and mystery plus I love anything set in this time period. Sounds so good.

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  8. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  9. Great guest post and excerpt, I am looking forward to reading The Unveiling of Polly Forrest! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a spectacular day!

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:05 AM

      Thank you. I hope you absolutely love the book

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  10. Looks like an awesome mystery. thank you

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:06 AM

      Thanks. I love good mysteries myself

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  11. The book sounds very intriguing. Love the cover!

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  12. I enjoy reading Historical Mysteries. I like the cover.

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:08 AM

      The cover was designed By an amazing cover designer in Texas—Rena Violet. She was great to work with.

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  13. Sounds like a great book. I really enjoy historical mysteries.

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:09 AM

      I hope you’ll love this one

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  14. Thank you for sharing your guest post and book details, The Unveiling of Polly Forrest sounds like an excellent read and I am looking forward to it

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:10 AM

      Hope you absolutely love it

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  15. Looks very interesting. I love reading historical fiction!

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  16. Do you have any advice for new writers?

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    1. Charlotte WhitneyJune 3, 2022 at 12:12 AM

      Read voraciously in your genre. Then read more

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  17. The book sounds wonderful, thanks.

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  18. David HollingsworthJune 3, 2022 at 1:53 AM

    Happy Friday!

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  19. I enjoyed reading the excerpt - so interesting!
    Thank you for sharing this.

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  20. sounds like things went really awry. starting a hat business and then becoming involved in a murder case. opps things on hold

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  21. The excerpt is interesting. Thank you for sharing it.

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  22. Sounds like a great book. I grew up in Michigan and I like reading books with a Michigan storyline.

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  23. What age were you when you first started writing?

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  24. What are some of your favorite snacks?

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  25. The book sounds very interesting. I love the cover!

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  26. Here's hoping for a wonderful weekend!

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  27. David HollingsworthJune 5, 2022 at 1:44 AM

    What inspires you?

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  28. How do you select the names of your characters?

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  29. what got you to thinking about writing a book?

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  30. Do you have any extreme hobbies, like extreme couponing or cave diving?

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  31. David HollingsworthJune 7, 2022 at 2:59 AM

    What inspires you?

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  32. Do you have characters living in your head?

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  33. David HollingsworthJune 8, 2022 at 2:13 AM

    How do you choose what to write about?

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  34. I love everything about this book - genre title and cover!

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  35. What's your signature alcoholic drink?

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  36. What author do you most admire?

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  37. What has been your favorite road trip?

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  38. David HollingsworthJune 10, 2022 at 1:30 AM

    What's your favorite food?

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  39. How do you think we should warn future inhabitants of earth about nuclear waste?

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  40. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

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  41. Thank you for sharing the excerpt, sounds like a good read.

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  42. David HollingsworthJune 11, 2022 at 2:42 AM

    Happy Saturday!

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  43. If you could stay one age forever, which one would it be, and why?

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  44. that is interesting about the out house LOL did you use this in any of your books?

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  45. Are you having a heat wave? We got up to 101 degrees today.

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  46. Would you ever be willing to take a cruise? To where?

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  47. that is cool that you lived in an old farm house and used an outhouse and walked to a one room school house. We lived in a farm house but there was a bathroom. We also walked to school part way and then a bus picked us up for the rest of the way. Living in the desert, they wanted the children to be safe.

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  48. David HollingsworthJune 13, 2022 at 3:52 AM

    Where do you go for inspiration?

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  49. this sounds like a great book. I know someone who married for money and she was miserable. she stayed married because of the money. but she was depressing to be around now. fortunately no children

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  50. When do you think you could have used a second chance in life?

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  51. Do you relax on the weekends?

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  52. David HollingsworthJune 14, 2022 at 6:36 PM

    What's your favorite book?

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  53. Do you listen to music when you write?

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  54. Yes I can so identify with the girls canning corn. I learned with the canning hot water bath. I still use that method today. But I would help mom with her canning for years and so enjoyed the fruits of our labor. This sounds like such an interesting book

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  55. How do you handle very hot weather?

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  56. I think it is interesting that some of the places in The Unveiling of Polly Forrest by author Charlotte Whitney are familiar to her from her childhood.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  57. Do you set an alarm so you don't write for too long at a stretch?

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  58. Did you help patch clothes? I remember doing this with my mom and grandma. Many ladies that my mom and grandmother knew would give them left over or fairly new clothes and we would use these as patches and sometimes turn into another garment. this started my love of making clothes and then going into quilting

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  59. Have you started another book yet?

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  60. I'm glad you included family working together on the farm. It really is a special and memorable part of living on a farm. Everyone needs to work together for things to get done. Everyone needs to work together for family to pull together and respect each other and the work being done.

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  61. How do you relax after a long day of writing?

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  62. David HollingsworthJune 18, 2022 at 10:29 PM

    Happy Saturday!

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  63. Excerpt shows me this is not a good but a great mystery read.

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  64. Wow! I love that you have chosen the Great Depression as a setting. My grandfather lived through it and he saved everything. ugh. But understandable.

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  65. How did you come up with the name Polly Forest?

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  66. David HollingsworthJune 20, 2022 at 4:26 PM

    Happy Monday!

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  67. David HollingsworthJune 20, 2022 at 4:27 PM

    Happy Monday!

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  68. Any advice for someone starting a new job?

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  69. How do you deal with Mondays?

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  70. I like the setting of your new book. It sounds like a great story.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  71. June 21: Jazzy Book Reviews did not have a book review up today so I am commenting here. Do you like to travel to do research?

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  72. Memories like yours are wonderful. I have many memories from when I lived on a farm also. In many ways our living on a farm helped make us who we are today. Yay quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  73. David HollingsworthJune 22, 2022 at 5:11 PM

    Hope you're keeping cool during the summer.

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  74. Will you take a vacation this summer?

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  75. hope you have a wonderful Thursday. Almost to the weekend. Do you plan another book after this one making it a series?

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  76. David HollingsworthJune 23, 2022 at 7:42 PM

    How do you feel about Summer?

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  77. David HollingsworthJune 24, 2022 at 6:34 PM

    Happy Friday!

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  78. Do you have any advice for getting some sleep?

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  79. During the Depression, people made do with what they had, because most couldn't afford to buy much besides the essentials. Thanks for sharing your farm life memories.

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  80. David HollingsworthJune 25, 2022 at 6:57 PM

    Do you have advice for other writers?

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  81. If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

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  82. Do you sometimes feel like screaming?

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  83. hope you are having a wonderful weekend

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  84. you are an outdoor girl. sweet. there is so much to see of Gods glory and beauty. have you been to the Grand Canyon? oh my, but there is beauty. and it is a long canyon. we saw a lot of it in the desert and a lot up in the mountains. gorgeous

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  85. David HollingsworthJune 26, 2022 at 4:39 PM

    Happy Sunday!

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  86. Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup!

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  87. Happy Tuesday. Did you get to travel where the story is set?

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  88. thanks for the amazing giveaway

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  89. David HollingsworthJune 27, 2022 at 4:32 PM

    Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

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  90. David HollingsworthJune 27, 2022 at 4:33 PM

    What is your favorite sandwich?

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  91. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

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  92. David HollingsworthJune 29, 2022 at 5:18 AM

    How do you feel about NFTs?

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  93. Uggghhh it is hard to keep some secrets. But to be the prime suspect, oh my. This sounds like a great book that is a page turner

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  94. this sounds like a wonderful book

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  95. What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?

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  96. with your interview you would serve us Mediterranean food. This sounds interesting. My husband and just started eating this way. And I am loving it.

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  97. David HollingsworthJuly 2, 2022 at 6:52 PM

    Happy weekend!

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  98. do you have a favorite author?

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  99. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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  100. The Unveiling of Polly Forrest by author Charlotte Whitney has a very attractive front cover.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  101. I found it interesting how you chose a book cover. I must say a great job was done. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  102. Are you glad when a book is finished?

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  103. David HollingsworthJuly 3, 2022 at 10:21 PM

    Happy Sunday!

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  104. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

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  105. oh what fun places these would be to go and do research. If I could go someplace and do research it might be: There are historical quilting museums in Ohio and Wisconsin. They give history on quilts and show quilts from the past quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  106. David HollingsworthJuly 4, 2022 at 9:20 PM

    Happy Monday!

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  107. how long have you been writing

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  108. I am in agreement with you about zoom, emails, texts etc. are just not the same as in person. How fun that you can spend so much time with your daughter. My mom and I used to do similar things. We could spend all day just being together.

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  109. David HollingsworthJuly 5, 2022 at 6:36 PM

    Happy Tuesday!

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