Interview with Debut Novelist, Dawn Crandall, & E-Book Giveaway of her Novel, The Hesitant Heiress

So glad to introduce you to a fellow first-person point-of-view historical author, Dawn Crandall–you don’t run into that every day! Dawn let me read an early copy of her historical romance novel, The Hesitant Heiress, and you can find my review here on Goodreads.

After the interview, please comment below for a chance to win an e-copy of The Hesitant Heiress! I will draw a winner for next Monday’s post.

Now, our interview with Dawn!

Dawn Crandall Author
Dawn Crandall, Author

A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit working in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a first-time mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014) and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.





Book Review Blog:




Twitter: @dawnwritesfirst


HG: Welcome, Dawn! Tell us a little more about your journey to publication. (How many years have you been writing, how long did it take to prepare your books for publication, etc.)

DC: I’d wanted to “someday” write a book for as long as I could remember, but I never thought it was anything that would go beyond having a pile of papers and words for me alone. Long story short, my husband found out about it and encouraged me to write it. So I read every Christian fiction book I could get my hands on, studying how they were constructed. After planning out most of my plot, I finally started writing The Hesitant Heiress in January 2010. However, about a year later I was stuck trying to figure out exactly how to get to the end. I realized I needed to find a critique partner and join some kind of writing organization. So I joined ACFW, met my beloved friend/crit-partner Susan Tuttle, figured out my ending and went to the 2011 conference (upon my husband’s urging). I met with two agents there, had two partial proposal requests… and then a month later, had two agent contracts in my email box! Pretty crazy for not even knowing what a proposal was until after they’d been requested. After I chose my wonderful agent, Joyce Hart, I still had to finish revising the ending of my book! So my one and only proposal went out into the hands of editors during the summer of 2012… and then I waited, and waited and waited. Basically two years to the day that I’d been offered my agent contract, I received official word that Whitaker House wanted to publish my series (which I’d been working on finishing while waiting), first as eBooks, and then later, hopefully as paperbacks.

HG: You were signed with Whitaker House for a 3-book series, the first of which is The Hesitant Heiress. Did you have the entire series written before submitting to publishers? I know you already have finalized cover art for all three books. Did you have a lot of say in the cover art (which is lovely!)?

DC: Although I didn’t quite have THH finished when I signed with my agent, I did have the second book in the series already started. I’d been writing for fun, after all—and I’d wanted to be certain that I could write another heroine who didn’t sound just like the first. And by the time Whitaker House had offered the contract, I had most of the third book done as well, which is why they are being released three months apart instead of nine months. My agent had allowed me to do this because she was that confident that it would sell.

And the cover art… aren’t they simply gorgeous?? I just adore them! I’m still amazed at how perfectly they came out, and how well they tie into the stories inside! Basically, I emailed the graphic designer at Whitaker House about what my characters looked like, described the setting and atmosphere and accompanied all this with photos I’d saved up over the years (many of which are part of the book’s Pinterest board here).

HG: You write in first-person. I’m finding it interesting how many classics are also written in first, such as Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (which your novel reminded me of more than once!). How did you decide first was the point-of-view you wanted to use with this series? Do you have any favorite books that use this POV?

DC: Actually, those two you mentioned are two of my absolute favorite books ever! When I first looked into how to write a book, I’d heard it was difficult to write first person well–and that kept me from doing it, although it was always how the words seemed to come to mind. Finally, I decided I just needed to do it–and because I was ultimately writing it for myself more than anyone else—I just dove into writing it from first person, because that was how it needed to be told. I wanted to write a novel reminiscent of old classical romantic suspense novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca—but I also wanted to tie in a very relevant spiritual thread.

HG: Your book is flawlessly edited. Tell us how many steps you had to go through to get this polished finished product—beta readers, etc.

DC: Like I said, I wasn’t technically finished revising the ending when I signed with my agent. Why did she sign me then!?! Ha–I guess she liked those first three chapters A LOT. I’d also included a chapter by chapter overview in my partial proposal–that helped as well. A few months before signing with her, I’d joined ACFW and submitted a lot of my “Amaryllis Brigham” manuscript to the Scribes critique email-loop {July 2011}. With the help of some valuable writer-friends through that group, I rewrote, revised, and rearranged things as I better understood how the story needed to be. I never did send the last fourth of the novel through though–I didn’t have time to only send 5,000 words a week while also critting 10,000 words… I wanted to get the ms to my agent ASAP! When I sent it {January 2012}, she pretty much loved it as it was and sent the proposals out that spring. And then when I signed with Whitaker House {December 2013}, it was sent through content edits with no revisions needed, and then line edits.

HG: If all 3 books are about different main characters, do you have a favorite, and if so, why?

DC: It seems whatever book I’m working on the most at a given time is my favorite. Because they’re written in first person POV, I get to know the heroine so very well, it’s almost like I am her, only I know the whole story from start to finish, while she does not. That probably sounds weird, but it’s really easy for me to “get” where she’s coming from in each stage of the novel because it’s how I feel in her place. Wow, maybe I should stop describing the way my silly ADD brain works, huh? You’re all going to think I’m crazy.

HG: Doesn’t sound weird at all to me! What drew you to writing in this time period (The Gilded Age)?

DC: I’ve been in love with history for as long as I can remember. When I decided to choose The Gilded Age, it had a lot to do the dresses of the time period, the neighborhood of Back Bay in Boston, and the way the elitists of the time would flock to the coastal towns of New England for the summers.

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Dawn, and all the best on The Everstone Chronicles!

the hesitant heiress

After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy disappearing before her very eyes. Now the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: marry within the year to inherit her grandmother’s fortune. Amaryllis reluctantly takes part in her aunt’s society, intent on getting to the west coast on her own… and without a husband.

Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself falling in love with the most unlikely of men, Nathan Everstone, whose father not only had a part in her expulsion, but whose ominous presence has haunted her dreams for a decade since her mother’s tragic death. Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn’t who she thought at all.




***Readers, please comment below with a question or observation for Dawn for a chance to win an e-book copy of her novel, The Hesitant Heiress! I will draw a winner next Monday.***

22 thoughts on “Interview with Debut Novelist, Dawn Crandall, & E-Book Giveaway of her Novel, The Hesitant Heiress

  1. It looks like we have the same favorite books – Jane Eyre and Rebecca! It sounds like this is a book series that I would love! I’m pinning them to my book board on Pinterest!

    1. You know, when I picked it out of the library at my high school that morning, I totally thought that was the book I was picking out! But I sure did realize my mistake when I opened it up to read! But boy did I get sucked in! I think you would like it, Rachael. It’s the perfect first-person-POV romantic suspense classic (published in the 30s). 🙂

      1. With all your mentions it has become a must read. I’m hoping it’s a free ebook classic somewhere…if not…I’ll probably be on ebay! 🙂 I loved Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, BTW. I read it so much the book no longer exists. I hope to get a copy for my daughter. 🙂

  2. It’s neat hearing how you got contracted with Whitaker House. God’s hand was definitely working in the timing of this series’ publication. I look forward to reading these books!

    1. Hi Nicki! Thanks for stopping! I’m a little behind on catching up with comments, but I guess I can say congratulations to you now too!!! I just emailed you about being the winner of The Hesitant Heiress!! 😀

    1. Thanks, Robin! He really is the only reason I’m a published author!!! All I needed was that one very important person to believe in me! Thanks for stopping! 😀

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