Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, winner of the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award and the B.R.A.G. Medallion, A Beckoning Hellfire, which is also an award winner, and A Rebel Among Us, which has just been published. These books tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war.
Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. She is currently working on a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as another sequel for the Renegade Series. Learn more about her at http://jdrhawkins.com.
Connect with the Author
About the Book
After David Summers enlists with the Confederate cavalry, his delusion of chivalry is soon crushed when he witnesses the horrors of battle. Shot by a Union picket, he winds up at a stranger’s farm. Four girls compassionately nurse him back to health. David learns his comrades have deserted him in Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg, but his dilemma becomes much worse. He falls in love with the older sister, Anna, who entices him with a proposition. To his dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, or return to the army and risk capture?
Get it today on Amazon and Smashwords!
Keep reading for an interview with the author:
When did you start writing?
I began writing when I was very young, and started out with songs and poems. From there, I advanced to children's picture books (I did my own artwork) and novels. I developed an interest in the Civil War when I took a trip to Gettysburg. That trip made a profound impression on me and gave me the inspiration to write the Renegade Series.
What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?
Finding time to write. It's difficult because my latest novel, A Rebel Among Us, just came out, so I'm spending a lot of time promoting it.
Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?
My family supports me 100 percent. My oldest son has read all my manuscripts and edited them, my mom has read my books and helped me research them, and my husband has accompanied me to many book signings and events.
What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?
That my books are very well written.
Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?
I had one guy give me grief at a book signing because I didn't know that much about the Navy during the Civil War. I tried to explain that I hadn't researched that part of it because the Navy isn't in any of my stories, but he got mad anyway and huffed off. All I could do was shrug.
What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
Don't take criticism personally.
What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?
I am also a singer/songwriter, so I enjoy playing and performing. I also like to travel and spend time in the mountains.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?
The Bible, Gone With the Wind, and my three books so I could continue writing the series and not forget any details!
How many books do you have on your "to read" list? What are some of them?
The Girl on the Train, Harry Potter books (I haven't read any), and a book a friend asked me to read for a review, titled Henry's Pride.
What is your writing process?
Each book takes me, on average, six months to research and six months to write. I like to listen to Civil War music when I write, because it helps put me in that time period.
Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?
I combine both. In A Rebel Among Us, there is a scene where the main character, David Summers, cups his hands and whistles to make it sound like a mourning dove. My dad taught me how to do that when I was a little girl.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
Yes. I based the main character, David Summers, and his best friend, Jake, on my son and his best friend. I also combine characters with real people in my life, and take certain aspects of people's personalities to create a character.
Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.
In A Rebel Among Us, the main character, David Summers, looks up at the night sky and watches the clouds morph into what he perceives to be the devil. This actually happened to me one night.
What was the hardest part about writing your latest book?
Describing the prison camp scenes. These were all taken from actual accounts and journals the prisoners wrote. To understand that these terrible atrocities really happened is heartbreaking.
Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?
I chose to write about the Civil War because this era is so fascinating to me. The country was mixed up on its views. It wasn't just black and white, or north and south. I hope that, by reading my novels, my readers will learn something about the war they didn't know before, and hopefully feel compassion for the characters.