Sunday, September 3, 2023

Book Tour with Julie Wright


Join me and author Julie Wright!

Las Vegas, Nevada September 5th

12-1 Deseret Book

5750 Centennial Center Blvd

Upland, California Sept 6th
3-5 pm Ensign Books
1037 W Foothill Blvd Upland, Ca

Redlands, California Sept 7th
3-5 pm Ensign Books
700 E Redlands Blvd Ste 1 Redlands, Ca

Costa Mesa, California Sept 9th
11-1 pm Deseret Book
2200 Harbor Blvd Ste 8110 Costa Mesa, Ca

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Salem Witch Museum--book signing

Bucket List. Check.

For several years, the Salem Witch Museum has been carrying paperback copies of the book I wrote about my 10th great-grandmother Susannah North Martin, CONDEMN ME NOT. I've long wanted to do a book signing there, and now I'll be heading to Massachusetts in a few weeks and signing at the Salem Witch Museum on June 22, 12-4:00 pm. Join me if you're in the area!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Spring 2023: Young Reader's Edition of The Paper Daughters of Chinatown


In 2019, I visited the Cameron House in San Francisco for the first time. Founded in 1874, originally established as the Occidental Mission Home for Girls, the Cameron House has a long history of bringing aid and relief to the community of Chinatown, ( My purpose in visiting was to learn more about the remarkable women who worked as volunteers in the early years, including former mission home director Donaldina Cameron, in preparation for writing the historical novel, The Paper Daughters of Chinatown (September 2020, Shadow Mountain). But one visit to the Cameron House, and I was deeply touched by the life and service of Tien Fu Wu.

In 2021, my publisher asked me to write a Young Readers version of The Paper Daughters of Chinatown. I hesitated because I was reluctant to go back into the depths of research that had brought me so much heartache. So I decided to read a few other YR versions of favorite books of mine. I discovered that most of them were either co-written or ghost-written. That gave me an idea. If I could share the emotional journey with a co-author while writing another version of this heart-wrenching story of what took place in San Francisco's Chinatown, then I would seriously consider it. The first writer who came to mind was Allison Hong Merrill. The minute I thought of her, I knew without a doubt, that she would be a stellar co-author. Allison had been my first reader of the original manuscript and had given me excellent insights. She'd also recently published a deeply personal memoir that left me grateful to have such a fierce and loyal friend.

Still, I was nervous to ask her because the deadline was pretty tight, and I needed her to be completely on board with not only the entire writing and editing process, but future marketing. I emailed Allison, and she replied almost immediately, even though she was flying in a small plane with almost nonexistent reception. Her resounding YES only confirmed I'd made the right choice. This was echoed over and over as we hammered out the plot and put together an intense writing and accountability schedule. We both agreed that the main character of this new version would be 6-year-old Tien Fu Wu. We kept part of the Donaldina Cameron story arc from the original book, but completely rewrote her chapters with a different focus. (So, yes, you can read both versions and come away with two stories.)

“Auntie Wu” or “Tien” as the residents of the mission home called her, was brought to Chinatown as a paper daughter in the late 1800s. A loophole in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 created a dubious opportunity for slave owners or members of the criminal tong to bring Chinese women into the country under false identities supported by forged paperwork. In this forged paperwork system, the young Chinese woman would memorize her new family’s heritage and claim to be married or otherwise related to a Chinese man already living and working in California, and the paper daughter was allowed into the country. “Upon arrival in San Francisco many such Chinese women, usually between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five, were taken to a barracoon, where they were either turned over to their owners or stripped for inspection and sold to the highest bidder” (see Unbound Feet by Judy Young, 27).

Such was Tien Fu’s experience. In the records from the Cameron House, we learn that Tien Fu was called Teen Fook or Tai Choi before her rescue. In an entry dated January 17, 1894, her rescue is detailed: “Tai Choie alias Teen Fook was rescued by Miss Houseworth, Miss Florence Worley and some police officers from her inhuman mistress who lived on Jackson St. near Stockton St. The child had been very cruelly treated—her flesh pinched and twisted till her face was scarred. Another method of torture was to dip lighted candlewicking in oil and burn her arms with it. Teen Fook is a pretty child of about ten years old, rosy cheeked and fair complexion” (see Chinatown’s Angry Angel by Mildred Martin, 46).

Adjustment to new life and expectations in the mission home wasn’t a simple road for any of the girls and young women, especially for Tien Fu. She harbored deep resentments for anyone who was in a position of power over her, but through the months and years of love and consistency, Tien Fu flourished and became an integral part of the mission’s work. She served as a translator for the mission home director, Donaldina Cameron, when they went on rescue work. Tien Fu wanted to continue contributing, to give back, and to serve those in need. She was determined to get a college education so that she could open more doors and serve in greater capacities in the mission home and throughout the community.

The mission home found a sponsor for Tien Fu’s education, and she spent four years in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and two years in Bible Training School in Toronto, Canada (Martin, 153). Before leaving San Francisco, she promised Donaldina Cameron that she would return to the mission home and continue to work for the cause. True to her word, Tien Fu returned to San Francisco and spent the remainder of her career as a champion for the women and girls of the Chinatown community. She truly lived a dedicated life in service, faith, and love as she persevered through extreme challenges, while lifting others with her along the way.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Now available: In the Shadow of a Queen


I'm thrilled that IN THE SHADOW OF A QUEEN is now available in Hardcover, e-book, Audible, Audio CD, and Bookshelf Audio

My interest in royal families dates back to the 1980s when I began reading about Queen Elizabeth I. Monarchies have always fascinated me. Queen Victoria became of particular interest to me when I learned more about her five daughters and the contributions they made to women’s causes throughout Europe by establishing schools and founding charities. Not only that, but her daughters also became the voice of the Crown. Queen Victoria relied on them to serve as her private secretaries while she battled with severe depression and kept her eldest son—and heir—at arm’s length.

More specifically, Princess Louise interested me because she deviated from the traditional path of royals during her era by marrying a commoner and pursuing the masculine career of a sculptor. One might consider the modern embodiment of Princess Louise to be Princess Diana, who was also committed to the downtrodden and redefined what it meant to be a royal.

My family lineage extends to British royalty, as does my husband’s, and I tried in vain to find a direct link with Princess Louise herself. There was no link since she didn’t have children, but my husband is a distant cousin to the Argyll family.

I spent a full six months researching and writing about Princess Louise. Even in the editing process, I was still discovering nuances and tidbits. Princess Louise might have been a member of the most prestigious royal family of her time, but she took a step back from glitter and glamour and found ways to positively impact the lives of others, even when the climb was straight uphill. She had a queen for a mother, and Louise’s voice was often strictly controlled and limited to what was considered acceptable for the era. Yet she managed to carve out a fulfilling life and push through barriers in order to achieve her hopes.

It was my honor to write her story.

For all things Queen Victoria & Princess Louise, join the Facebook page here.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Hannah: Mother of a Prophet


Thank you everyone for the wonderful reception of HANNAH. I’m excited that it’s now available on paperback on Amazon for those who don’t have access to a bookstore that carries my books (or are Prime shoppers like me. Haha).

I once had a conversation about one of my biblical novels with one of my agents, who is Jewish, and she told me, “I think you know more about my religion and history than I do.” Even if I’ve done a lot of focused research, I always use advance readers who are historians, scholars, or members of the faith or culture I’m writing about (now called “sensitivity readers”). Not everyone wants to write a book about their ancestors or heritage. I wrote Condemn Me Not about my 10th great-grandmother. It was a passion project the spanned 4 years of starting and stopping. I recognize that there are traumas in many people’s backgrounds, and they don’t want to dig them up and write about it, even if it’s important to not forget history. This also makes me appreciate authors who work to bring stories to life for me as well, so that I can keep learning and growing.
When I wrote RUTH, I felt that yes, I needed to do my research and have the right advance readers and experts give me feedback, but ultimately it was a story of two women, one a daughter-in-law and another a mother-in-law. My mother-in-law passed away several years ago, but I was able to use her example and our relationship as a springboard into the characterization.
Back to HANNAH. I’m not Jewish or Hebrew. I've never struggled with infertility. But as a woman and a mother and a sister and daughter (all human stuff), I was able to glean the emotions that Hannah might have gone through, in addition to watching my older sister go through years of infertility and frustrations with wanting a family and not being able to have one. (She now has 6 children, so she experienced more than one miracle.)
One of my favorite reviews on Hannah is from a Jewish reader (Carol F, NetGalley), “It was interesting to read a Christian view of Hannah and Samuel. It was smooth reading and full of information. Why did I really want to read this? My Hebrew name is Chana or in English is Hannah. My father, may his memory be a blessing, is Samuel. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.”
Thanks again, my friends, for supporting a small Christian author who is hoping to bring more interest and understanding to our sisters in the scriptures.

Monday, April 11, 2022

2022 Booksignings

 Join me at a book signing in 2022!

April 25 at Orem Deseret Book: 6-8:00 pm. 

May 7 at Layton Seagull Book: 1-3:00 pm. 

May 14 at Provo Utah Valley Convention Center: 5:30-7:00 pm

June 4 at Duchesne Library Event: 1:00 pm. 

June 16 at Deseret Book City Creek, SLC, 5-7:00 pm

June 18 at American Fork Seagull Book, 11:00 am

June 25 at Cedar City Deseret Book: 2-4:00 pm

Aug 13 at Cottonwood Heights Deseret Book 2-4:00 pm

Friday, September 3, 2021

Video interviews with Bob Inama

On June 30, 2021, my publisher and I went to Idaho Falls and met with Bob and Diane Inama. We recorded a series of video interviews, and listened as Bob recounted his experiences serving in the US Army 1960-1962.

Bob did basic training at Fort Ord, then additional training at Fort Sill, before being assigned to Hanau West Germany. Months into his Germany assignment, he was asked to go undercover into East Germany--posing as a University student taking an economics class. 

Here's the video interview with Bob Inama, the hero in The Slow March of Light
June 30, 2021

The Slow March of Light releases September 7, 2021 to most retailers.

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