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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Interview with Janet Fox, Author of Forgiven & Contest!

Today I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Janet Fox, author of last year's stirring novel Faithful and the recently released novel Forgiven. Janet stopped by to discuss her book which released on June 2nd. She brought along a finished copy for one lucky winner too. See details below.


1.    Forgiven is the story of Kula baker, a young woman raised near Yellowstone by her father, an outlaw.  When Kula's father is arrested, she sets out for San Francisco determined to save his life as she searches for the contents of a mysterious box. Can you tell us more about the book and perhaps share a favorite line, scene or passage?

Kula Baker has been raised by a loving father, but more than anything she wants to live the life of a proper “lady” of the time (1906): she wants to wear fine clothes, live in a fine house, and most importantly find a rich husband. These dreams are derailed when she has to go to San Francisco; but once there she discovers the more important values of life—love, the real meaning of freedom, self-sacrifice. She also experiences the great earthquake and fires that devastated the city in April 1906.

My favorite passage is this one: “A new century lay open before us, where all things could be made clean and shiny, even a man’s soul. Why I’d heard that men could get up in the air in flying machines, men flying like birds. If that were true, why, then, anything was possible. Even possible for me, the part native daughter of an outlaw, to become a lady.”

2.    Can you elaborate on the significance of the book's title, Forgiven?

That’s an interesting question. Kula has a very tough exterior, which is a result of her upbringing and history. She carries a lot of personal baggage, and it gets in the way of her dealings with the people she cares about. She can’t forgive her mother for “abandoning” her as a baby; she can’t forgive her father for raising her in poverty; most importantly, she can’t forgive herself for the mistakes she’s made. I like to think that the novel is about learning to open your heart and forgive yourself for your personal flaws, because only then can you understand and forgive the (perceived) flaws in those around you.

3.    There is an interesting sub-plot about child slavery in San Francisco in the book which you discovered while researching the book. Can you elaborate on this topic a bit more for us?

I was horrified when I uncovered this aspect of San Francisco history. The city was born as a seaport and attracted the kinds of rough and rootless characters that inhabit any seaport; and then came the gold rush of 1849, which brought new wealth and the desire to spend it. Prostitution usually accompanies such environments. But this was not merely prostitution. Impoverished Chinese families sold their young daughters (as young as 1 year old) to merchants who shipped them across the Pacific to inhabit the bawdy houses. Most of these girls didn’t live long. They were mistreated, sometimes tortured, left to die when sick, and locked in tiny “cribs” day in and day out until they did die.

History is bad enough, but this kind of child abuse still exists. If readers want to learn more, they can visit http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_exploitation.html

4.    What are some of your all-time favorite books? Do you think they influenced the writing of Faithful and Forgiven?

I love anything Jane Austin (all-time favorite, Pride and Prejudice), and anything Charles Dickens, and, yes, I’d say they both influence my writing. Austin’s ability to dig into human nature and represent the depth of character and the workings of the human heart is unmatched. And Dickens tells a whopping tale, while weaving complex social/moral issues of his time into his stories. I read a lot of contemporary books, too, from fantasy to dystopia, and my current favorite is The Hunger Games, which I think has epic qualities and superb characters, while still being a page-turner.

5.    Which of your supporting characters in Forgiven would be fun to do their own novella on?

Hmm. Phillipa Everts has an interesting backstory, and her history with Hannah Gale would be fun to explore. Will has a great deal of growing up to do, so his future could be the subject of its own story. And Mei Lien—I wonder what will happen to her, and to the other girls in a society that is not very tolerant of differences.

6.    Can you tell us something about yourself that most people don't know?

I once spent a month on a 20 foot wooden boat (a very primitive boat with no running water, no heat) in the fiords of Patagonia, Chile. One of the other four passengers was an American male scientist and I was assisting him in collecting rock samples. Another was a female Chilean student—they’ve since married. The other two were the Chilean men hired to run the boat. And we had on board, on the deck, three live (for a time) sheep—they were Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

I swore off meat for years, and still can’t stand the smell of mutton or sheep cheese. And a hot shower? My idea of heaven.

7.    What can we look forward to from you next? Any upcoming projects or new series in the works?

Yes—I’ve just completed a draft of another YA under contract (Moll) set in New York City in 1925. I have an option for a fourth YA and I’m hoping to reunite characters from all three YA books in Montana in the 1930s (tentative title—Paradise.) I’m also working on a middle grade fantasy.

Janet Fox will donate a portion of the proceeds from FORGIVEN to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. To learn more about what you can do to help agencies that actively fight the exploitation and trafficking of children, visit the following websites:

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children


Stop Child Trafficking

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Original edition (June 2, 2011)

Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.

Janet Fox is a full-time resident of College Station, Texas, and a part-time resident of Montana (just outside of Yellowstone National Park). Visit Janet at her Official Website & Blog

Official Rules:
1.You must be 13 year or older to enter.
2. Open to entrants with a valid U.S./Canadian mailing address only. 
3. Entries must be received by Midnight EST on June 16th 2011.
4.To enter to win, simply leave a comment below including your email address.


Chey said...

sounds lovely! thank you.


Ivy said...

Great interview! Looking forward to this book!
Thanks for the giveaway!!

GFC: Ivy


Bethie said...

Please count me in. Thanks for the chance.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Denise Z said...

What a wonderfully intriguing and thought provoking story. I would love to win this book in the giveaway and I thank you for the opportunity. This was a great interview.


Vidisha said...

Sounds great

gfc follower


Anonymous said...

I loved Faithful and I really want to read Forgiven. Kula wasn't my favorite character so I'm excited to see her in a new light! Thanks for the contest!

twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

Tiffany Drew said...

So awesome! I want to read this so badly, it looks amazing! Thank you for the chance at winning a copy!


Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I've never read Janet Fox, but this book sounds fabulous! And the cover? Gorgeous! Thanks for the giveaway! :)


Asenath said...

Looks like an interesting read!

arallison at gmail dot com

Erinberry said...

This sounds really good! Thanks for the giveaway.

erinberry12 at charter dot net

jenna said...

This sounds like it has such a great message! :)


Vivien said...

What a wonderful interview. Very insightful. Janet is awesome :)

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Lieder Madchen said...

This book looks wonderful. San Francisco and its history has always interested me. :)

Thank you for the great interview and giveaway!


heykiddego said...

heykiddego (at) gmail (dot) com


Rie Conley said...

I love this cover even though it looks so much like the Vespertine cover.

I love books with a ton of character growth and this sounds like it delivers on that front.

Thanks for giveaway!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway! This sounds really interesting & I love the cover.


mamabunny13 said...

I would love a chance to win Forgiven. Thanks!
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

This sounds great. I love how she talks about Austen and Dickens. And the cover is FANTASTIC.
Great post.
(not an entry)
Good luck all!

Rebecca said...

The cover is simply gorgeous (which matches the gorgeous-factor of 'Faithful'), and this one sounds amazing as well! Would love a chance to win! :oD

Great interview too :o)


kristina shields said...

Sounds like a great book! Thx for the giveaway!


hammiexoxo said...

This book sounds really interesting I will have to check it out. :)


Margaret said...

This looks sooo good! Thanks for the giveaway!


Nicci @ Paper Dreams said...

Lovely interview, very interesting to read.

Thanks for the giveaway chance!

Melissa said...

Sounds very good. Thanks for the giveaway.


Laura (The Zealous Reader) said...

Awesome giveaway! Thanks so much!

the (dot) zealous (dot) reader (at) gmail (dot) com

Amy said...

Thanks for the giveaway!


kristina shields said...

Great contest! I have been wanting to read this book for a while and thx for the chance for doing that!


Janet Fox said...

Thank you so much for having me on Book Butterfly! Hugs - Janet

AmandaSue said...

Sounds good!

unforgetable_dreamer_always (at) hotmail (dot) com

Beverly said...

Thanks for hosting - this sounds great! Please enter me. I am an old follower.

Tore said...

Please enter me in contest. I really would love to read this book. Sounds very good. Tore923@aol.com

Ash said...

I would love the chance to read this book. It sounds so good!


karenk said...

i'm interested in reading this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm interested in reading this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Martha Lawson said...

This sounds like an awesome book. She is a new to me author, which I love finding. Please enter me for it.

follow on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Denise Z said...

I have been following this book and wold love to read it. Thank you for the opportunity to win a giveaway of it.


Brenda said...

Please enter me in the drawing for the book! Thanks for the chance!

dancealert at aol dot com

Alicia said...

Looks like a fantabulous book.

aliciacald at gmail dot com

BrittanyGale said...

Please count me in. Thank you :D


Devan said...

I would love to win! Thanks for the giveaway!


minhchieu said...

sounds great!

Carol M said...

This sounds really good! Please enter me! Thank you!
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Lirael said...

What is "sheep cheese"?

Janet Fox said...

I love all these wonderful comments - thank you, thank you!

I just have to answer Lirael. Sheep cheese is cheese made with sheep's milk. It has a very distinctive taste, really earthy. Kind of like you are chewing on sheep wool. Or old socks.

Meredith said...

I'd love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Jolene and Family said...

Wow, this sounds like an amazing read. Thanks for the chance to win


Regina said...

Something to add to my TBR list.
Thanks for the contest!


wyantebay said...

Looks super good enter me...


Jordy said...

thanks so much for the giveaway :)


Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

Gorgeous cover!

Thanks for the giveaway!

thecozyreader @ gmail.com

Maureen said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Tammi said...


Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a wonderful book, and I'd love to read it. The cover is very pretty. Please enter me. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book, and I love the cover!


hedgerhousehold said...

Thanks for the giveaway
jenhedger at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this! Jesetches23@hotmail.com