For today’s Sunday Dinner, I’m inviting you! Pull up a chair and join me to chat about my new historical romance, Confessions to a Stranger.
Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!
Without further ado, please tell us something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.
In the story, Mrs. Martins cans strawberries. I love strawberries. In a town near where I grew up, they had an annual touristy event called Strawberry Fest, which happens every June. It’s all about everything strawberry and such fun. While I haven’t canned strawberries (yet), my mom taught me to can as a teen and we used raspberries we had freshly picked. If you’ve never tasted homemade jam, it’s delicious!
Can you tell us about your latest novel?
Confessions to a Stranger is the first book in my Harbored in Crow’s Nest historical romantic suspense series. Here’s the book blurb:
She’s lost her future. He’s sacrificed his. Now they have a chance to reclaim it—together.
Wisconsin, 1930—While fleeing for her life, Adaleigh Sirland’s rescue of a child introduces her to a family who provides her safe harbor. When her identity comes under threat of exposure, she must choose between running once more or helping the man who teaches her to hope again.
First mate David Martins is intrigued by the mysterious woman taken in by his grandmother, but she wrestles with a troubled past. When his estranged father is arrested for murder, can David put aside his own struggles in time to discern which secret threatens Adaleigh before it kills them both?
Welcome to Crow’s Nest, where danger and romance meet at the water’s edge.
Why did you choose to write a story set in Crow’s Nest, Wisconsin?
I wanted to create a fictional small town where I could set my entire series. Since my character is a fisherman and I’m familiar with the eastern shore of Wisconsin, I planted Crow’s Nest there. If I were to give you specific directions, you would find Crow’s Nest somewhere between Port Washington and Door County. The area has a history of fishing, among other industries.
Have you lived in or visited Wisconsin? What research was required to set a book there in 1930, during the Great Depression?
I currently live in Wisconsin, near Lake Michigan, so I was able to add that authenticity to my story. The shore may have developed in the last one hundred years, but Lake Michigan’s moods haven’t. I loved incorporating that aspect into the story. In fact, the town I live in is one of the thirty oldest towns in the state of Wisconsin, so there is history everywhere I turn.
The male main character is a fisherman on Lake Michigan. What did fishing look like in the 1930s?
The area in which I set Crow’s Nest was historically strong in the fishing industry. This is partially why the area developed so early in Wisconsin’s history. Challenges included the overfishing of the Great Lakes, difficult markets, and traffic from the shipping lanes. What nearly divested the fishing, however, was the introduction of the invasive species called the lamprey. They nearly wiped out certain types of fish.
With so many states, and Canada, involved, they weren’t able to pass any unified fishing regulations until the middle of the 20th century. If you’d like to learn more, check out this Wisconsin Historical Society article.
The female main character shows her swimming and water rescue skills in the first chapter. Was this unusual for women at the time? Was water rescue different during the 1930s from today?
This was a fascinating topic for me and I’m so glad I could include it. In the early 1900s, organizations like the YMCA took it upon themselves to teach life-saving techniques to women. With women competing in the Olympics, more opportunities for female swimming opened up. In fact, the Women’s Athletic Club in Chicago, which I mention in the story, is still around today.
One thing I found fascinating was how CPR has changed over the years. It’s a century old practice to re-inflate the lungs, particularly in drowning victims. From mouth-to-mouth to using an instrument, like a bellows, to today when the focus is on heart compressions rather than inflating the lungs. In the first chapter of my story, they use a form of the Sylvester Method, where they raised arms over the victim’s head.
Find out more on this timeline by the American Heart Association.
Were resources easy or difficult to find on these topics? Do you have a favorite resource?
Research was generally easy to find. For example, my research into fishing in the 1930s meant lots of library resources. Since my library is linked to those all along the area where Crow’s Nest would be located, they had wonderful, old, resources to check out. My favorite was a typed (as in typewriter) and hand drawn pamphlet on commercial fishing.
What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?
In early 1930, the Great Depression was just taking root. Black Tuesday had happened a mere seven months earlier and the deepest part of the Great Depression was still three years away. So while I mention it, the full ramifications aren’t affecting the characters. Yet. The further we go in the series, that will change.
Do you have another book in the works? What can you tell us about that book?
I do! The next book in the series is about Silas Ward, David’s friend. We meet him in Confessions to a Stranger. Refuge for the Archaeologist releases on July 18. You can pre-order the Kindle Book here.
Will uncovering the truth set them free or destroy what they hold most dear?
Wisconsin, 1930—With her health in shambles and her archaeological career on the line, Cora Davis retreats to Crow’s Nest and the home of her great aunt to heal. She doesn’t think much of the missing memories from between the earthquake that caused her dizzy spells and her trip home. Until she begins remembering the danger that sent her fleeing her last dig and the person responsible.
After a decade as a ranch hand, Silas Ward returned to Crow’s Nest to provide for the women in his life. That same protective instinct propels him to Cora’s aid. But when finances dwindle, the lies and greed of others threaten to ruin his family. Unless Silas can walk the thin line of compromise. A choice that might cost him Cora’s affection.
As winter’s chill threatens, will Crow’s Nest prove a refuge, or will both Cora and Silas have no choice but to sacrifice their chance at happiness to save those they love?
Welcome to Crow’s Nest, where danger and romance meet at the water’s edge.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
The premise behind this story comes from how we often confide in strangers our deepest secrets. We share more than we might otherwise online, on airplanes, and in other places with people who we likely will never meet again. Yet we might have a hard time sharing with people we see on a more frequent basis. It’s a fascinating phenomenon. If you’d like to read more, I recommend this article by Lydia Denworth and Brian Waves in Psychology Today.
The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Thank you for joining me today!
If readers would like to purchase a copy of Confessions to a Stranger where might they be able to do so?
If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?
Find me online here at daniellegrandinetti.com. I have all my social media links on the homepage as well as links to my latest blog posts and upcoming books.
Over Sunday Dinner next week historical romance author (and my fabulous editor), Denise Weimer, will be joining us. See you then!