Today the spotlight shines on..............................Anna Brent
Melanie Dobson has been writing since the age of seven, despite being told by an English teacher she wasn't such a great writer! Six published books later, Melanie has shown that passion and determination can go a very long way.
We hope you enjoy this look behind the character of her latest novel, Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana. Over to you, Melanie:~
Brief physical description
Anna Brent is slight in stature, but strong in her faith. Her eyes are the vibrant blue of cornflowers, and she wears her honey-colored hair pulled back in braids or a bun though ringlets often fall to her shoulders. She is Quaker so she usually wears a light brown or copper-colored dress with a matching bonnet.
As I was writing Anna, I was envisioning Elisabeth Smart because of her similar features and because of Elisabeth's incredible courage and strength. The artist who designed the cover for Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana captured Anna Brent's features and strength perfectly. You can see the courage in her eyes yet also a bit of trepidation because she doesn't know who else is out there with her in the night.
Strengths and weaknesses
No matter what the risk, Anna is devoted to helping and harboring runaway slaves in her home. Her devotion to this work surpasses everything else in her life including romance with a man who has been pursuing her for years. She's courageous, quietly passionate, and devoted to both God and her Quaker faith, but she's a terrible liar, and in the dark mantle of the night, she is often afraid. She longs for the courage of men like Daniel Stanton who boldly speak out against slavery.
Quirk (if any)
She's not quirky by nature, but her desire to protect runaway slaves often requires that she acts a bit quirky including breaking out into a "drunken" song along a quiet road to overpower the cries of the slave baby whom she's trying to protect.
Your inspiration for the character
I researched a number of men and women who ran stations along the Underground Railroad, and during this research, I discovered the autobiography of a Quaker woman named Laura Haviland who bravely risked her life to help runaway slaves on their journey north. Mrs. Haviland's courage and creativity was the inspiration for Anna Brent's character.
Background to the story
I grew up in a small town in Ohio that was once an active part of the Underground Railroad. My cousin’s home was rumored to have been a stop for runaway slaves, and as we played hide-and-seek in the musty cellar, I wondered what type of people lived there in the mid-1800s and why they would risk so much to help runaways.
As my interest in writing a novel about the mysterious Underground Railroad grew, we found the perfect setting in Liberty, Indiana, because multiple Quaker families had once harbored runaway slaves in that town. The story for this novel formed out of the real-life stories of people like Laura Haviland who risked their property and their lives to aid those whom they considered “friends”.
Thanks Melanie ~ it has been a pleasure reading the story behind the story :)
On Thursday I will be spotlighting Odessa St Clair & Bryce McAllen from Lisa Tawn Bergren's, Breathe. Stay tuned :)
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