Multi-genre author Susan Whitfield writes the Logan Hunter Mystery series: Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck,Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point. She authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook, and wrote a women's fiction, Slightly Cracked. She is currently writing an historical fiction titled Sprig of Broom. Susan interviews authors and industry experts on the blog. Web site: www.susanwhitfieldonline.com
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Emily-Jane Hills Orford: To Be A Duke
Emily-Jane Hills Orford loves writing about the extra-ordinary people (and special dogs). She writes
about real people and real events. Emily-Jane’s stories have appeared in History
Magazine, Canadian Stories Magazine, The Curious Tourist Guide, and Western People. She has
written several fiction and non-fiction books: Spring, Summer, Autumn,
Winter, Ukulele Yukon, Letters From Inside, The Creative Spirit, It Happened in
Canada (Books 1, 2, and 3), Personal Notes, The Whistling Bishop, Songs of the
Voyageurs, F-Stop: A Life in Pictures, Still Delicious, Amazingly
Extra-Ordinary Women and To Be
a Duke. An award-winning author,
she was named a Finalist for the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards with
her book, The Whistling Bishop,
and again in Finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards with her
book, F-Stop: A Life in Pictures.
Welcome to the blog, Emily-Jane. Have a crisp juicy apple while we talk.
Thank you, Susan. I love apples!
How many books have you written?
Seventeen books published and two in the works.
WOW! You've been busy.
Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book, To Be a Duke.
experiencing an unhappy first year of his life, Duke believes that he has found
his forever home. To Be a Duke is
Duke’s story of adjusting to life in a new home and a family that he quickly
grows to love. Life is good, especially when he learns how to be a Duke.
There are other
books on the market about dogs, about a dog’s life, about a dog’s relationship
with humans. There are even books written in first person (or first dog?),
talking from the dog’s point of view. These are similar concepts to my book, To Be a Duke. What differs is the
message. To Be a Duke encourages
excellence and positive attitudes; it presents life as one to be lived with
great dignity and great joy; it teaches us as humans to be as good as our
dog(s), to be kind, caring and loving to all of the living creatures around us.
To Be a Duke is ageless in its appeal. It is a true
story, which makes it even more appealing. Duke was adopted from a local dog
rescue group. Duke’s story awakens our compassion for ‘man’s best friend’ and
bears witness to the tragedy that often befalls these beloved pets. As reviewer
Faridah Nassozi wrote for Readers' Favorite, To Be a Duke “is no ordinary puppy story. It is a really emotional narration
that will make you think twice about your actions towards dogs, and all animals
in general. You do not know the inner workings of the mind of a puppy until you
have read To Be A Duke.”
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the
I don’t think any writer can
totally hide their own character. When I’m writing, I’m always referring to
myself is so many different ways. Even when we, as writers, say that we are
distancing ourselves from the story and the characters, we’re not. Who we are
in real life will always appear in our written work. To Be a Duke is based on one of our family dogs, so it’s to be
expected that my character would appear in some form in the book, even though
the story has been fictionalized.
What challenges did you face while writing this book?
I wanted to write this story in first person, from the
dog’s perspective. Getting into the mind of a dog is not as easy as one would
think. I spent a lot of time observing my dog, trying to understand why he
would do the things that he did. I think I was successful, as reviewer Faridah Nassozi wrote
for Readers' Favorite, “The choice to let Duke tell his story was excellent and
made the story even more touching as he narrated his experiences in the
different homes. Emily-Jane Hills Orford did an incredible job and it left me
with a new and more enlightened perspective on the life of dogs amidst the
emotions, thrills and humor.”
What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned
about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?
Never give up. Even when the
rejection letters keep pouring in. Everyone has a story to tell and everyone is
going to tell their story in a different way. Just because one publisher/editor
doesn’t like the story, doesn’t mean it’s no good. It just means that you
haven’t found the right publisher/editor. Keep writing. Everyone’s written
story is just as good as another’s. Don’t sit around and wait for the BIG
Take some writing courses and/or
participate in writing groups, seminars, workshops. I run classes, seminars and
workshops in my hometown for writers of all ages. I also teach online through
the Creative Writing Institute: http://cwinst.com/
Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a
notebook, or on a spreadsheet?
I always carry a notebook with
me. When I’m sitting waiting for an appointment (always a long wait in the
doctor’s office), I either write a story, article, or just jot down some ideas.
I don’t like to sit idle while I wait, so I’m always writing something in my
We all know how important promoting our work has become. How
do you get the word out both off and online?