Talkshow Thursday: Meet Rochelle Addams
I love the research aspect of writing a novel. Not surprising. I’m a huge history geek. The more factoids I can find the better. My next favorite part of writing is developing my characters. In fact, I typically create an entire biography for all primary and secondary characters; from birthdates and physical attributes to hobbies and fears. Love’s Allegiance was no different, but this time, I found the perfect photograph that encapsulates my vision of Rochelle Addams, my female protagonist.
Now, you get to meet her, too.
LM: You are from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Can you tell us a bit about what it was like to grow up there, and how was that different from life at Shady Hills?
Rochelle: It is a lovely small town, with just under 6,000 people living there. Did you know the town was named for the mechanics who made and repaired Conestoga Wagons in the 1800s? Railroad tracks go through the town, so there is a constant stream of trains which makes it a bit noisy, but it’s fun to see all the lines going through on their way to delivering everything from fruit and coal to newspapers and ice. There are lots of troop trains that pass through as well. The boys usually yell out the windows and waves. Some of the girls go down to the station and blow kisses and wave back. We also have a small amusement park called Willow Mill, and they added a new carousel, a whip, and a couple of new kiddie rides.
LM: With just about all the guys your age off at war, what was the social scene like?
Rochelle: In one sense, it was very dull because there were very few boys my age or even a little older around; no one to date on a steady basis. However, because of the Naval Supply Depot coming in 1942, there were lots of sailors coming and going. Some of our friends volunteered as junior hostesses with the USO, but that wasn’t for me. It was hard knowing they were going overseas to fight and maybe lose their lives.
LM: Everyone “did their bit” for the war effort. How did you serve before going to Shady Hills, and what was your favorite activity?
Rochelle: I was part of the local pen-pal club. A bunch of us would get together once a week and answer all the letters we received from local boys who’d gone into the service. I enjoyed that the most because I liked sharing news of what was happening in town or at church. I also rolled bandages for the Red Cross, and of course, collected scrap like everyone else.
LM: Do you consider yourself brave or foolish leaving everything you knew to pursue a potential marriage of convenience?
Rochelle: A little of both, I suppose! I made the decision quickly and agreed to move immediately so I couldn’t change my mind. Here I was one day complaining to Claire that there was no one to marry, and only a few days later I’m in an expensive car being chauffeured to meet a prospective husband. But I didn’t feel I had anything to lose by exploring the possibility.
LM: What were your first impressions of Irwin?
Rochelle: That he was uncertain and unhappy. He is a handsome man, someone any girl would think was attractive, but he was frowning when I stepped out of the car, and his expression didn’t change must for most of my first day.
LM: What was it like working at Shady Hills?
Rochelle: Initially, it was very difficult. Many of our coworkers didn’t like Irwin because of his conscientious objector status, and I was guilty and unlikable by association. But Lester was a nice man, and he befriended both of us. Eventually, most people accepted us. The work was very rewarding, working with people less fortunate than ourselves. The patients were dear, and I grew to love quite a few of them.
LM: Where can readers find your book?
|Cover Reveal Coming
Love’s Allegiance: With most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.
Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.
Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?
Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.