Siri Mitchell is the author of over a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door, and the INSPY Award winning She Walks in Beauty. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As a military spouse, she lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris.
Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Siri! It’s wonderful to have you here!
Siri: It depended on my age. When I was in pre-school/early elementary, I loved the classic Arch Books which recounted Bible stories. I devoured the Little House on the Prairie series and the Anne of Green Gables series as well as Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. I also loved Sunfire Teen historical romances and the original Sweet Valley High series.
Savanna: The Little House series was one of my favorites too. I actually live a half hour away from Laura’s home where she wrote the books, so that makes me love them even more. 😉 Since you write historical fiction, can you name a historical figure you would have enjoyed getting to meet in person and have lunch with?
Siri: I’m going to succumb to impulse and say Jane Austen. I think we would have been able to commiserate together about quite a few different things and I’m pretty sure she’d have made me laugh. (Quite a bit!)
Savanna: Can you imagine how much fun that would be? 😉 What initially sparked the idea for Love Comes Calling, your newest release?
Siri: I was reading Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights and I came across a mention of ‘Hello Girls’. The term was popularized during World War I when it was used for bilingual telephone operators. In those days, telephone calls had to be put through by ringing an operator so she could do it for you. I started to imagine the possibilities of a story where the heroine, a Hello Girl, is known to the characters in the story only by her voice. As my editor and I played around with the idea, the concept changed (it always does!) and the result was to have the villains of the story known to the telephone operator only by their voices. Having a Hello Girl locked my novel’s setting into the 1920s. By the end of the decade, automatic dialers had begun to replace the telephone operator at the switchboards.
Savanna: What was your favorite thing about this story? And what was the hardest part about writing it?
Siri: I love my heroine, Ellis Eton. She’s just so different and vibrant and fun…even if she does leave chaos in her wake. The hardest part of this story was trying to visualize a telephone switchboard and figure out how it worked. I didn’t have access to a period switchboard, so I had to do some reading. And a lot of research in order to find that reading!
Siri: Paris, most definitely! I lived there from 1996 – 2000 and learned a lot about myself and God in the City of Lights. I love the lifestyle. I love the beauty. I love the French people. I absolutely love the food!
Savanna: Can you describe for us what was going through your head the first time one of your books won an award? 🙂
Siri: I’ve been nominated for several awards, but I’ve only won one (of which I’ve very proud): the Inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction. I was elated because I respect the judges of that award so much.
Savanna: Thank you so much for being with us today, Siri! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Siri: My next Siri Mitchell book, Like A Flower in Bloom, will be released next spring. It’s set in the 1850s in Victorian England. And readers who especially liked Love’s Pursuit and The Messenger might be interested in my pen name (Iris Anthony) novel, The Miracle Thief, which will release this April. It’s set in the Dark Ages of France.
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Siri has graciously offered one free copy of LOVE COMES CALLING to one lucky winner!
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March 25, 2014. Winner will be notified by email.