"Until June" Book Review and a Conversation with Author Barbara Britton
Barbara Britton brings us another set of dynamic characters in a unique setting with a page-turning plot in Until June. The story is set in 1918 in Alaska, and even in this remote area there’s worry about the Spanish Influenza epidemic sweeping the world. Geoff an upper-class young man returns home from the war as a double amputee. He’s surly and suffering, and he needs a caregiver – someone to accompany him to a remote island lodge to avoid the flu. Josephine takes the job and is determined to nurse Geoff back to health. The relationship between the two main characters is very well-written. Their banter and arguments are fun to read! Plus, there’s plenty of intrigue with a young woman staying alone (gasp!) with a young man for an extended period of time. Subplots abound and supporting characters are deliciously written from a lecherous mine manager to a bossy sister. The reader will be able to sink into scenes made rich with well-researched historical detail.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When seventeen-year-old seamstress, Josephine Nimetz, agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge to escape the influenza of 1918, there’s enough friction to melt the Mendenhall Glacier. Her position is only until June, and it pays well enough to overlook the hardship of managing a rustic home and a shell-shocked veteran, Geoff Chambers.
Geoff makes it clear that he isn’t too fond of the “runt” sent to take care of his needs, nor of her painful mistakes. Dealing with a depressed and addicted amputee, pushes Josephine to the brink of leaving, if not for the money her salary brings.
But Josephine is a perfectionist, determined to get Geoff back on his feet—figuratively. Though, sending a rich, handsome veteran back into society may cost Josephine the man she has grown to love.
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Welcome back to Barbara Britton who is joining us today to celebrate the release of Until June. I’m so glad you could join me today for a chat. I only wish it could have been in person!
First off, for our readers here--there's a GIVEAWAY that we don't want you to miss entering. You can enter from midnight on June 12 until midnight on June 15. One winner will receive an eBook copy of Until June and a $10 Amazon gift card! To enter click HERE or on the contest image. (That link takes you to entry page run by the Rafflecopter app and provides a number of ways that you can enter!) Good luck!!
Q. This book takes place at an interesting time in our history in late 1918 as the Spanish Flu epidemic is sweeping the world. The flu is part of the plot as one of the main characters, Geoff, is attempting to avoid getting ill by going to a remote Alaskan island as he recovers from his war injuries. I am sure you didn’t imagine your book being released during a new pandemic . . . how are you adapting your release plans to our current situation?
A. Thanks for having me back on the blog, Val! Believe me, I had no idea that Until June would release during a pandemic.
Electronic books have done well during stay-at-home orders while people read to escape the tragedy around us. It’s my favorite—print books—that have seen some upheaval. The print launch of Until June is up in the air right now. Most distributors are asking for print launches to be delayed since many bookstores are still closed. I do miss in- person meetings. With book events and conferences cancelled, I miss the face-to-face interactions with readers and my writing friends.
Q. How have you been coping otherwise during this strange time?
A. I’m a Christian and the theme of my first book was “God is in control even in the chaos of life.” I lived that theme while battling breast cancer before the book released. I pray every day and trust in God’s plan for my life, even if it means my days might be few.
Now, you can’t go on social media or watch television without seeing people in need. Even in my own family, I have a Mom on lockdown in a senior community, and I help an elderly saint who is in an Alzheimer’s unit, so I try to be encouraging to people who are lonely and scared.
Jesus taught that the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor, and we see that many fall short in showing love to their fellow man. Where do I get the energy and confidence each day? From God.
You’d think I would be writing voraciously, but with a noisy home and the state of our world, my writing has slowed down. But I’m writing a Bible story that keeps me in the Word of God and I know God has a plan that none of us can see. “He holds the future,” a line from a favorite hymn.
Q. I know that you wrote this book years ago even before your popular Biblical fiction series. I’m sure you’re pleased it’s now going to be shared with the world. Can you tell us a bit about this book’s journey and the perseverance it took as a writer to keep going as you worked toward publication?
A. You’re privy to my long journey with Until June. I began writing the story in 2009 after traveling to Alaska and taking a cruise excursion to the Taku Glacier Lodge. I heard a story about the lodge and how a veteran and a caregiver stayed at the lodge after WWI. My story brain went to work, but I was a newbie to writing novels. I had a lot to learn. In fact, my first title was Left for Dead Lodge, not the best title unless you are writing a horror story. Every chapter began with characters waking up and the chapter ended, with you guessed it, characters going to sleep. I worked on the story over the years as my writing skills strengthened, but I finally moved on to another novel when I couldn’t sell it to a publisher.
Fast forward to 2019. My son texted me that someone had stolen my story. What? He had seen the movie trailer for “Me Before You.” While that story is a caregiver trope, it does not involve veterans, and it doesn’t end happily. I dusted off my story believing the time was right to give publishing it another try, and my publisher offered me a contract. You never know when a certain type of story is going to get popular. I’m glad I revised and improved Until June over the years, so it was ready to share with readers. Though, I never would have guessed we would experience a pandemic.
Q.You’ve had a very busy year with book releases! You mentioned once that you consider this release year and that you give yourself time to focus on book promotion, but of course, I AM curious what you might be working on next. Can we expect new Biblical fiction or perhaps a new stand-alone book like Until June?
A. Yes, I have been swamped with book promotion this year. The publishing business is changing rapidly. A few years ago, series were published with the next book launching six months or even a year after the previous installment. The author had time to breathe and re-set before the next launch. With the enormous number of books launching in today’s market, series are coming out with very little time in-between. Publishers realize they have to grab the reader, and their buying dollars, when the interest in the series is high.
I do tell authors that have a book coming out, “It’s not a launch day, it’s a launch year.” Promotion doesn’t stop when the book hits bookstores.
Among my book launches, I have been working on another Biblical story set in the time of King David. I do have another Historical in mind, but I have a lot of research to do before that story can come to life.
Q. You’ve been a guest here on my blog a number of times, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked you about your hobbies. So just for fun and because I’m nosy, what do you like to do in your spare time?
A. Spare time? I enjoy walking outside, or on a treadmill when the Wisconsin winter hits. I am four years breast cancer free, and my doctors say aerobic exercise is good for me. I also enjoy reading stories. Authors are told to read in their genre, which I do, but I also like to read books that aren’t Biblical fiction or Christian fiction.
And I love to dance. I grew up in the Disco era and when I moved to Texas for college, I learned to two-step. Anyone remember “Urban Cowboy” with John Travolta? Years ago, I did step classes where you had a platform and did movements to music. I loved that class, but people don’t “step” anymore, they spin. Okay, this whole paragraph dates me as a Boomer.
Thanks, Barbara! Where can your readers connect with you online?
Linkedin: Barbara M. Britton
Amazon Author Page: Barbara M. Britton
Goodreads: Barbara M. Britton
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Look for Barb to venture into Historical fiction in 2020 with “Until June.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America, and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.
Submitted by Carla Cullen (not verified) on June 12, 2020 - 8:05am
Congrats on the release of "Until June"! I'm so glad this book is finally out in the world! I remember your love of dance from Spring Fling, four years ago, when you and I had a great time dancing to those 80s jams!
Submitted by Barbara M Britton (not verified) on June 12, 2020 - 11:06am
Yes, I remember our time at Spring Fling fondly. Writers can dance! Thanks for joining us.
Submitted by Rochelle Groskreutz (not verified) on June 13, 2020 - 4:52pm
I am a history geek, and especially love historical fiction set in WWI & WWII, so I will need to get my copy of this title:). Congrats on this, Barb!
Submitted by valeriebiel on June 14, 2020 - 11:52am
You will love the historical details!! Barb does such a good job rooting us firmly in the era. - Valerie
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