Thursday, May 14, 2015

Society of Literary Ladies // Natalie

     Hello friends! For this month's installation of the Literary Ladies interviews, I'm tickled to present to you all a dear friend, Miss Natalie. I've been reading Natalie's blog, Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens for a while now, and have been so blessed to get to know this sweet girl! She's like the Anne Shirley of my circle of blogging friends. :-) Her blog is a haven of literary characters, photography, vintage-everything, and all sorts of delightful things. Do have a look!

   And now, here's Natalie:

Introduce yourself! Tell us your name, your age (if you don’t mind sharing), three of you biggest passion and one thing you love about May.

  Hello! My name is Natalie, I am 16 going on 17 (no, of course I didn't sing that aloud, who do you think I am?) and love reading, writing, and photography.
Hmmm...May...I love that spring is finally here and it's becoming warm and flowery and fresh outside.  :)

 Where is home for you? (Be as vague or specific as you like.)

  I live outside of a lovely small town in Michigan, but home is where my family and familiar objects are. I recently moved, so it was a little hard adjusting to a new house and place, but it has finally felt like home for awhile now, and I'm so happy here. :)

 What is your current situation academically? (For example, what grade are you in, are you homeschooled, our of school, go to public school, or take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt.)

  Haha, the last option. ;) Just kidding, I am a  homeschooled high school junior (11th grade).

 What would you describe your writing style as?

Hmm.....I'm not sure. Quiet, simple, and emotion-driven, I think. (I'm still trying to "find" my writing style, so forgive my weak answer! :))

 Is there one author who has particularly influenced you in your writing?

  Not really, although I have many favorites. L. M. Montgomery, Jane Austen, Maud Hart Lovelace, Jennifer Erin Valent....shall I continue?

 Favorite book series?

  Oh, goodness. What a hard question. I will list three of my favorites:  The Anne of Green Gables books, The Betsy-Tacy series, and the A Life of Faith: Millie Keith books.

 Favorite childhood book?

Any of the American Girl books, namely Felicity and Samantha.

  I know it can be hard sometimes for us bookish personalities to pick a favorite author, but if you had to choose just one, who would you pick?

Uuugghh....all these questions are so hard! Emma, how can you ask these things??
I'm going to say L. M. Montgomery. Although I have many favorites.

 What’s your favorite book that’s been made into a movie? How do you feel about the film adaptation as compared with the book?

Probably Anne of Green Gables. The book is so wonderful, and the movie version is perfect. I know I don't even have to say which  movie version, because there's only one perfect one. :) Anyone who says otherwise….well, let’s just say I will try to be civil.

 Who is one literary character you feel you are most like?

I really related to Emily Webster in Emily of Deep Valley, by Maud Hart Lovelace. She is quiet, reflective, kind, and caring of others. She felt different from all the other girls her age, which I have myself felt many times at different churches my family has attended and such. I have a close group of friends now that I didn’t have quite as much when I first read the book, but I still feel for her. I just think she and I would get along quite well in real life. :)

 Where is your favorite place to read? What about writing?

I read just about anywhere, but my favorites places would be in bed or outside in the sun-or shade depending on the weather! To write, I prefer sitting in my bed (sometimes even at night with a flashlight because I can concentrate best when there is absolutely NO noise or family members moving about, haha).

  Do you normally write first drafts on a computer, or do you prefer old-fashioned pen and paper?

So far in my illustrious writing career (ahem) I write my first draft on pen and paper. If I can ever finish a whole story, then my second draft will obviously be on the computer. :)

  Be honest: what is your handwriting like?'s better than it used to be but I can still see room for (a lot of) improvement. Especially in my cursive. I tend to write fast (too fast) and my letters end up scrunched and slanted and pretty illegible. If I take my time, however, it can look pretty decent. :)

  How long does it generally take you to read a good book? (Of course I know it depends on just HOW good it is, but in general.)

A week, perhaps? Of course less if I have time and it's a REALLY good book.

  What’s your record time for finishing a book?

Oh goodness. I really don't know! I could tell you my record time for taking the LONGEST to read a book (Les Miserables, about 6 months). But as for the quickest time....well, I've  read an American Girl 6-book series in one day when I was about 10...but that doesn't really count since the books are so small. Does it?

  Name five of the best books you’ve ever read that you recommend to other fellow bluestockings.

-Rubs hand with glee-
If you like World War 2 and nurses, I'd recommend With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin.
If you like the South, tense drama, sisters, and a sarcastic, funny heroine who gets herself into trouble  nearly every day, I'd recommend Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent
If you like the early 1900’s, sweet "growing up" stories, and funny, girlish escapades, then you must read the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace.
If you like a dramatic, sweeping tale from the first person perspective of a quiet governess, you have to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. (trust me, the book is better than ANY of the movies!)

Okay...I've been staring at my bookshelf trying to pick only one more book to recommend, when I could easily recommend a thousand more........

If you’ve never read the Little House on the Prairie books then you should do so as soon as possible. Childhood is not the same without them, and if you still haven’t read them, then you are missing out on one of the best things ever,

 Tell about the things you think are most important in a good novel.

I love a story that has a relatable hero/heroine with great character development. I think the characters are usually the first thing I notice in a book I'm reading for the first time-if I don't connect with the characters, I probably won't connect with the book. I also think writing style can be important, especially in the first few pages. If the first chapter is draggy and boring, it'll take me longer to get into the story. And, of course, the plot should be exciting (or at least interesting) and not have any disappointing anticlimaxes or anything!

  About what age did you start writing stories? Do you still have your early works?

I started writing stories pretty much as soon as I could write! I still have many early "books" I wrote (complete with an illustration on every page, of course, haha) and love to look through them and read them. It's encouraging to see how far I've come in my writing since I was about 7 years old. ;) hahaha

 Are you currently working on a novel/story/project?
Yes, I am! I know I've talked too much about this story in all my recent writing interviews, but I'm currently writing a loose retelling of The Princess and the Pea. I'm about halfway through, yay! :)

Thank you SO much for interviewing me, Emma! I enjoyed all your questions and am honored to be featured on your blog!


Thank you, Natalie!


  1. Awwww, Emma, your little introduction at the beginning was SO sweet! You made my blog sound so much more delightful than I feel it is, but no matter. I love the compliment! :) And the pictures you chose were darling. I especially love the Anne one you used as the opening picture and the one of the little girl with Felicity next to my answer about American Girl. :)
    And you likened me to Anne Shirley?!?! I can die happy now! *joyful sigh*

    1. Natalie, you're very welcome! I happen to think your blog IS delightful. :-) (I just visited the other day, and squealed when I saw your new header! It's lovely!)

      Haha. Well, you have the red hair. ;-P

      I really enjoyed reading your interview-- and you know, you're the first writer I've heard of who prefers to write first drafts on paper! I've always done it that way, though lately I've done more writing on my laptop, but I think it'll always be easier for me with a pen. :-) Anyway, it made me smile when I read that!


    2. Thank you! I'm glad you like the new look! :)
      Really? I'm glad it made you smile! I've never actually tried writing a first draft on the computer, because I just find it more natural and less distracting to write in a notebook. :) I guess because I've always done it that way!

  2. Eeeep, you did this! I'll admit that I squealed a bit;)

    What a fun interview!

    I keep hearing the name Maud Hart Lovelace…seems I must check her out:D

    I know how you feel about handwriting, haha. I'm all, "It's okay, but not great." ;)

    I'll have to check out some of those books you mentioned!

    Again, so excited you did this!:D

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
      YES! Do try her books....they are SO delightful!

  3. Oh Natalie, I love Emily Starr so much! I got excited to read that there's someone else out there who enjoys the Emily books as much as I. I love how she loves using itallics, because I do too. :-) And oh, the mean aunts!

    Lucy Maud Montgomery is the best. I chose her too, for that answer. :-)

    I love how you said that a childhood isn't the same without Little House. Because it's SO true.
    And Jane Eyre - I LOVE THAT BOOK SO FREAKING MUCH. I haven't seen many TV adaptations, but I know none of them will be able to outshine the book.
    I'll have to check out the other books you mentioned! (Uh-uh, my to-read lists has just lengthened.)

    Lovely answers!
    ~ Naomi

    1. Whoops, did you think I meant Emily Starr? I was writing about Emily Webster from Emily of Deep Valley in my interview. :) I have read the Emily Starr books before, though! I can't say she was my favorite, but it's been QUITE awhile since I read them, so my opinion may change! That happened to me with Rilla of Ingleside-I didn't care for it the first time I read it, but when I read it again it sky rocketed to the top of the list! :)
      Yes!!! Little House and Jane Eyre-SUCH good books. You're quite right about the movie adaptions-I've seen several, and while I like a few of them quite a lot, NONE even come close to the amazing-ness that is the book! :D

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  5. Natalie,
    This was great fun to read! :)

    "Quiet, simple, and emotion-driven" - I simply love the way you describe your writing style! Romantic, dramatic, simple, dark styles can be so much fun to play around with, don't you think?

    "With Every Letter" - It's just like a Cherry Ames book for grown-ups! Well, you know what I mean. :) Personally. I don't think one could ever "out grow" Cherry Ames. :)

    Good old Jane Eyre! :) Shirley will always be "my" Bronte, but Jane Eyre is so good and such a classic that I need to read it again soon! Have you ever seen the - let me see - the '85 BBC version of Jane Eyre? I (and for this particular story) more tellingly Heidi, think that (excepting a few miscastings of minor characters :P), it is quite good!

    1. Thank you! :)
      Yes, you're right....although now that I think about it I'm not sure even my description of my writing style fits how I write.....I don't know why I have such a hard time describing my style! It's certainly not dark or very dramatic like Charlotte Bronte. Hm. I guess when I get around to posting snippets of my novel, I can let my readers tell me what my style is like! :)

      Yes! I totally agree-Cherry Ames could never be "to young" for anyone, but With Every Letter is definitely for more of an older audience....not that it's bad in any way! :)
      I have yet to read anything else by Charlotte Bronte, but I'll have to keep Shirley in mind! Thank you for telling me of that Jane Eyre version! I have not seen it, but want to very much! :) Thank you!

  6. (Okay. Something really awkward happened with my last comment there. :P Dear, dear. Not to be confusing....but I'm cutting and pasting and we'll see if we can get this a little clearer.)

    So Natalie dear! I loved reading your answers!! Quite entirely delightful. :) I read our family's Betsy-Tacy books so many times growing up that the covers started falling off ;) and Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite of favoritest books.

    And oh, yes, Les Mis! You know my deliciously fat copy? (Yes, I know you do....'cause we match. ;)) Anyhow, the summer I (started) reading it (and yes, it took me about six months to finish!) we went on a hike in July for my brother's birthday, and I actually stowed it in the child pack that my dad was wearing (carrying my at-the-time youngest sister). When we reached the lake at the top, I pulled it out and climbed onto a big rock and sat reading it. (I actually have a picture to prove it. ;D) It was a lovely, memorable experience and my dad couldn't believe that he'd carried it all the way up the trail! :P

    1. Heehee, I noticed that with your comment. Glad you got it work! :)

      Betsy-Tacy is SO wonderful. I've only read them once or twice since discovering them but I sorely need to reread them.I don't think they'd ever get tiring! :)

      Right! I almost forgot, but then I remembered we have the same copy!
      Hahahaha, what a funny story! That book is SUCH a brick. :P It was definitely the longest and most daunting book I ever read.

  7. Natalie! What a lovely interview :-)

    I've only recently discovered the Betsy-Tacy books, but they are so good that I am rapidly collecting them. They're delightful!

    Samantha has always been my favorite American Girl, and Molly and Felicity tied for my second-favorite :-)

    As a teen, I did my best writing in bed at night. Now I do my best writing after my kids are in bed! Hee. It really is difficult to write with lots of distracting family members about, isn't it.

    I like Sarah Sundin's books, but I haven't read With Every Letter yet, so I'm glad to hear it's good!

    Jane Eyre is my fave book ever. I think you knew that :-) It's so rich!

    "The Princess and the Pea" is one of my favorite fairy tales. Best of luck with your retelling! Are you taking it into a modern setting or putting some other twist on it? Or a straight fairy-tale-setting retelling?

    1. Why, thanks! :)
      And I'm so glad to hear about another Betsy-Tacy fan! :)

      Yes! I like to be able to "zone in" on my book and I really can't do that if my family is making noise or trying to talk to be about something. :) haha

      Oh yes, it's VERY good. I really fell in love with the two main characters a lot. :) Do read it sometime!

      Ahhh, Jane Eyre. I only read it last year and yet I'm dying to read it again. It's SO beautiful.

      Thank you! It's a medeival/tudor era styled story but it's set in a made up kingdom-I don't have to worry about historical accuracy and such quite as much that way. :) I plan on sharing some character profiles and snippets on my blog soon, so keep an eye out! :)

    2. "With Every Letter" is on my to-read list, so maybe later this summer.

      Made-up settings for the win! I like making up mine too, usually grounded in history like set in the old west, but not an actual town or city. Much easier that way.

    3. Yes! Definitely makes it easier. :) You can be totally creative and not have to worry about researching every last detail or messing up a historical event. :)


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