Interview with Grace from On the Choptank Shores by Smoky Trudeau Zeidel

The Plot: Grace, in On the Choptank Shores, you marry a man much, much older than yourself. You were nineteen, and he nearly forty, when you wed! What the heck were you thinking? Be honest: would you have married a man twice your age if you hadn’t been desperate to get your baby sister away from your abusive father?

Grace: I don’t look at Otto as being a man twice my age. Age is an irrelevant thing when two people love each other. He and I have the same taste in books, the same goals in life, and the same desire for a strong and stable home filled with children and laughter. Yes, marrying Otto did allow me to take Miriam away from our father. Abusive or not, he was in no position to try to raise a six-year-old little girl. But that is not the reason we wed. We wed because we are soul mates and love each other dearly.

The Plot: Why did Otto wait so long to marry? After all, your story takes place in the 1928, when people tended to marry at a much younger age.

Grace: He didn’t find the right woman when he was younger. Otto always swore he would remain a bachelor until he met a brown-eyed, blonde-haired preacher’s daughter. Fortunately for him, when he found one, and that would be me, he fell in love with her.

The Plot: What do you love best about your husband?

Grace: Oh, so many things! It’s hard to narrow it down to only one or two things. But if I must, I’d have to say I love the way he charmed Miriam into trusting him, and the way he loves her like she was his own daughter. Not many men I know can love another man’s child the way Otto loves Miriam—and she loves him. She needs a stable father figure in her life, what with our father being the way he is.

(Grace gave us a wicked grin at this point in the interview.) The other thing I love best about Otto is that he is a fabulous lover. If you don’t believe me, just check out pages 59–60 of the book.

The Plot: Yes. Well. Ahem … speaking of your father, was he always physically and verbally abusive to you and your sister, Miriam?

Grace: Good heavens, no. Papa used to be such a kind and loving man. He got down on the floor and played with all of us children. There were four of us: My sister Emily was ten months older than I; she died before the little ones were born. I was thirteen when Matthew and Miriam were born. They were twins, and such beautiful babies! But Matthew died, too, and not long after him, my mother died. My father was so full of rage at the injustice of it all, and so grief-stricken, he did not know what he was doing and saying. He was not in his right mind.

The Plot: Otto had a brother, Henry, who also lived with you in the book. Henry was mentally a child due to a head injury he sustained as a boy. In fact, although a grown man, mentally he was not much older than Miriam. Did it frighten you when the two became friends?

Grace: I’d by telling a lie if I said it didn’t worry me a bit at first. I knew that Henry could have a terrible temper and become violent if he got angry. But Otto reassured me, and Miriam and Henry loved each other so much, I just couldn’t justify keeping the apart. Of course, now I wish … I wish …

The Plot: That’s all right Grace; I understand you can’t talk about it. Let’s change the subject: the Choptank River plays such an important thematic role in your story. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Grace: I love the river, so I’d be happy to talk about it. The river looks serene and peaceful on the outside; quiet. You can stand on its banks and see nary a ripple, unless the fish are jumping. Yet it possesses a strength that belies its serene exterior. Crab and fish from the river nourish and sustain the families that live along its shore. And when a storm comes up, the river can become a force of nature to reckon with, its calm waters becoming a maelstrom of whitecaps and rip currents you’d never suspect lurked beneath its glassy façade when the weather is calm.

The river, in short, is like me. I, too, appear calm, quiet, and peaceful on the outside. I work hard to sustain and nourish my family both by putting food from my garden on the table for them and by loving and supporting them emotionally and spiritually. But lay one finger on any of them with the intent of causing them harm, and I, too, become the maelstrom. I am stronger than I look, just like the river.

The Plot: Thank you, Grace, for sharing a bit about yourself and the book you star in, On the Choptank Shores. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we close?

Grace: I did promised my author, Smoky Trudeau Zeidel, I would share the links where people can reach her. Here is the list:

Website and Blog:          
Facebook Fan Page:       
Amazon Author Page:    
Goodreads Author Page:
Smashwords Author Page:
All Romance Author Page:

Thank you for having me here today. I enjoyed our time together, and I hope I’ve inspired your readers to pick up On the Choptank Shores and read more! The book is available in both print and eBook versions.


About Nyx

Podcaster, baker, zine reviewer and maker.

Posted on September 9, 2011, in Character Interview. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Interesting notion, speaking with fictional characters. Grace is an amazing character and a great choice for the interview.


  2. What a great idea! Loved getting to know Grace better. 🙂

  3. Thank you, Malcolm and Melinda, for coming by and getting to know Grace better!

  4. When I finished reading “On the Choptank Shores” I felt I had found and made a new friend — Grace. I liked her. I admired her. And, I think I learned some valuable things from her. I read many books but Grace is the one I would ask home for dinner. You did a masterful job in creating this strong character, Smoky. Have you known someone like her? OR, did she come from your imagination and creative mind?

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