Tag Archives: Prairie Avenue

How Do You Find the Courage to Choose?

This is a photo of the kitchen of the Glessner House, home of the historical neighbors of the fictional Bannings of Prairie Avenue.

Before the labor reforms that the twentieth century brought, workers had virtually no protection under the law. Employers did not need legal grounds for terminating employment, and they could demand whatever they wanted from workers. If the workers didn’t like it, employers could simply hire someone else. Working in domestic service actually offered more security […]

Is Archie Shepard an Anarchist?

Olivia Newport Haymarket Riot 1886

One of Charlotte’s dilemmas in The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow is what to do about Archie Shepard. Is he really somebody she can trust with her deepest secrets? Mr. Penard, the stuffy butler in the Banning household, also faces a dilemma about what to do with Archie. How can he be sure Archie is not […]

Are You a Snoopy Neighbor?


Do you ever wonder what’s going on around your neighborhood that you might not know about? Most of us are not out-and-out snoops. But we are curious. I once crept out at 11:00 at night because someone unfamiliar was in my neighbors’ front yard and I knew they were in South Dakota for five days. […]

Better with Friends

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Friends enrich our lives, plain and simple. Whatever journey we’re on, it’s better with friends. Friends who mourn when we mourn, rejoice when we rejoice. Friends who want to hear the whole story. Friends who come alongside and make things easier. The journey into publishing is no different—it’s better with friends. I’ve made bunches of […]

What’s the Oldest Photo You’ve Seen?


Photographs transport me. They just do. Even a photograph of myself at a (much) younger age takes me back and I remember details I haven’t thought of in years. Decades, even. The way the metal cover on the radiator in our dining room warmed me as I sprawled on it while waiting my morning turn […]

How Many Days Until Charlotte Farrow?

Olivia Newport The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow cover

Five! The answer is five more days until the official release of The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. But she’s already turning up in mailboxes and bookstore shelves. If you’ve seen it, let me know! If you’ve read it, let me know! I’d love to have you share these days around the release of a new […]

Can You Wear the Same Dress Twice?

Olivia Newport The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow cover

Believe me, I was ecstatic when I first saw the cover of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Even before that, when the art director at my publisher sent me a photo of the dress they proposed to to put on Lucy. Gorgeous. I cannot tell you how many remarks I’ve heard about that dress! Everybody […]

Who Decides a Book’s Title?

Olivia Newport The Pursuit of Lucy Banning

I like to tell people the titles of my new books. I just don’t always know the titles. Here’s how it goes. A writer pulls her hair out trying to come up with a zinger of a title that will grab an agent or editor’s attention. Then you sell the project—which may or may not […]

How Many Editors Does One Book Need?

Olivia Newport Lake in winter

Over the winter I had a short-term job. I signed on for seven months with an organization producing textbooks. The project was mid-stream, and the commitment was just until the books went to press. I’ve been away for a couple of months now. Last week the printed books arrived, and I went in to the […]

Three Reasons Books Signings Are Fun

Olivia Newport The Pursuit of Lucy Banning

Last week I was in Chicago for two book signing events. Both were extremely local to the setting of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Like right on the street where she lives, the real Avenue of Dreams. Like at the neighbor’s house. Like I kept expecting to look up and see Lucy. Several serendipitous occurrences […]