rorys promise

As the Christmas season draws near and fall semester comes to a close, Christmas shopping is sure to be on our minds. “Rory’s Promise” is a perfect gift for younger siblings, nieces, nephews or for children you might babysit for. Main character Rory Fitzpatrick is a gutsy, quick-witted, young orphan who will do everything to stay with her younger sister, Violet. The two sisters, along with many other orphans, live at the Foundling Hospital in New York City run by nuns. When the head nun, Sister Anna, decides to send Violet and a group of other orphans west to find new homes, Rory secretly follows to keep her promise to her sister to stay together at all costs.  If you’re looking for a fun and educational gift for a young person in your life, or are interested in the history of America’s orphan trains, this book is sure to pique their curiosity.  (Further reading on this subject geared toward college-age students is “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline.)

Interview with Michaela MacColl:

What motivated your interest in writing children’s books — specifically historical fiction for kids?

MM: I have two kids, who were at the time four and six years old.  I wanted to get them interested in traveling in a way that was appealing to young kids like them.  So, writing about famous historical characters in a variety of locations in time and place seemed like a good approach.

Do you think you’ll ever write a novel geared toward young adults or even adult fiction in the future?

MM: Middle grade and young adult fiction are actually the only two genres that are growing right now.  I am very comfortable continuing to write in these genres.  I particularly love working with people in children’s publishing, who are for the most part extremely pleasant and happy individuals.  I also love the direct writing style involved in books for children around the ages of nine to 12, in which the author must get right to the point of the story.  Writing historical fiction in the perspective of a child is such a different vantage point to delve into, as they see the world in a simple, more straightforward light.

What are you working on next?

MM: I have been signed on by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights, to complete a trilogy of these “Hidden Histories,” starting with “Rory’s Promise.”  My next book in the series will focus on Dred Scott’s oldest daughter during the first few months of the Dred Scott case trials.  I also write niche-appropriate young adult novels, the latest of which is called “The Revelation of Louisa May,” coming in April 2015.  This is my third book in my literary mystery series with Chronicle Books. I am currently dividing my time between two different series and two different publishers, so I am always busy writing.  I’ve always enjoyed learning more about famous people and how they grew up to be that way.

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