Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go by Naomi Dathan

Welcome to author Naomi Dathan

From Goodreads to Amazon, Naomi Dathan is constantly recognized as an up and coming author in historical fiction. With realistic depictions of prairie life and characters who warm your heart and drive you nuts, all at the same time, Dathan’s novels are known for their, “I could not put it down” factor.
Her debut novel, Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go (Kirkdale Press), follows spoiled socialite Jem Perkins as she and her family are forced to leave their life of comfort and start “fresh,” in a sod house on a Nebraskan homestead (blizzards and butter-churning included).
She’d love for you to read it, which is why her publisher is giving away 3 digital copies!


Buy the ebook:

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I was twelve years old when I decided to be a writer and maybe twenty-two when I finished my first book.  Throughout my twenty-some year relationship with my husband, he was unvaryingly supportive of my pursuit of my obsessive and unprofitable book-writing habit, but I never succeeded in selling a book. 
It wasn’t until April of 2011, when I got the email on my phone, telling me that I’d finally sold a book.  I was sitting in the ICU, staring at my husband, lying in the bed, silent, sedated, breathing only with the help of a ventilator.
It killed me – knowing I couldn’t tell him that after all his years of encouragement, I’d finally done it.  Knowing that, the way things were going with him, Jesus would probably copy him on the email in Heaven.
A month later, when my husband was stabilized enough to be permitted to awaken, I got to tell him, “They bought my book, baby.  I sold one.”   
He was still supported by breathing machine and couldn’t talk, but he could understand.  He gave me a thumbs up, over and over again, grinning widely.  He was so happy and excited.
He passed away in October, but he went to Heaven knowing that all of his love and encouragement in my goal had paid off.   That was definitely the most rewarding experience I’ve had since being published. 
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book?
Readers from Goodreads and Amazon are telling me Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go is an experience – they felt like they experienced Jem’s life on the frontier with her – but I think the journey in her relationship with God is what makes it worth it.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
The brattiest parts of Jem are all from me, but I’m not sure about the best parts.  After a year of hardship on the prairie, though, she quit whining and became a stalwart, sturdy frontier bride.  Unfortunately, after ten years of pretty intensive hardship of my own, I’m still not especially stalwart or sturdy.  And I whine. 
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 
Some of the old-timey hymns really speak to the story for me – The Old Rugged Cross, Be Thou My Vision, and of course Amazing Grace.  But the one that really stands out is It Is Well with My Soul by Horatio Spafford.
Your readers may be familiar with the story behind this hymn – that Mr. Spafford wrote it in 1873 after losing first his four year old son to illness then his four daughters when their ship sank crossing the Atlantic.  The loss of a child is unthinkable; the grief immeasurable.  Yet he wrote that song, that claim to God’s love that so many people have clung to in the years since.  I imagine that had Jem heard that song, she would have understood both the pain and the comfort found there.
How do you react to a bad review?
If Whither were my only book or my last book, I admit that I’d just want everyone to tell me that they love it and it’s wonderful.  Since I’m writing the sequel to Whither and have others in the works, I really appreciate constructively negative reviews.  There’s so much to learn!
I can only think of one time when a reviewer was actually mean, and this was in a closed online environment for writers.  Among other things, she accused me of oppressing women.  It hurt.  I’m not going to lie.  It hurt.  I’m pretty proud of Jem’s evolution from pretty decoration to tough human.  I wrote several responses which I didn’t post.  In the end, I wrote only, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”   The interesting part of this story was that when that writer was attacked unfairly (much worse than a simple unfair review), I got mad and fought for justice.   This ultimately led to, if not a friendship, at least an enduring mutual respect that lives on today.  She never addressed the review she wrote and neither did I, but I’m conscious of the possibility that some people with different worldviews might see my writing in that negative light.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
There are ways to make a living writing – copywriting, writing web content, ghost-writing for celebrities (nice work if you can get it), but most writers share one dream – to write that million dollar best-selling novel. 
My advice to aspiring authors would be, it’s great to dream, but the fact is, only 5% of us will make a living writing.  If you’re writing, do it because it’s your passion.  Do it because you can’t not do it.  Do it because the connection between you and the reader, is manna to you.  Tell your story, sing your song.  Maybe people will hear and understand; maybe not.  But like the song says, do it anyway.
Once you make that commitment – that you’ll write anyway – then you can work on your willingness.  That life’s work you wrote?  Your heart’s song?  Once it’s out of your hands, it becomes a product.  It doesn’t matter how much it meant to you or how much you love it; it matters whether the people who have money think they can use it to make more.  Be ready to accept that, and, second only to working on your writing, work on your professionalism.
What is one book everyone should read?
The Bible.  I respect the fact that not everyone regards it as a holy book, but it is a source of countless cultural references, so an educated person should be familiar.  Beyond that, I’d love if everyone would take the time to read what Jesus actually said and did, because it’s not much like the rumors.
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
My musical hero is the gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson.  My plan when I get to Heaven is to follow her around until she goes to Jesus and asks for a restraining order.
I’ve said that too many times, though, because my 10 year old informed me that Mahalia has heard me say that, and will be greeting me at Heaven’s gate with the TSO already in hand.
Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go

For everything there is a season. A season for joy. A season for sorrow. A season for testing.Jem Perkins has it all – money, a fine house, a handsome husband, and a new baby boy. But when her family fortunes turn, Jem’s husband Seth leads her to a new home: a sod house on a Nebraska homestead.
It is a season of growth for Jem as she reluctantly confronts her new realities: back-breaking labor, dangerous illness, and mind-numbing isolation. She learns to embrace her new role as a capable woman and marriage partner and discovers an awareness of God’s hand in her life.
Then, on January 12, 1888, the history-making Children’s Blizzard sweeps across the land, ushering in a season of hardship she never expected. Can Jem’s confidence, marriage, and new-found faith weather the storm?

Read the ebook with Vyrso, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, or Google Books.

Giveaway Details:

3 people will be selected to win a digital copy of Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go by Naomi Dathan, courtesy of Kirkdale Press.
Open Internationally

Ends 4/12/12

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