“To those who choose the path of passion, and the costs and rewards therein.”
Two Worlds, One Destiny
Drake Weston, Duke of Northumberland, is heir to wealth, prestige, and power. But when his rage pushes him to a tragic mistake, he must leave everything behind. Not just his home, but England herself. Cloaked in a false identity, Drake slips aboard a ship bearing indentured servants to America.
Serena Winter lives out her Quaker beliefs tending the sick who arrive on ships in the Philadelphia harbor. But never before has she seen such squalor and misery as she finds on the latest ship from England. Nor has she ever met such a one as the half-conscious man with the penetrating eyes and arrogant demeanor. Though she saves his life, even taking him into her family home, there is little gratitude or humility in this man. And yet Serena is certain that beneath the brash exterior is a heart in search of peace.
Against the rich backdrop of Regency-era England and a young America, two passionate, seeking hearts find in each other the strength to face hard truths â€“ and confront an insidious web of deceit that may destroy all they hold dear.
Did you ever dream of a Prince Charming or a Knight in Shining Armor? Someone tall, dark and mysterious who whisks you off your feet on a grand adventure? Have you longed for passionate love where just looking into each other’s eyes sends sparks of electricity humming through the air? This is exactly what happens to a simple Quaker woman named Serena Winter.
But falling in love with a dark and dangerous stranger is costly. There are dragons to slay and childish whims to relinquish. Serena so easily hands him her heart, but when he breaks it, she has to learn how to love the man not the myth.
Maybe happily ever after and riding off into the sunset are fairy-tale sentiments . . . but for this man and his Duchess, they’ve only just begun to discover how wonderful life can be when they surrender their hearts to each other. My hope is that The Duchess and the Dragon will ignite your passion again – passion for life, for God, for dreams, and yes, even for fairy tale endings.
- Jamie Carie
Discussion Questions (Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t read the book yet these questions might give some of the story away!)
1.Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Have you ever seen that movie, Footloose? Well, that’s about how it was for me. My parents had very solid ideals about what I should and should not do, and I had very creative ways of getting around them. Like Serena, in The Duchess and the Dragon, I was fascinated with the unknown, the dark and dangerous side, a grand adventure. And, like Serena, I paid a price for some of it (God had a lot of grace towards me!). But looking back, while I regret some decisions, I don’t regret finding my own way. I think it was part of my path toward growing up and finding my own love for God and His church. I’m still on that journey, just like when we leave Serena, taking it a day at a time, trusting God to reveal more and more of Him in my life.
2.How did you become interested in writing?
It started as an expression of worship to God. That’s what first ignited my passion to write. At first it was just songs and poetry. Later, scribbles in diaries and journals, a young girl trying to find her way. When I was in fourth grade my dad decided to throw out the television. My brother and I weren’t too happy with him at the time, but it was during those next few years that I fell in love with books. It was then that I discovered the magic of â€˜story.’ I began to read everything I could get my hands on, from fairy tales to Little House on the Prairie to romance novels to history books. My grades improved, I started loving school and then I began dreaming up my own stories.
3. What compelled you to write a book on this subject?
I’ve always been fascinated with Moses’s story – how a little Hebrew boy was adopted and raised in the household of one of the greatest kings in the ancient world. Then, how he was molded into a mindset that was so different from his birth culture. When he lost that, when he ran away, he had to rebuild his identity. He must have felt torn at times between what his adoptive family had ingrained in him and what he discovered he was born to be, an Israelite â€“ one of God’s chosen people. We complain of desert seasons with God. Moses lived (married, had children, went to work every day) in the desert for a long time before he saw that burning bush, before he had a life-changing encounter with God that changed everything. I think by then he had laid it all down: his personal dreams, his belief that he was something special, maybe even his birth heritage. His whole existence became a flock of sheep, a wife from yet another culture and desert as far as the eye could see. That’s Drake’s story. He loses everythingâ€¦and then finds everything he didn’t know he never had. Great loss becoming great purpose.
4. What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?
Each of us begins with an identity formed by our parents and our genetics, our family heritage with all the blessings and curses that it bestows. But God has another being in mind â€“ the one He created. And therein lies the journey of our lives – Him trying to get us there, us fighting Him, and then recognizing it and then fighting some more or, for the lucky ones, a humbling, a surrendering to it. I don’t know why we fight so hard to be all that He created us to be â€“ whether it be the enemy within or the enemy without, but we do it. Both Drake and Serena have to find their way to that place of identity in Him. And it’s a glorious thing when it happens, because then the floodgates of heaven open to help us on our way.
5. Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?
Grow up! I have an index card on it with those words. I’m such a baby sometimes. Wanting what I want when I want it. Or, more subtle, wanting to understand everything before I’ll give in. Faith. Blind faith. It’s so hard for us, it requires so much trust. Drake and Serena have to grow up. They have to decide to believe in each other and the God who wants to love and save them. When they finally do, a whole new world of possibilities, eternal possibilities, opens up for them.
6. Do you have a favorite part of the book or a favorite chapter?
Ha! My editor had to tone down some of the scenes as these characters have such an igniting passion for each other. My opening dedication says, â€œTo those who choose the path of passionâ€¦and the costs and rewards therein.â€ I love their passionate scenes, when they can hardly keep their hands off each other. It may not seem very â€œChristianâ€ to be passionate, but the Bible says otherwise. And why would God create us with five senses and this ability to love unless he planned on us using them? Drake and Serena are the kind of people that â€œfallâ€ hard and fast in love with each other. Living for passion’s sake . . . it’s an inspiration to me.
7. What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?
I hate to use the phrase â€œcross-overâ€ and all the implications of that, but the world is so hungry for truth, for that ability to be frail and broken and still be consumed by and worthy of God’s love. Jesus was so real, so relevant, so much â€œthe Way, the Truth and the Lifeâ€ that He blew the minds of the people around Him. I just hope that a little of that truth, that acceptance that this life is a journey, a struggle, a road, lesson after lesson, makes it okay to be wrong and screw up. I hope it is filled with the message that we will find our way if He is leading our hearts. I don’t know if that’s different from what’s out there, but I think in The Duchess and the Dragon readers will come away with the feeling that it’s possible to really mess things up and still hear His voice calling out, over and over, to come to Him.
8. How does the book intertwine with God¹s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?
My life is currently filled with being a daughter of God, a wife, mother and writer. I started a writer’s group at my church where I’m hoping to give back, help people along the road of becoming what is in their hearts. I didn’t have that person. I’m hoping I can make someone else’s journey just a bit easier. It’s amazing what a reached out hand can do.
9. Do you have a favorite Scripture verse? What is it and why is it important to you?
Currently, Proverbs 3:5-6 â€œTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.â€ That whole chapter is good. Who says there’s not an â€œowner’s manualâ€ for life?
10. Are there any authors that either influenced you personally or influenced your style of writing? Who are they and how did they influence you?
Moses’s story is found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua. That’s a pretty big chunk of the Bible. I think we still have a lot to learn from Moses. I also get much of my inspiration through music and lyrics. I listened to a lot of Creed while writing The Duchess and the Dragon. The song â€œWeatheredâ€ perfectly sums up Drake:
I lie awake on a long, dark night
I can’t seem to tame my mind
Slings and arrows are killing me inside
Maybe i can’t accept the life that’s mine
No i can’t accept the life that’s mine
Simple living is my desperate cry
Been trading love with indifference
Yeah it suits me just fine
I try to hold on but i’m calloused to the bone
Maybe that’s why i feel alone
Maybe that’s why i feel so alone
I’m rusted and weathered
Barely holding together
I’m covered with skin that peels and
It just won’t heal
The sun shines and i can’t avoid the light
I think i’m holding on to life too tight
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust
Sometimes i feel like giving up
Sometimes i feel like giving up
I’m rusted and weathered
Barely holding together
I’m covered with skin that peels
And it just won’t heal
The day reminds me of you
The night hides your truth
The earth is a voice
Speaking to you
Take all this pride
And leave it behind
Because one day it ends
One day we die
Believe what you will
That is your right
But i choose to win
So i choose to fight
11. When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
My eight-year-old likes to shop which follows along with my inclinations:). Of course, he likes to go to the dollar store and buy cheap toys that last a week, while I like to go to Macy’s and buy expensive shoes that last a summer. I guess it’s the same kind of thing, at least that is what my husband claims. But seriously, we have fun playing Texas Hold’em with our teenage boys (I rarely win!). We love to swim together, go on vacations, sit on out on the deck and talk â€“ don’t you love summer time? As the boys are getting older, I find myself clinging to any moments of conversation, any peek into their minds and hearts. It all goes by so fast; I sometimes catch my breath and hold it, hoping I’ll stop time and they’ll look up at me again with those little boy eyes that think I’m their world. But all that is slipping away as they become men, young men that I’m so proud of. Okay, have to stop now or I’ll be sobbingâ€¦
12. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few of our questions. As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?
You know, I wanted to become a â€œpublished authorâ€ for a long, long time. I don’t know all the reasons behind that, or if they were right or wrong, but I know I couldn’t quit trying. I read an article recently from a published author and she said not to expect it to be the â€œend allâ€ and the validation of yourself. She said it will not live up to your dreams. It sounded like a grand disappointment to her! I think she was trying to say that only Jesus can give us that fulfillment, and I get that, but I also believe she was wrong. Living your dreams and fulfilling who God called you to be is very fulfilling. It can’t take the place of God in my heart, that would be idolatry, but it can be beautiful and wondrous and fun. We can, as Christians, enjoy fulfilling our purpose without guilt or shame. Because our glory is His glory, like the moon reflects the light of the sun, so can we, reflect the light of His Son. We can call attention to Him and say, â€œGreat is the Lord our God, who lives above the circle of the earth, who calls out our name and wills beauty and restoration and all good things into our lives for the benefit of His creation.â€ That’s all I want.
Great article on Quaker history and beliefs – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_Society_of_Friends
Another informative site on Quaker beliefs – http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/~wking/blair/friends.htm
Official website for Alnwick Castle in Northumberland – http://www.alnwickcastle.com/ This is still the home of the Dukes of Northumberland.
Location of Alnwickin the UK. Another interesting site about castles -http://www.castlegate.net/CASTLES/alnwick/
Check back soon – more to come!