ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I live in a small township in beautiful,
rural Hunterdon County, New Jersey, with
my husband and 17-year-old daughter. I hold a doctorate in
Nineteenth-Century Studies with a concentration in English
literature from Drew University, but for the last ten years I
have home-schooled my daughter. She remains the best student I
My love of nineteenth-century English literature is the
inspiration for this work. While I can never hope to compare
with those extraordinary geniuses of the past, and I do not try
to model my writing style on any of them, I hope, like Dickens,
Eliot, and Brontë, to embed an exploration of social and
cultural issues in a great narrative. It is very possible that a
little of the irony and humor of Jane Austen can also be
I love hiking, biking, swimming, gardening, and traveling. I’m
also an avid photographer, and for a while I had my own studio
business. I still enjoy nature photography. Last winter I
captured a great picture of a red fox right out in my back lawn.
I’d waited 16 years to get that picture! That makes up for the
one I missed in Prince Edward Island.
I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note to share your thoughts
about the novel or about anything of interest.
Meggie Brooks by Daphne Woods. Published by Heather Press,
Books-and-Authors.net: Where did you grow up and was reading
and writing a part of your life? Who were your earliest
influences and why?
I grew up in Sodus, New York, a sleepy little town between
Rochester and Syracuse, NY. I lived 5 miles from Sodus Bay
and Lake Ontario, and was surrounded by cherry and apple
orchards. Behind my house was a woods I played in. Yes,
definitely reading was a part of my life, though not so much
writing, except literary analysis in high school and
college. But I read by the hour, and I read everything I
could get my hands on. I read Jane Eyre in 5th grade, and
Gone With the Wind in 7th. I read Dickens, Hardy, George
Eliot, Mark Twain, Willa Cather, and Mildred Walker—just
everything. One of the strongest influences on me was
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, which I even reference in
Meggie Brooks, but other important influences have been
Charles Dickens and Jane Austen (also mentioned in the
novel) for different reasons. I love Dickens' menagerie of
characters, and Austen's eminent wit. Both create great
plots and usually orchestrate happy endings. Jane Eyre is
simply awesome. Each time I read it I get more out of it. It
was revolutionary for its time and remains so today. It's
not only a terrific love story, it's a story of a woman in
search of liberty and equality. Its language is lyrical and
amazing. I wanted to write a novel that reintroduced beauty
into language, told a terrific love story with a mystery,
and incorporated the political and social issues of a
Books-and-Authors.net: Why do you write
I write because I have a story to tell and a message to
communicate. I write because I want to produce literature of
quality with real heroes and heroines who hold real values.
Books-and-Authors.net: Briefly tell us about your new novel
Meggie Brooks .
It is the story of a girl growing up in a small rural
township in New Jersey, living an almost idyllic life,
enjoying the beauty of her country environment, dealing with
her sometimes dysfunctional relatives, and sorting through a
family mystery. But that is only one side of the story.
Growing up in a politically minded household, Meggie learns
to confront political correctness in public school, college,
and the media. At first she struggles and is afraid to share
her views. But eventually she learns to speak out, to make
her voice known, and finally to lead in the fight for free
speech and to articulate the values of our country’s
founding that made America unique in history. Meggie is a
hero for our times, a conservative who won’t be cowed but
will instead fight back for truth. It is also a love story.
Meggie overcomes her attraction for the wrong man and
finally finds the right one, but before their love can be
fulfilled she must solve yet another mystery, and this one,
when revealed, rocks the nation.
Books-and-Authors.net: Who is Meggie Brooks?
She is a fictional character, but her childhood prototype is
my daughter. I based some of Meggie's early childhood
experiences on my own daughter's childhood, but she
definitely becomes her own character early on. For instance,
Meggie undergoes several traumatic school experiences. I
homeschooled my daughter since 2nd grade, so those are not
my daughter's experiences.
Books-and-Authors.net: Meggie Brooks crosses over many
genres - If you had to select one genre that best describes
Meggie Brooks what would that be and why?
I have published this under literary fiction for several
reasons. One, the writing and style is elevated. It is not
inaccessible to the everyday reader, but it is a cut above
the writing of general fiction. I have been told my
vocabulary is impressive. I was concerned with the beauty of
the language, the cadences of phrases, the metaphors
chosen—all were important to me as I wrote this novel, and
I've been told that definitely comes through. Secondly, the
novel probes political and social issues and even offers
tiny bits of literary analysis in the dialogue. I think
anything even remotely smacking of literary analysis should
be categorized as literary fiction. Third, it contains a
powerful love story but is not merely or perhpaps even
predominantly a love story, so it cannot be classified as
romance. And finally, although the reader is eventually
taken to Iraq, that is only at the end, so it is not a
political thriller per se. My novel does cross over many
genres, but I think the best category is that which I've
published it under: literary fiction.
Books-and-Authors.net:What advice do you have for other
authors working on their first novel?
I believe every author has to write what he or she feels
compelled to write. Write what you love and what you want to
see more of. Worry about publishing it later, and if you
can't find an agent or publisher, then self-publish. But
write what you write best and feel most passionately about.
Through the ages, that is what has best served authors, even
if their work doesn't become famous until after they're
Books-and-Authors.net: What do you hope to achieve with
I hope to entertain, educate, and inspire. I want people to
become engrossed in the mystery of the story and in Meggie's
life, as sheer entertainment. But I also want to make people
think about political correctness and realize the tyranny
inherent in it. I want people to come away thinking, "Wow,
what a great story, and how inspiring. Maybe if I think
global warming is a lot of hooey or that people actually
benefit from capitalism I can actually say these things out
loud!" I also want them to remember this as a great love
story, as a novel about a girl who was fairly normal and
tried to make decent choices and for whom it paid off.
There is so much literature about neurotic, dysfunctional,
anti-heroic types. There is an abundance of literature about
people who can't figure out right from wrong, or for whom
most of life is pretty depressing or confusing. Meggie
certainly has her share of lonliness, isolation, and
depressing episodes, and she is faced with temptations and a
motley collection of relatives who serve primarily as
negative examples, but she is ultimately a heroine who
figures out her mind and isn't ashamed of it. This is
refreshing in today's liberal, existential environment.
Books-and-Authors.net:What was the last book you read?
Godly Materialism, by John Schneider.
Books-and-Authors.net: What's next?
I'm working on a novel called The Redemption of Father Drew.
It's set in Laredo, Texas, and will deal somewhat with
border issues, but it will primarily be a love story. It
will also be shorter than Meggie Brooks, because editing
that was a bear!