Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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Promotion in Motion: Diane Tatum and Gold Earrings

Posted by Lisa Lickel on June 19, 2012

About the Book:

Daughter of a bordello madame and an Italian captain of the seas, Angelina Mercy longs for a new life, free from the condemnation associated with her mother’s home in Boston. A former navy man, Jonathan Thomson has accepted God’s call and become a minister of a small congregation. Adrift from his Yankee heritage in the Missouri plains, Jonathan longs for a family of his own. Pursuing Alice, the daughter of the town’s wealthy patron, Jonathan believes he can tame her wild ways and accomplish more as a preacher once so established. When Angelina’s guardian and Jonathan’s seminary professor learns of Jonathan’s misguided intentions, he seeks out a solution to aid both individuals, providing a new home for Angelina in St. Joseph, Angelina and Jonathan are brought together with a strong initial attraction.

Can Jonathan ignore Angelina’s Gold Earrings, a constant reminder of the implications of her less than pristine parentage? And will Alice succeed in keeping Jonathan from Angelina? The resilient heroine of Diane E. Tatum’s novel will inspire you in this touching tale of love against the odds.


About the Author:

Diane Tatum grew up in St. Louis, MO. She started writing her own stories in elementary school. Her first novel grew out of a short story she wrote in high school. College was a detour to a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration and later a masters in Teaching Language Arts. Between degrees, her family moved to Virginia where her husband worked for NASA and she stayed home raising her boys and began writing again. She started freelance writing for magazines and church Sunday school curriculum. She also finished her first novel, Gold Earrings.

Her family moved again to Tennessee. She taught middle school language arts in Tullahoma City Schools for 11 years while putting their sons through college and helping with graduate school. She “retired” with her husband’s encouragement to write the books that she had been starting and saving on her computer. It was also time to pursue publishing her completed novel. Gold Earrings became a published novel in 2011. She is completing her second novel, A Time to Choose.

1. What do you love about this book?

I love, love, love my characters! They seem alive and real. People love my characters so much, that many have requested a sequel!

2. What’s the main thing you learned during the process of writing and publishing this book?

I learned that nothing is ever really done. With that in mind, working on my second book has been somewhat easier. If I learn about a historical fact I want to include, I stick a note on the chapter it would need to go in and move on. My first I was constantly rewriting without finishing the story! I’ve done that some with A Time to Choose, but I am trying to accomplish the first complete draft, with all its blemishes. I feel more comfortable with knowing I can go back and add when I start over from the beginning.

3. What should your readers discover and want to share with their family and friends after reading this book?

Gold Earrings is about judging others by their outward appearance.

A Time to Choose is about making choices and the ramifications of those choices. In particular, choices in general should be made with prayer and with God’s will in mind.

4. What’s been a favorite work experience you’ve had so far in life?

Teaching middle schoolers is an incredible experience. True, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the daily interaction with students is heady stuff. You get the opportunity to influence their daily life, their future, as well as their minds.

5. If you could do anything you want, what would it be?

Move up into the mountains and be able to write sitting on a covered deck viewing the vista! Then I’d like to be able to publish easily all of the fun stories I can write.  It would be a plus if I could sell them all as well!

6. What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled?

My husband and I began doing some international travel with our 25th wedding anniversary. We’ve been to England, Wales, Scotland, and France. Our mission trip to Ukraine was like stepping back in time 75 years into a completely different culture.

7. What do you see outside the closest window right now?

Outside the back door is our greening back yard with trees beginning to leaf out. It has rained, so the patio is puddled. My Jack Russell terrier, Tyler, greets me at this door with a happy bark and a happy, smiling face. The cool breeze and the warm bright sun make it a perfect day for him to laze on the brick steps and run in and out of the house.

8. What do you tell people when they ask “and what do you do?”

I “retired” from teaching middle school to be a writer. Yes, I have written a novel as well as multiple articles on the Internet, youth Sunday school curriculum, and magazine articles.

9. Where’s your favorite place to grocery shop?

I wish I could say Publix, but the closest one is 45 minutes away from my small town. While I sometimes run in to Kroger or Food Lion, most of our groceries come from Tullahoma’s Super WalMart.

10. What, to you, is worship?

Worship occurs when I am present with God and ready to hear his message. While I go to worship services at my church, I worship in many places and at different times. Reading the Bible, singing a song, seeing a rainbow or rays of sun in the clouds, or God’s creation in the mountains or the ocean brings me into His presence. The Holy Spirit connects me to Him in my car, my home, or on a deck in the mountains. Worship, to me, is anytime I connect with God through the Holy Spirit and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Writing Process

What I love about writing fiction is creating characters who become deeper and fuller as the story evolves. It’s almost like watching a movie and needing to write it down as fast as possible before the story evaporates! When an idea comes along, I write as much as I can as quickly as I can. The real work comes later when I then flesh out the story from the kernel already written. It doesn’t matter where the written portion belongs in the story; I just write “the rest of the story” around the nugget that inspired the idea.

All of the work that I do is inspired by my relationship with Christ. The themes revolve around important ideas from my daily quiet time and preparation for teaching youth Sunday school. Gold Earrings is concerned with not judging people by their outward appearance because God knows their heart. A Time to Choose is about the choices we make and the ramifications of our choices.

In addition, I do freelance writing online for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and I write about our travels, suggested assignments, my favorite small business shops. My most recent article was an assignment for Yahoo! Contributor Network concerning inspirational Bible verses for Easter.

What people are saying:

Gold Earrings released on September 27, 2011. Published by Tate Publishing, Diane E. Tatum presents an historical Christian fiction novel with lessons that continue to apply, even in the 21st century.

Her heroine is Angelina Mercy who is trying to escape from her mother’s reputation and business, a Boston bordello. She continues to have nightmares of a night when a strange dark man assaulted her in her bedroom at the bordello. Fear and embarrassment guide her to her legal guardian, Dr. Ben Graves, to help in choosing a place to start anew.

Dr. Graves is also a Harvard divinity school professor whose student, Rev. Jonathan Thomson, has recently begun serving as a pastor in St. Joseph, MO. Jonathan has also had a difficult and diverse life so far and wants to start his family by marrying Alice, the shrewish daughter of the wealthy Bardsley family. Dr. Graves encourages him to marry only the woman God provides for him, the only woman that he loves.

Seeing the opportunity to heal two hearts, Dr. Graves plays matchmaker and sends Angelina to St. Joseph under the care of Jonathan. However, Angelina’s large gold hoop earrings draw attention to her and her mother’s past and heritage. Alice senses that Angelina is her rival for the affections of the pastor; her brother Edward has a disturbing attraction to Angelina.

At the heart of the story is the problem of judging others on their outward appearance. Angelina’s Gold Earrings are a lightning rod for judgment. Jonathan’s tall, strong physique is more ranch hand than pastor quelling stereotypes about a weakling pastor. Is Angelina the right person to be a pastor’s wife with her “reputation”? Will Jonathan’s be bent to heed the demands of the wealthiest man in town, Charles Bardsley? Both Angelina and Jonathan find their faith tested before the story ends.

Diane wrote a short story with the two main characters in high school. The novel did not come about until summer of 1993. After no success in marketing the novel, Diane went back to school to get her Masters of Teaching in Language Arts in order to be trained and certified to teach middle school language arts. After a move from Virginia to Tennessee and 11 years teaching to help put her sons through college debt-free, Diane quit her day job to become a full time writer, a life-long dream. Gold Earrings is her first novel, but not her last since she has nearly completed her second, a Civil War novel entitled A Time to Choose.

Diane was born in Louisville, KY, raised, married, and had 2 sons in north St. Louis County, MO. Her young family relocated to Newport News, VA, so her aerospace engineer husband could work at NASA-Langley. In 1997, she received her Masters and teaching certificate just a month before moving to Tullahoma, TN, when her husband began a new job at AEDC facilities.

Visit Diane’s blog

and Facebook page

Tweet with Diane:  @DianeTatum

Gold Earrings Facebook page

Buy the book on Amazon

Enjoy the trailer!

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