Sunday, September 10, 2017

Summer Love: Character Interview of Katherine Newman from On The Rails

Character Interview with Katherine Newman from On The Rails, by Linda Shenton Matchett:

Alexis: Katherine, why did you think your boyfriend Henry Jorgensen was going to propose to you? Describe how you felt when he dumped you.

Katherine: Henry and I had been dating exclusively for nearly a year. He was a regular guest at our home for meals and family events. When he asked me to dinner at the new, fancy restaurant in town I assumed it was because he felt the date was a special occasion, and what’s more special than a proposal? I was heartbroken and embarrassed when he broke up with me. I felt like it was my fault that he was dumping me.

Alexis: Why did you decide to become a Harvey Girl. What was that experience like once you started working for Fred Harvey’s company?

Katherine: My mother was a Harvey Girl and loved it. She thought if I started over somewhere, it would be good for me, and I agreed. I was very nervous in the beginning. I had heard that Mr. Harvey’s son who ran the company was very exacting. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make the grade, but my boss, Miss Stewart was an excellent teacher, and I learned a lot. It was a very positive experience.

Alexis: Who is Pamela? Why did you think after a scene that she was out to get you?

Katherine: Pamela is one of the other Harvey Girls, and she seemed intent on creating difficulties for me and for making me look inept. Several times she made me spill or drop things in a way that seemed to be my fault. When Miss Stewart reprimanded me, Pamela didn’t own up to her part in the incident.

Alexis: What makes Eunice such a good friend of yours? How did she help you cope with your heartbreak that Henry caused?

Katherine: Eunice is a sweet, giving person. I met her on the train to Arizona, and she helped me get over my nerves of starting the new job by reminding me that I wouldn’t have been hired if the company didn’t think I could do the job. Her excitement for the opportunity was contagious. She also helped me focus on the new job, and when she became a Christian she encouraged me to pray about my hurt feelings. 

Alexis: How did becoming Head Waitress for the Harvey Girl Company change your life?

Katherine: Other than a classroom, I had never been in charge of anything, and it never occurred to me that I could hold a leadership position. Being promoted to Head Waitress gave me a tremendous amount of confidence because I gained additional skills and abilities that I could use throughout my life.

Alexis: How did you deal with the backlash from some of your colleagues who were jealous about your job promotion? 

Katherine: Initially, I wasn’t very mature about their behaviors, and I became aloof and standoffish to them. Eunice helped me see that the way I was acting exacerbated the situation, and she encouraged me to be firm and fair, but also friendly. Eventually, that made the relationships less contentious. 

Alexis: Who is Alice Jorgenson and why were you hesitant about working with her?

Katherine: Alice is Henry’s sister, and our families have known each other for a long time; since all of us were children. I thought she would expect special treatment because of that relationship, that I would overlook any errors she made or poor performance. My hurt feelings also seemed to surface every time we were in the same room, and I didn’t want to have to deal with that every day.

Alexis: How did you like your life in Arizona working as a Harvey Girl? 

Katherine: The geography of Arizona is very different from that of Ohio, and I wasn’t crazy about the heat, but it is a beautiful state in its own way. The Grand Canyon is magnificent, and Red Rock Country is intriguing. Because I loved my job, I loved being in Arizona. 

Alexis: Did you miss your home in Ohio? Why or why not?

Katherine: My family is very close-knit. We shared everything, so being far away from them was difficult. We wrote lots of letters to each other, but it’s not the same as being together. I missed them very much. I also missed my friends, but the excitement and enjoyment of being a Harvey Girl kept me busy enough that I didn’t get homesick too often.

Alexis: Is there hope of a happily ever after for you and Henry? Why or why not?

Katherine: Readers will have to wait and see!

Alexis: What was the most devastating part of leaving home to work in Arizona? Or was it an enjoyable experience for you? Explain.

Katherine: It was hard to leave my family behind to strike out on my own. As I said, we are very close, so it was difficult being apart, but because I made new friends that I still keep up with, and gained confidence and new skills, it was a wonderful experience.

Alexis: What lessons did you learn while working in Arizona? 

Katherine: I learned that God is in control and has our best interests at heart. He loves us no matter what our shortcomings. 

Alexis: Would you say that your experience as a Harvey Girl and Head Waitress made you stronger? Why or why not?

Katherine: The experience working for the Harvey Company definitely made me stronger. I learned how to work quickly and efficiently. I gained the ability to juggle multiple tasks and how to work with people who may be different than me. I am able to be on my own and make my own decisions.

Alexis: What’s the moral of your story?

Katherine: God is a God of second chances.

Alexis: Thanks so much for the interview, Katherine! Do you have any closing comments?

Katherine: Thanks for speaking with me! I hope readers will enjoy my story, discovering the role Harvey Girls played in taming the West.

Author Bio: 
Linda Shenton Matchett is a journalist, blogger, and author. 

Born in Baltimore, Maryland a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life—from Edison, New Jersey (named after the famed inventor of the lightbulb) and Washington, D.C. to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (reputed to be the oldest summer resort in America). 

A freelance writer for over ten years, her articles and devotionals have appeared in numerous print and online publications. A varied career has included stints as a crisis counselor, human resources professional, bed and breakfast owner, and youth center director. She is currently the Front of House and Catering Manager for a boarding high school. She volunteers as a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and as a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. 

Book blurb for On the Rails: Warren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her.  

Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known? 

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. 

But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

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1 comment:

  1. I like the chance of winning a book so I can read authirs new to me. I usually don't buy books of unknown authors. I wait for others to recommend them.


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