Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Buss From Lafayette by Dorothea Jensen Interview & Giveaway

BeachBoundbooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the middle grade/young adult novel A Buss From Lafayette by Dorothea Jensen from April 11 - May 2, 2016.


About the Book

Title: A Buss From Lafayette
Author: Dorothea Jensen
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Historical Fiction
Recommended Ages: 10-17
Number of Pages: 266
Publisher: BQB Publishing
Publication Date: April 22, 2016
Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Clara Hargraves lives on a farm in Hopkinton, a small New Hampshire town, during the early 19th century. She has a couple of big problems. First of all, she has a stepmother, Priscilla, who used to be her spinster schoolteacher aunt. Clara resents that her late mother’s older sister has not only married her father but is about to have a baby. To make matters worse, “Prissy Priscilla”keeps trying to make the rambunctious, clever, and witty Clara act like a proper young lady. Secondly, Clara has red hair, making her a target for teasing by a handsome older boy, Dickon Weeks, and by her pretty seventeen-year-old Dread Cousin Hetty. Clara, however, has a secret plan she hopes will change this. During the last week of June, 1825, Clara’s town is abuzz because the famous General Lafayette is about to visit their state during his farewell tour of America. In those eventful seven days, Clara learns a lot about her family, Hetty, Dickon, herself, and about Lafayette. She comes to understand the huge and vital role the young French aristocrat played in America’s Revolutionary War and to see that her problems might not be quite so terrible after all.

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About the Author: Dorothea Jensen

Dorothea Jensen, born in Boston, Massachusetts, grew up in Chillicothe, Illinois. She majored in English literature at Carleton College. After teaching high-school English and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil, she earned a master s degree in education at the University of New Mexico. In 1989, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich published Dorothea s novel for young readers about the American Revolution, The Riddle of Penncroft Farm. In addition to other honors, it was named an International Reading Association Teacher s Choices Selection and is read in classrooms throughout the U.S. A Buss from Lafayette is set in the small New Hampshire town where Dorothea lives. Two things inspired her to write this story. First, was learning that Lafayette passed right by her house during his 1824-5 Triumphal Tour. Another was meeting a woman whose ancestor received a kiss from Lafayette. That buss, passed down through generations, eventually came to Dorothea. This sparked her interest in Lafayette s contributions to our struggle for independence. Dorothea also enjoys writing rhyming verse. She has written a series of award-winning illustrated modern Christmas stories in verse featuring Santa's Izzy Elves.

For more information about Dorothea and her books, please visit


Tell us about yourself.  

I just turned 70, but am still going strong. For a number of years, I was an singer/actress in amateur and professional companies.  (As a mezzo, I usually lost the hero to the soprano.) I have been having fun putting all my old skills to work with video blogs, audio recordings of songs from the stories, audiobook recordings etc. I earned a BA in English at Carleton College and an MA in Education at the University of New Mexico. I have one husband, three kids and six grandsons (whom I put in my Izzy Elf stories). I have lived all over the U.S., as well as in Holland and Brazil. People often ask me how a “woman of a certain age” has learned to create/maintain book trailers, YouTube channels, websites, blogs, Pinterest, Bublish, Google+, Twitter accounts, etc. I tell them I do it the same way I learned my way around the many places I have lived: I get hopelessly lost and stumble around until I figure out where I am. 

What inspired your book, A Buss from Lafayette?

 I met an elderly woman whose great-grandmother was one of the little girls who presented Lafayette with a posy when he was touring the U.S. in 1824-25, for which he apparently “bussed” her (a playful smacking kiss). That buss was passed down in my new friend’s family, and she passed it along to me. I then learned that General Lafayette came right by my house in June, 1825, on that same tour. This all piqued my interest about Lafayette and the immense part he played in the American Revolution. After years of research, I wrote a story about a troubled teenager who lives in my little town in New Hampshire at the time of Lafayette’s “Farewell Tour”.

Tell us about your main character.  

Clara Hargraves, 14, lives on a farm in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, during the early 19th century. She has a couple of big problems. First of all, she has a stepmother, "Prissy" Priscilla, formerly her spinster schoolteacher aunt, who keeps trying to make her act like a proper young lady. Secondly, she has red hair that makes her a target for teasing. Clara, however, has a secret plan she hopes will change this.In June,1825, Clara’s town is abuzz because General Lafayette, hero of the American War of Independence, is about to visit their state. In one eventful week, Clara learns a lot about her family, herself, and, most of all, about Lafayette and his huge and vital role in America’s Revolutionary War. She also just might find that her problems are not quite so terrible after all. 

What other books have you written?

The Riddle of Penncroft Farm;Tizzy, the Christmas Shelf Elf; Blizzy, the Worrywart Elf; Dizzy, the Stowaway Elf; and Frizzy, the S.A.D. Elf. All have won awards, I’m happy to say! 

What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book? 

As one 11 year old “previewer” said, “It’s like getting two stories in one book! I got to learn all about Clara, and to learn all about Lafayette, too.”

How did you come up with the idea for your book cover? 

I wanted it to echo the current cover for The Riddle of Penncroft Farm.  Something like 130,000 copies of that story have sold over the years, so I hoped that making the covers similar would lead people to pick it up. Besides, as soon as I saw the redheaded girl’s photo, I knew she was Clara! 

What are you currently working on? 

I am working on a story called A Scalp on the Moon, that takes place in 17th century Massachusetts at the time of King Philip’s War. (Superstitious English settlers there at the time who were worried that there might be a war with the native population swore that they saw “a scalp on the moon” that portended terrible trouble.) I’m also trying to finish another of Santa’s Izzy Elf books (which are illustrated modern Christmas stories in rhyme) called Bizzy, the Know-It-All Elf.

How can readers discover more about you and your work? 

Go to my website, It has information about my work, and also links to all my social media. I particularly recommend visiting my blog ( and my account ( for background information etc.

Blog Tour Giveaway

Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice Giveaway ends: May 2, 11:59 pm, 2016 Open to: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Dorothea Jensen and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing an interview with Dorothea Jensen. I think it's wonderful that A Buss from Lafayette was inspired by the great-granddaughter of someone who met Lafayette while he was on his tour of the Nation. It's such an interesting part of history that most people know little about.