From Book 1: While most use their summer breaks for pleasure, third grade teacher Cindy Moore is using her summer vacation to tie up some loose ends concerning her grandmother’s estate. When Cindy enters the storage unit that holds her grandmother’s belongings, she is merely looking for items she can sell to recoup some of the rental fees she’s spent paying for the unit. Instead, what she finds are secrets her grandmother has taken to the grave with her. The more Cindy uncovers, the more she wants to know.
UXSCOOPS | Amazon Bestselling, Historical Fiction Author Sherry A. Burton
1. How do you keep your books in the Orphan Train Saga series, easy to read without getting confused about the actions? What is your secret in writing historical fiction that is so consistently addictive?
I wish I had some magical answer or system that I could share so everyone could follow, but the truth of the matter is I keep everything inside my head and write as I go. Quite frightening, actually, since there will be a minimum of eighteen books in the saga.
2. What goes through your mind when you were endorsed by the National Orphan Train Complex?
I am grateful that the subject matter experts find my books to be worthy of endorsing. It is my goal to write an accurate representation of the history that surrounds the orphan trains. These endorsements lend legitimacy to the many hours of research poured into every book.
3. In 2020, an unprecedented crisis occurred around the World. Did this crisis change or inspire you in your writing for the next books of the series? Why/why not
I don’t believe anyone can honestly say they were not impacted by the events of the year. I myself admit to shutting down for a few months. The beginning of the year held so much hope for extended road trips as well as a multi-state lecture/signing tour. Then during the first event of the year, everything came to a screeching halt. Little by little, the rest of the year followed suit. I slowly clawed my way out of my funk to take advantage of the gift I’ve been given. The opportunity to stay in the writing chair and create. While the crises did not affect my work (I write historical fiction, and everything in my books has already happened), it changed me. I learned I needed to find a balance between writing full time and living life. I think I have managed to find that balance.
4. What got you started on writing this orphan train saga series?
In the mid-1850s, there were over 30k children living on the streets of New York City. Children as young as four and five who had to lie, cheat, and steal just to survive. Some of the children were true orphans, others were not. Either way, their situation was dire and something had to be done. So, between 1855 and 1929, over 250k children from New York and Boston were sent west on what was later referred to as 'the orphan trains' to find new homes. Children most people haven't heard about. I was an adult with children of my own when I first heard about the orphan trains. It is my goal to honor the memories of the children who rode the trains.
5. To your knowledge, what kind of social impact has your books led?
I am not sure about the social impact of my books; however, the inspiration for my books was The Placing out Program (what was later referred to as The Orphan Trains.) The program was the precursor to the modern-day foster care program. It helped put in place programs whose purpose was to help families stay together and instrumental in changing child labor laws to keep children from being exploited.
6. What has been the most rewarding for you personally as an author researching and writing about this subject?
When I began researching and writing this historical fiction saga, I thought I was writing towards adults. While each book starts with the person's first memory, the children grow up, and there are real-life situations. With that said, the books are void of swearwords, and there is no overly graphic content. Since Discovery's release, December of 2018, I've received e-mails from readers as young as nine, letting me know how much they are enjoying this saga and the history that surrounds it. I’ve also received e-mails from decedents of orphan train riders telling me they are reading this with their children so that the younger generation can learn of their family’s history. Finding out that people of all ages are embracing my saga is so very humbling.