Saturday, February 11, 2012

Interview with Tara Chevrestt, author of Ride for Rights

Author interviews are one of my favorite things to post which is why I am super excited to welcome author Tara Chevrestt to Flashlight Commentary to discuss Ride for Rights.

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Your heroines, Angeline and Adelaide Hanson are based on two real life women's rights advocates. Tell us, where did you first come across the story of Augusta and Adeline Van Buren?
The Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. They have a little area dedicated to women in the history of motorcycling. At the time, a mere posterboard of pictures and a timeline was up about them.

Why did you feel that the cross country journey of the Van Buren sisters needed to be told?
Well, nobody had told it, and I felt that was quite a feat, motorcycling across the U.S. when there wasn't a highway system and alone!

Have you heard a response from the Van Buren's or any other members of the family in regards to your work?
Yes. Bob Van Buren is a descendant as well as the master of the womens' website. He has responded favorably and wrote me a foreword.

Angeline and Adelaide meet several notable individuals during their adventure. Can you tell us a little about these women and why you chose to include them in your story?
I did a series on my blog the last six months and I spoke about many of these women and even posted pictures of them. Book Babe has featured articles on lawyer Inez Milholland, physician Lillian Heath, and even aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in promotion of Ride for Rights.

Being a motorcycle aficionado yourself, did you feel a particular connection with the women you were writing about?
I felt a connection to them not over their motorcycles, but over their desire to have the right to vote. Even today, women face discrimination and naysayers. As a woman who has worked most of her working life in a male dominated field, I've faced it. So I felt a connection to them more when they were fighting to prove themselves.

The Van Buren sisters are minor footnotes in the history of women’s rights. Do you consider their efforts a success?
Yes. I do. I don't consider them a minor footnote. I don't consider any women in history who struggled for the right to vote to be "minor." It takes one and all. Every little thing a woman contributes makes a big difference in the long run. I wonder how many young ladies they inspired at the time? How many men changed their views about women? They probably did more than they were given credit for, probably did more than even they realized.

Your previous publications were written with adult readers in mind. Why did you want to write this story for a younger audience? 
I wanted to keep it clean, for one thing so that all ages could read it and learn something from it, and I wanted to inspire women to be all they can be, to not be intimidated or beaten down.

Modern readers may have trouble understanding the confines of social acceptability in 1916. Exactly how ‘crazy’ of an idea was this undertaking?
It was insane. They were literally arrested for wearing pants. No joke. That's how society was back then.

What message(s) do you want readers to take with them after reading Ride for Rights?
Women can do whatever they set their minds to do. We don't have to confine ourselves to being housewives or sex objects. We have options. If two women could ride motorbikes across the country in a time when it wasn't even acceptable to wear pants, then what excuse do we have for holding ourselves back from anything almost a hundred years later?

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"The characters Angeline Hanson and her younger sister, Adelaide, are based on the teenage New York society ladies and suffragettes, Adeline and Augusta van Buran. These two young ladies actually did ride their Indian Model F Power Plus bikes from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1916, to both publicise the equality of women, promoting the cause of the suffrage movement, and to demonstrate that women should be considered for the role of dispatch rider in the First World War, with the consquence of freeing up more men for front line duties." - Lance Mitchell, Amazon Reviewer

"Inspired by real suffragettes, Ride For Rights is the amazing story of two sisters who rode their motorbikes cross country to prove woman should have the right to vote and could assist in the war as dispatch riders." - Laura DeLuca, Amazon Reviewer

"Ride for Rights is a short book since it's aimed at the young adult audience, but the characters are fully drawn, engaging young women. They're well-bred, but feisty and independent, fighting for what they believe in. Along the way they encounter love and overcome hardship, working at various jobs to earn money for gas and accommodations. In some places they're able to stay with relatives or acquaintances; in others their bed and board is less than stellar. I couldn't put the book down. It was a great read, and educational. I highly recommend it for you, your daughters, and your granddaughters--whatever their ages." - Rochelle Weber, Amazon Reviewer

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Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, aviation mechanic, and dog mom. She loves vintage clothes and period dramas and wishes she could time travel. You’ll never see her without her Kindle or a book within reach. As a child, she would often take a flashlight under the covers to finish the recent Nancy Drew novel when she was supposed to be sleeping.

She no longer writes books, but you can still read her thoughts and opinions on books and movies and articles on women's issues on her blog.

Blog ❧  Goodreads

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Format: Ebook
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Released by: Amazon Digital Services
ASIN: B0076Z6O52
Length: 155 pages
Genre: YA Historical Fiction

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Tara said...

As always, a pleasure to be here. You always ask good questions.

Janet said...

We all as women have to thank all women who fought for our rights. With out them we would still be stuck in the 1900s. Thanks Tara for bring there story to us. It sure would be nice to see younger women of today taking up the plight of fighting for women's rights. I have read the book very good too.