“The Floating Palace” by JoAnn Carter

Step Aboard the S. S. Ticonderoga

ELLIE DUNKLING’S life long dream has been to work on one of Lake Champlain’s steamboat, the Ticonderoga. There’s only one problem. Men, not women, are hired to work on ships. Ellie, however is determined to change that. After all, it is 1923 and far from the dark-ages.

Captain PHILIP LAWHORN is a man’s man. When Champlain Transportation Inc. informs him a woman has been hired to work on his ship as stewardess, he’s anything but pleased. First, he doesn’t appreciate the fact someone’s hired on his twenty-eight-member crew without his knowledge. Secondly, how is he supposed to handle this company mandated—sure to be—disaster?

If I’ve learned anything through writing it’s that like in life, you never know what (or who) God will use. A few years ago, Glenn’s family came up for a visit and we went to the Shelburne museum for the first time. As soon as I stepped aboard the S. S. Ticonderoga, I fell in love with it. One fact totally captured my imagination. In 1923, the first female stewardess was hired. It didn’t take long for seeds to be planted for this book, The Floating Palace. 

Fast forward a few months…

Our family was invited to dinner at a family in our church. I don’t even think host realizes what a blessing this was for me. We went downstairs to see his “toys” when a box caught my eye. He said someone in the family had given it to him, it was a treasure chest of information about… can you guess? Yup, the Ticonderoga and 1923. He let me take this box home and I was able to look through headlines of newspapers and such. That box was like an energy drink for my story. It helped me get a clearer picture of the life and times.

Guess what else I discovered about 1923? A member of our church was born this year. When I first started asking her questions about what she might know of this time period, I didn’t realize this was the year of her birth. Isn’t it just like God to give us sweet surprises like that? In honor of Betti, I used a derivative of her name, Ellie Dunkling. Betti is such a remarkable woman and tremendous role model for me. Although her life experiences varied greatly from the main charter in The Floating Palace, they both share the same spunk. With Betti’s help, the rest of the cast was set in motion as I asked her what names were popular in Vermont when she was a girl. After our visit, I sat down with the list and chose the names according to the role they played in the story. It’s a special memory for me and I enjoyed working with her on this project.

God’s hand has guiding this story since the very beginning. I’m praying that He would continue to do so to accomplish His great purposes… in my life and in the lives of others.

JoAnn Carter lives in Vermont with her wonderful husband of 18 years, four children, and their Golden Retriever. In the past she has worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse, an apple orchard guide, and as a substitute teacher.

Currently, she is a home-schooling mom. For the past two years she has written and recorded in the studio on-air reviews for her local Christian Radio station, The Light Radio Network. She also enjoy speaking at schools, local libraries, and Churches.

The goal of JoAnn’s writing ministry is to be a blessing to her readers. She prays that the characters’ lives and the lessons they learn throughout the story will strengthen each reader’s faith.

To learn more about her books, please visit http://home.comcast.net/~jo.glenncarter/site

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