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Freedom's Call Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway


Freedom's Call JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Freedom's Call by Douglas Cornelius, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

Freedom's Call by Douglas Cornelius
Title: Freedom's Call 
Author: Douglas Cornelius 
Publisher: Crosslink Publishing 
Release Date: October 1, 2020 
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Christian Historical Fiction 

Just moments earlier, the steamboat at Brady's command had rounded the Mississippi river-bend effortlessly. But then a sudden explosion causes fourteen-year-old Brady to fail his cub-pilot test, shattering his dream. What's more, the explosion takes the life of a family member, and now revenge grabs hold of Brady's heart. He blames a black deck hand, William Wells Brown, who flees and becomes a fugitive slave. 

Brady reluctantly takes an apprentice job for abolitionist newspaperman Elijah Lovejoy. Would Lovejoy's Christian message soften Brady's heart? Or would his fondness for mixed-race office mate Charlotte? Brady remains conflicted, and spirals to a new low. But when an angry mob seizes Lovejoy's printing press and dumps it in the river, Brady is called to escort a new press via steamboat along the river that Mark Twain would make famous. Danger lurks around every bend, whether from river pirates or pro-slavery thugs. 

When Lovejoy's fate is in the hands of an enraged mob, will Brady become more than a champion of freedom of the press? Will he ever meet up with Brown again? What role will Charlotte play? 

Based on true stories featuring the lives of two noted figures of the pre-Civil War era: Elijah Lovejoy, Christian newspaper abolitionist, whom Lincoln knew, and William Wells Brown, a fugitive slave who became a famous author documenting the plight of the slaves. 

Douglas Cornelius

Douglas Cornelius is retired from business careers at Target, Amex, and 3M. Except for two short years teaching in Alabama, he is a life-long resident of the Twin Cities, where winters are far more tolerable than common folklore dictates. His love of writing historical fiction came late in life—no doubt from creative urges fostered early by his inventive father, and now unbound from the shackles of the business world. 

With his writing, Doug gravitates to story that reveals history, as that is the most interesting way to comprehend it. A fast-paced tale with strong characters revealing a loving and gracious God triumphs any day. Hence, Doug tries to provide quick reads with meaningful glimpses of times past—stories of faith and life that transcend their historical timelines. Hopefully, they will linger in minds longer than the time it takes to read them, as therein lies success. 

A graduate of Cornell University, Doug currently serves on the Board of the Minnesota Inventors’ Hall of Fame, and when not writing, may be found in middle-school classrooms, inspiring kids to become inventors, or speaking on behalf of Feed My Starving Children. He has been married over 44 years to wife Leslie, with children Brian and Cristina, and three grandchildren. 

Two of Doug’s previous books are Award-winners:
  • 2018 Illuminate – Juvenile/YA Fiction – Silver Award for The Baker’s Daughter: Braving Evil in WW II Berlin (LPC Publishing).
  • 2017 Moonbeam Children’s – YA Fiction-Religion – Silver Award for Da Vinci’s Disciples.

Tell us 5 random facts about you we WON’T find in your bio.

1. In the midst of getting this book published, God pulled me through 3 open heart surgeries last year. He must have wanted it published for times such as these.
2. I own a patent (for an aquarium cleaning device). I had to do something to honor my father who had 180.
3. My 3 grandchildren have taken after me when I was their age—they’re not big readers.
4. My efforts to connect with emotions in my writing must be a reaction to a career of negotiating boring contracts.
5. I’ve always enjoyed driving sporty cars and reading about them.

In your bio, you say that writing came to you later in life. How did that come about?

I had always been complimented at work for my business writing. As I approached retirement, I thought why not try to expand that into something more enjoyable where I could actually teach in an interesting way.

What type of research goes into creating your historical fiction stories?

Reading 3 or 4 biographies about the actual people I’m incorporating into my story comes first. Another book describing the period is important. Of course, I also supplement as needed with on-line searches.

Freedom’s Call is based on a true story. Did you attempt to keep it as close to the real life events as possible, or were creative liberties taken to help create a better story?

In my historical fiction writing, I try to challenge myself to stay as true to the lives of the people as possible. Where I go beyond what is known, I strive to be consistent with what I perceive their character to be. In Freedom’s Call, I was fortunate to find two famous people whose lives were actually connected for a short time (Elijah Lovejoy and William Wells Brown).

Can you tell us a little bit about Freedom’s Call?

The story takes place during the rough period before the Civil War when there were slave states and free states. Elijah Lovejoy was a newspaperman at the very border of this unrest—southern Illinois. His Christian beliefs drove his abolitionist position. Unruly mobs fiercely opposed his writing and four times deposited his printing presses into the Mississippi River. William Wells Brown, a young black man, worked as an apprentice for Lovejoy. He later fled and became a fugitive slave.

The fictional part of the story involves my inserting Brady (white teen) and Charlotte (mixed-race) into Lovejoy’s office. Brady’s real dream was to become a steamboat cub-pilot. On his final test, however, an explosion kills a family member. Brady seeks revenge against W. W. Brown, who happened to be over-stocking the steam boiler.

Several chapters are devoted to Brown’s experiences as a fugitive slave, as he described in his autobiography.

His cub-pilot dreams cast asunder, Brady becomes enmeshed in Lovejoy’s life defending freedom of the press (while also developing a romantic interest in Charlotte).

As Brady tries to protect presses being transported via steamboat, the reader is pulled into the river life described by Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi.

An opportunity for reconciliation between Brady and Brown presents itself at the end in a most unusual way.

What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

1. A realization of the real gulf in thinking about slavery before the Civil War in our county.
2. An appreciation for the horrors that fugitive slaves endured as evidenced by William Wells Brown.
3. How Christians such as Elijah Lovejoy led the abolitionist movement.
4. How the concept of freedom of the press was so challenged, yet survived.
5. How reconciliation can be difficult, but is always possible.

Are there any other projects you are currently working on that you can share?

An historical fiction piece for teens about Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists of all time, through the eyes of his niece, Catherine Barton, who lived with him in London for many years. The outgoing socialite conflicts with the absent-minded scientist as they work to chase down a counterfeiter disrupting the activities of the Mint where Newton is Warden. Sacrificial love and faith play major roles. One of Newton’s biographers asserts, “faith was the most important aspect of his life.” (Due out next spring.)

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card and a print copy of Freedom's Call!

Freedom's Call JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight September 28, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on October 5, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.



Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!


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  1. I like historical fiction and his sounds like a good one. I would pass it on to my nephew who is in middle school. Vivian Furbay jtandviv (at) q (dot) com

  2. I enjoyed the interview, thank you for sharing

  3. Yay! Thank you! - JustRead Tours

  4. Thanks for taking time to share your book with us and it's always a pleasure in our family to learn about a new one.

  5. I enjoy historical fiction.

  6. Another great book to discover. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

  7. Your book sounds like a great read and thank you for sharing it with us.

  8. This sounds like a really great read.

  9. This book sounds like a really great read.

  10. Thank you so much for taking time to bring to our attention another great read.   I appreciate it and thank you also for the giveaway. 

  11. Good Morning! Your book sounds great and I'm glad I got to learn about it. Thank you!


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