Author, Spotlight

Freedom’s Call with Douglas Cornelius q&a

Hello, reader friends! Author Douglas Cornelius is dropping in for a q&a as part of a JustRead Publicity Tours blog tour and giveaway celebrating Freedom’s Call!

about the author

Douglas Conelius

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.

Visit his website.



Share your inspiration behind Freedom’s Call.

D: My inspiration came when hearing a radio personality state that Christians led the abolitionist movement. I wondered how many of our young people knew that. Researching the history of several people, I chose newspaperman Elijah Lovejoy because of his compelling story (losing 4 printing presses to angry mobs who threw them in the river, then ultimately losing his life).

I also wanted to feature a black man and found William Wells Brown, who wrote an autobiography about being a fugitive slave. When I discovered these two men’s lives actually intersected briefly (Brown was an apprentice for Lovejoy), I was excited to know I had the basis for my story. And since the real-life stories unfolded along the Mississippi River, the setting was ideal to portray a teenage boy who desperately wanted to become a cub-pilot on a steamboat (which would have been the mode of transporting all those presses to Lovejoy).

The history hence gave me the opportunity to portray some key aspects of the times: the agonizing chase of a fugitive slave, life on a steamboat along the Mississippi (a la Mark Twain), the fight for freedom of the press, the fight for God-given racial equality, and the sacrifices of Christian men like Lovejoy to achieve those. The prospect of a reconciliation wraps up the story.

B: Important subjects for our youth to remember and explore!

What are some of the challenges you faced while writing Freedom’s Call?

D: During the pre-Civil War years, there, of course, was much racism. I didn’t want to portray my teen protagonist, Brady, as a racist, but yet I wanted him to change throughout the course of the story. I portrayed him as initially “agnostic,” who even had a mixed-race girlfriend, Charlotte. Elijah Lovejoy inspires him to understand man’s true equality, and in the end, Brady is a valiant defender of freedom for all, in addition to freedom of the press.

B: Brady sounds like an interesting character.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

D: I’ve just finished some books on my current piece about Isaac Newton and his niece: In the Presence of the Creator by Gale Christianson, Isaac Newton by Mitch Stokes, Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson, among others.

B: Must get that research in!

What is your next release and/or what are you working on now?

D: My next release scheduled for spring is tentatively titled: In Search of Uncle Newton’s Nemesis. World-renowned scientist, Isaac Newton, and his niece, Catherine, lived together in London for many years during the late 1690’s. The story is about their relationship (two opposite personalities), and two other aspects of Newton’s life that are not well known: he became Warden of the Mint who had an epic battle tracking down counterfeiters, and his faith became the most important aspect of his life.

B: Oh, how intriguing!

What’s your writing style?

D: Once I’ve done a great deal of my research and have a story idea, I like to do a hand-written rough outline of about two pages. I modify that as I go along with ideas for new scenes. Often, I do not know exactly how I’m going to end the story until I’m well into it. My first rough draft is often short (25,000 words), so I need to go back and fill in descriptions and new scenes.

B: Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us, Douglas!


about the book

Freedom’s Call by Douglas Cornelius

Freedom's Call by 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.

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tour giveaway

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

Freedom's Call JustRead giveaway on Faithfully Bookish

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.

enter giveaway here

tour schedule
Freedom's Call JustRead blog tour on Faithfully Bookish

Follow along at the link above to learn more about Freedom’s Call by Douglas Cornelius and earn more giveaway entries!

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