LaDelle & Jubilant Interview and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: LaDelle & Jubilant

Author: Cathy McIlvoy

Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian Fiction/Southern Fiction/Black/African American Historical Fiction

Release Date: August 14, 2023

Set in the 1930s, this Southern feel-good novel about a controlling widow and the troubled nephew she’s asked to care for invites you on a journey of faith and surrender while weaving in the amazing true-life character, George Washington Carver.

LaDelle Harris, a fiery 51-year-old widow and head librarian at the Tuskegee Institute, likes things her way: orderly and predictable. So, the last thing she wants is to take care of her 12-year-old nephew, Jubilant, for the summer— or maybe forever. But when her estranged brother, the Reverend Ashton Bartley, suffers a heart attack and she’s asked to look after his son, she can’t say no.

While LaDelle focuses on doing all she can to keep Jubilant from creating chaos in her well-ordered life, it seems Abel Fisher, the manager of the Piggly Wiggly, is taking an interest in her. Amid all that’s happening, Jubilant is bent on returning to Huntsville to be with his daddy.

Can a menopausal woman with a need for control and a troubled pre-teen boy make peace with God and each other as they struggle with their fears and issues? Some gracious neighbors and Professor George Washington Carver may be able to help.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

LaDelle & Jubilant is Cathy McIlvoy’s first published work of fiction and was initially inspired by her admiration for George Washington Carver. Her interest in him and Tuskegee grew as she taught her sons about this genuine man of faith. She especially wanted her two youngest, bi-racial sons to know about this scientist with his impressive accomplishments and commendable character, who looked like them.

Cathy’s desire to learn more about Professor Carver put her on a plane from California to Alabama, where she soaked up all she could and enjoyed more than one unforgettable meal of catfish, grits, and sweet tea. Her time spent on campus at Tuskegee University, including several visits to the George Washington Carver Museum located on campus, fueled ideas for LaDelle & Jubilant and continues to be a highlight in her life. Cathy was also fortunate to receive an endorsement for her book from Dana Chandler, Archivist at Tuskegee University.

Today, Cathy and her husband make their home near one of their sons in Louisville, Kentucky where she writes, and they minister to pastors, leaders, and missionaries through Standing Stone Ministry. In addition to having four grown sons, Cathy and her husband are blessed with amazing daughters-in-law, a growing brood of grandchildren, and—though calling them a blessing is a matter of debate between her and family members—two persnickety cats.

More from Cathy

“A personal relationship with the Great Creator of all things is the only foundation for the abundant life. The farther we get away from self, the greater life will be.”

-George Washington Carver.

A Note About George and My Journey With Him

Although Professor Carver doesn’t appear in LaDelle & Jubilant until chapter nine, he’s not only an important character, but the impetus for writing the book in the first place!

The truth is, I am fascinated by George Washington Carver and want everyone to know about him. Due to his accomplishments, he was often referred to as “The Wizard of Tuskegee,” “The Peanut Man,” and, my personal favorite, “The Black Leonardo.” An agricultural chemist, professor, artist and more, George was a renaissance man in many ways. Though born into slavery and sickly as a child, God had big plans for him, and George was faithful. He viewed his work as worship to the Lord and service to his community and beyond.

After doing much research about George, the South, and the history of Tuskegee University, it felt surreal to travel to Alabama and spend time where Professor Carver had lived and worked for 47 years. For several days, I soaked up all I could—the George Washington Carver Museum, Booker T. Washington’s home, called The Oaks, the stately brick buildings on campus, and the thriving agricultural area which is still used for instruction. As a middle-aged Caucasian woman, I’m sure I stood out at this historically Black university as I ate in the student cafeteria and roamed the grounds, poking my head into buildings and snapping photos.

After engaging all my senses and imagination while exploring the place George called home for most of his life, I flew back to California with a belly full of sweet tea and my mind full of fresh insight and inspiration. Years after that trip, I finally finished LaDelle & Jubilant!

I hope you are entertained and inspired by my historical, character-driven novel. I also hope it compels you to look further into the life of George Washington Carver.

Happy reading!

Interview with the Author

1)What does success as an author look like to you?

When I set out to write LaDelle & Jubilant it was because I felt God was leading me to do it. So, my mindset from the get-go was whatever God decided to do with my manuscript was up to Him. I would do my due diligence in writing and promoting it and trust Him with the results. As of this moment, my book is not a New York Times Best Seller, and no one has called to say they want to make a movie of LaDelle & Jubilant. However, I trust God is using it in people’s lives as He sees fit. Sometimes I receive comments/emails from readers attesting to this, and I’m grateful for His faithfulness. That feels like success to me!


2)Which character did you connect to best in this book?

I know there is a bit of LaDelle in me, though I don’t want to admit it! Like her, I can let fear dictate my mood and reactions, so I connect with her at some level. But the character I’m most drawn to is Henrietta. She is a free-spirit and fun, but she also has substance. Henrietta bestows grace and sees past LaDelle’s prickly side. I think we all want to be a friend like Henrietta and hope to have a friend like her. In the story, George Washington Carver is that kind of friend as well. Both characters, to me, are captivating.


3)Which part of the book was the most difficult to write?

When I started writing my book, I had never been to the South, let alone Tuskegee University. Of course, I also never lived in the 1930s and I’ve never been Black! All this required me to put in a great deal of effort to make sure that throughout my story, I represented the South during that era and George Washington Carver accurately. I’d say, however, this endeavor was more challenging and time-consuming that difficult. I wanted to be careful to represent their race/culture in a right way, so I asked some of my Black friends to read my manuscript and give me feedback. I met with the University’s archivist over the phone to confirm that my information about Carver and the campus were true. I also travelled to Alabama, stayed at the University, and visited the surrounding area so I could get a feel, taste, and smell of the South and where GWC lived and worked.


4)What inspired this book?

My admiration for George Washington Carver was my inspiration. I remembered some basic things about him from what I had learned back in elementary school. Then, as a homeschooling mom with two adopted bi-racial sons, I wanted them to learn about men and women of color that accomplished a great deal and had faith and strong character. Carver was one that fit the bill. The more we studied, the more enthralled I became with him and his life story. So, I decided to weave him into a historical fiction novel, something I believe that hasn’t been done before.


5)Which author influenced you most?

For LaDelle & Jubilant, I think there were two authors that had the biggest influence on me and, interestingly, neither are writers of historical fiction. I love Wendell Berry’s deep and rich style of developing his characters. He is concise, but his word choices and how he uses them pack a meaningful punch. Also, I appreciate Karon’s lightheartedness in her Mitford stories and how she weaves in faith and humor. Both authors have taught me through their writing.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 24

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 25 (Author Interview)

The Lit Lady, January 25

Lighthouse Academy Blog, January 26 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 27

Texas Book-aholic, January 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 29

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 30

Books I’ve Read, January 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 2

Simple Harvest Reads, February 3 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, February 4

An Author’s Take, February 5

Artistic Nobody, February 6 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, February 6


To celebrate her tour, Cathy is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.