Writing historicals is a way of time traveling and connecting with the past. Rather magical, really. Being drawn to the paranormal, I can’t resist adding a ghostly touch to some of my stories, but the history is carefully researched. I also write actual time travels. To date, I have 1 short story, 3 novellas, 9 novels, and two works of nonfiction published either by The Wild Rose Press, or myself. I greatly value my editor and publisher, but sometimes I enjoy the freedom of writing whatever and however I want.
Daughter, Elise, formatted my nonfiction titles for print, also historical/paranormal novel, Somewhere My Love, (won the 2008 Preditor’s & Editor’s Readers Poll for best Romance Novel) the first book I had published with the Wild Rose Press. I later took back the rights and expanded the story. Elise does my Indie covers. Mom assists with editing, as do friends.
I have several critique partners. But when it comes to creating a story, I mostly talk amongst myselves. Authors are a little crazy. I have a theory about writers, those who are on medication and those who should be. Characters are all important and I’ve learned to listen well to them, because if I don’t, they won’t speak to me. How authors who plot out every step of their stories in advance manage, I don’t know. I try to plot. I do. Then I start writing and the story doesn’t go as I’d foreseen. EVER. I do my research, so I have a reasonable idea of what is and isn’t possible in a particular era. When the characters depart from the norm, at least I know what the norm is. And heroes and heroines by definition invariably march to their own drum.
I suffered the worst writer’s block of my life midway through Traitor’s Legacy when I failed to heed the characters. There was nothing for it, other than to wait until the muse returned. I even wrote a different story in the interim, time travel romance, Somewhere in the Highlands, the latest in my Somewhere in Time Series (awaiting its sequel). My editor must’ve despaired of me ever getting back to her with the manuscript for Traitor’s Legacy, and was delighted when I did.
To appreciate Traitor’s Legacy, I must first touch on its predecessor, award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King (ranked third in the top ten BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books of 2009 at Publisher’s Weekly, voted book of the week at Long and Short Reviews, and on the 2010 Best Romance Novel List at Buzzle).
Set in late summer and fall of 1780, Enemy of the King opens in an elegant plantation home outside Charleston, then swiftly moves to Carolina Backcountry. This adventure romance focuses on the Southern front of the Revolution and culminates in the Battle of King’s Mountain. Years before the idea for the novel emerged, I was researching my early Scots-Irish ancestors in the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains during the French and Indian War. My fascination with Native Americans led to my Native American Warrior Series. As my research progressed past the early settlement days, I kept coming across references to Kings Mountain, noting how proud the Virginia men were who’d gone over to take part in the battle. I made a mental note to return later and do further research, which launched me into the American Revolution. I’ve walked the battle grounds at Kings Mountain twice. Very moving.
One account I came across regarding my ancestor’s involvement in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, NC, was recorded in a journal by my Great-Great-Great-Great–Grandfather Sam Houston, uncle of the famous Sam and father of another Sam. To differentiate between the two cousins, his son was called Sad Sam, because his wife died young of consumption. The other Sam (not yet famous) was called Bad Sam because he was rather wild. Also interesting, the wife of Sad Sam, Mary Russel Rowland, was a copious letter writer. We learned the ‘Dear Uncle James’ she refers to in her writing is James Madison.
The Patriot hero in Enemy of the King, Jeremiah Jordan, is named for my colonial ancestor, a captain during the Revolution. The antagonist in Enemy of the King, British Captain Jacob Vaughan, serves with the 17th Light Dragoons in Tarleton’s Legion. Vaughan was such a multifaceted and intriguing character, I decided to write a sequel featuring him. It was always my intent to give both points of view regarding the American Revolution, although I ultimately come out on the side of the Patriot’s. And still do.
I’d begun work on the sequel and even had the title, Traitor’s Legacy, and basic plot in mind, but wasn’t happy with my Virginia setting. It didn’t work for the story and I wasn’t certain what would, so I set the manuscript aside and focused on other books.
Then in late spring 2012, I received an email from North Carolinian, Ann See, raving about how much she’d enjoyed Enemy of the King and insisting she had the perfect location for a sequel. Historic Halifax, NC. She also very much wanted me to feature Person’s Ordinary. So persuasive was Ann, that my husband Dennis and I undertook a visit and were given a tour of this charming glimpse into the past. I decided she was right; Halifax was exactly what I needed for the story, as was the old Ordinary. I’d been seeking just such a place. The British Legion, soon joined by Lord Cornwallis with the rest of the army, occupied Halifax in May 1781. This episode in history drew me and I read all the accounts I could find. The bulk of Traitor’s Legacy takes place in the Halifax area during the British occupation, and culminates in colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown.
While also being adventurous, Traitor’s Legacy is more of a mystery than Enemy of the King, with spies, turncoats, a coded letter, intrigue, and above all, romance. I am at work on the sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, entitled Traitor’s Curse. With Traitor’s Curse, I’m back into ghostly historical romance with a lot of mystery. In capturing a reader’s attention, I lead them back to a time and place they may know little or nothing about. It’s my hope, they will go on and do more research on their own, even visit the sites featured in my stories.
These three novels will comprise what my editor terms The Traitor’s Legacy Series. Because Enemy of the King was written before the series was conceived, it doesn’t bear that imprint. But leads the way.
Journey back to the drama and romance of the American Revolution, where spies can be anyone and trust may prove deadly–Traitor’s Legacy.
***Traitor’s Legacy is coming out on August 13th, from The Wild Rose Press.
***My titles are available from various booksellers, but Amazon has them all.
Person’s Ordinary pictured above.