Amnesia-Sleepwalking by Amber Stockton


Amber Stockton
Amber Stockton


If you picked up almost any novel in the early 1990’s, about half of them would have a theme connected in some way to amnesia. It could be the main character or a supporting character. Either way, that theme and topic flooded the market for a brief period of time. So much so, that once the phase passed, editors wouldn’t even touch a novel that mentioned the word let alone had it as a plot element.

It’s a good thing that isn’t the case today. I’ve read some amazing novels in recent years where one character suffered from some form of amnesia and loved how the author brought the story around.

Hearts and Harvest
Hearts and Harvest

One of my books that I have circulating, trying to sell, involves the heroine suffering from a case of amnesia, but over 100 years ago, it was quite a bit different than we view it today. In fact, although the term dates back to the 1600’s, there weren’t a whole lot of doctors who diagnosed it as such until the late 1800’s. When I discovered this, it took my story in a turn for the better….and more entertaining. 🙂

copper_sm2_-_copy1What I discovered in most of the smaller towns or further out west in the more unsettled areas, the average doctor didn’t encounter many cases of this. So, being unfamiliar with how to diagnose or treat a patient suffering from it, they did one of the only things they could do. They compared it to what they *did* know.

And that was sleepwalking.

Quite often, sleepwalkers act and speak in ways that are foreign to their normal behavior patterns or personalities. Then, when they wake up, they have no recollection of what they did. In many ways, they suffer memory loss.

Patterns and Progress
Patterns and Progress

In addition, most believed that you should never awaken a sleepwalker for fear that you might separate their mind from their body and cause the person to suffer far greater maladies than whatever is causing them to behave this way. From medical books of the time period of my story, there are many documented cases exactly like this.

So, when a doctor was faced with a patient amnesiasuffering from amnesia due to a traumatic experience, an injury or any other cause, that doctor might caution those who know the patient to tread lightly. Such is the case in my story. My heroine is a prim and proper lady from Philadelphia who escaped an arranged marriage and fled east, then married a successful cattle baron in Wyoming. While journeying by train to visit her uncle, her train is robbed and an explosion causes her to lose her memory.

amnesia-for-dummiesTraveling on the same train is a young woman fleeing from an abusive marriage and coming to take a job as a barmaid in a saloon. A case of mistaken identity has my heroine working as that barmaid while news of her death is sent back home to her husband. When her foreman finds her, he can’t believe his eyes. He’d always held a torch for her, and now he has his chance! Once her husband finds out, the town doctor issues the warning that he shouldn’t reveal his identity to his wife for fear that further harm than good could result. The foreman takes his boss to see his wife, but the ranch owner can’t touch her or tell her who he is. Instead, he has to sit back and watch his wife flirt with his foreman!

And so the story continues… 🙂

As you can see, time *does* make a difference in medical discoveries, treatments, and diagnoses. In the case of my story, this discovery added a whole new dimension that made the writing of it a whole lot of fun!

 Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a copy of Patterns and Progress by Amber Stockton.  

Tiffany Amber Stockton is an author, online marketing specialist and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author in beautiful Colorado Springs. They celebrated the birth of their first child in April and have a vivacious puppy named Roxie, a Border Collie/Flat-Haired Retriever mix. She has sold eight books so far to Barbour Publishing. Other credits include writing articles for various publications, five short stories with Romancing the Christian Heart, and contributions to the books: 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage and Grit for the Oyster.

 Read more about her at her web site:

+ posts

21 thoughts on “Amnesia-Sleepwalking by Amber Stockton”

  1. Hi Amber,
    What a fascinating subject. I also like your story lines about how this can come about. But making it in the 1800’s is even a better “what if”. I am putting the final touches on my first novel and have often thought about amnesia–but not for long. Your stories sound like something I would really like to read. Thanks for the blog.

  2. I have written two books (one not published) where a character had amnesia. It was really HARD. It was hard in the victim’s thoughts to erase any memory because it’s all so fundamental to who a character is, you know? Put more bluntly, I kept forgetting she had amnesia. 🙂

  3. Hello Amber! What a fun post . . . I’ve never used an amnesia storyline, but I once had a type of amnesia after a traffic accident where I hit the windshield. I always wear my seatbelt, but I must have forgotten. Anyhow, I had the kind where you can’t retain info, so every three minutes I asked the same 3 questions: “What happened? Was there an accident? Was anyone hurt?” Drove my family crazy : )

    I can’t imagine anything more disconcerting than not being able to remember any personal history, even a name!

  4. Hi Amber,

    Welcome to the Junction! We’re so happy to have you. I hope you enjoy the visit and will come again soon.

    Amnesia isn’t a subject I’ve delved into, but it’s fascinating. I kinda like the idea of a H/H who doesn’t know who they are. Talk about lots of instant internal conflict. I think it’d be scary to lose your memory. You wouldn’t know what you’d uncover when you got it back.

    Your PATTERNS AND PROGRESS looks like a wonderful book. Can you tell us a little about it?

    Thanks again for coming.

  5. Hi Amber,

    Your books sounds interesting. I never really thought about using amnesia in a story. Now you got me thinking.

    Thanks for sharing this and your books are on my must reads list

    Walk in harmony,

  6. Hello Amber! Thanks for an interesting post! I like amnesia stories. My DH loves to watch the movie Overboard. Your plotline sounds like a great set up for trouble! I’d love to read it! Thanks for a chance and happy holidays to you. mesreadsATgmailDOTcom

  7. Amnesia is a subject which has always intrigued me. Reading your blog made me think of a TV movie with Jane Seymour, “A Memory in my Heart” where Jane’s character suffers from amnesia. As you know, it’s taking place in a modern day setting. Since yours is set up a couple hundred years ago I’m even more intrigued and interested as I also enjoy reading historical (romance) fiction. I may not win but it’s already a lot fun participating. 🙂

    I wish you and your lovely family … and your dog a happy holiday season.

    Hugs from Germany,

  8. what interesting facts and to think about amnesia isn’t even a fun thing for the one going through it and then to have it not understood back then, WOW!!

    I’d love to be entered for this book and thanks.


  9. Wow! So many comments. Thanks so much for having me here and for coming to read my guest blog. It’s great reaching out and discovering a whole new audience, and this blog is a definite favorite. I’m honored to have been asked to participate.

    It’s true, that the book I hope an editor buys is full of fun, conflict and struggle for my main characters…but especially the heroine, who is the one suffering from amnesia. There are several other plot lines woven throughout the story, but I really fell in love with these characters during the writing. So many have said they’d love to read it, so I pray it piques the interest of an editor out there and becomes a reality in print real soon. 🙂

    As for Patterns and Progress, that was one was a lot of fun to write too. Early 1900’s and the dawning of a new century in industry and technology. A farmer’s daughter and a technician with the Ford Motor Company cross paths when one wants things to stay as they are, and the other is inviting the excitement of progress. It’s the 3rd book in the Michigan historical series, but each one stands alone as its own story. If you like the Industrial Revolution, this book’s for you.

    Good luck to all who have entered!

  10. Oh, and Anne, you might have read this amnesia story before when it was in its early stages as a much shorter fan fiction involving Michaela, Hank and Sully. *winks* Does Playing With Fire ring a bell at all?

  11. It is amazing what difference medical discoveries make. The whole amnesia thing though can still be a mystery. I would love to read your book.

  12. I have enjoyed amnesia stories before… I love how an author pulls the story together to give the characters a Happy Ending… I will have to look out for your books! 😀

  13. You have picked a different time period than many for your historicals. By choosing the Industrial Revolution, you have chosen a time when roles were changing, more doors were open to women, and the country was changing rapidly. What a rich pool of plot material.
    The information on amnesia is interesting. It really is a good plot element. It opens such a variety of possibilities.
    We lived in Colorado Springs (Old Farm area) for three years and our son was born there. Loved it. Wish we could have kept our house and retired there. Would love to have stayed longer, but the Air Force had other ideas. We have been through several times since leaving and can’t believe how much it has grown since we left in 1985.
    Good luck with your books. I’ll be looking for them.

  14. Well, we have a winner from the drawing, so it looks like my time here has come to an end. I had a lot of fun being here and getting to know those of you who commented. Thanks so much for the encouragement with the amnesia story. Prayers and good wishes thrown my way that an editor will buy the book will be greatly appreciated. 🙂

    As for my other books, I love choosing more unique settings and stories. Not only does it give the reader something different from all the typical prairie and western books out there, but it allows for a broader aspect of history to explore.

    Besides, when I choose “off the beaten path” I don’t have much competition out there for my time period and settings. *winks*

    Thanks again to the P&P crew for hosting me here, and to all of you who came to read.

    Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me through my web site. I’d love to hear from you.

    And there is a blog tour starting Monday, lasting for 2 weeks, where there are many more chances to win free books. Perhaps I’ll see you on the tour!

Comments are closed.