The pub date for my next Love Inspired Historical, Kansas Courtship, is Tuesday, March 16th. That’s just around the corner. This is a milestone book for me. When I sold to Harlequin in February 2002, I never dreamed I’d someday have 10 books to my name. Well, Kansas Courtship is No. 10! It’s also the book I most enjoyed writing.
Here’s why . . .
Kansas Courtship is book No. 3 in a three-book continuity series called “After the Storm: The Founding Years.” That means I received the characters and basic plot from the editors at Steeple Hill. Two other LIH authors, Valerie Hansen and Renee Ryan, wrote the first two books, High Plains Bride and Heartland Wedding. (You’ve met Renee here at Wildflower Junction.) All three books are set in 1860 in a Kansas town that’s been devastated by a tornado. As authors, we had to coordinate certain elements, which meant being in constant contact via email.
I can’t say enough about these two women. I loved working with both of them. Early on, I ran into a plot problem with the timeline for my heroine’s arrival in High Plains. Renee came up with the perfect solution. Not only did she solve the problem, she made the whole book more believable. Val had done a continuity before, and she knew how to keep us all on track. I loved checking email and finding notes from these two wonderful writers.
The other thing I loved about doing this book was the research. My hero, Zeb Garrison, is one of the town founders and he owns a mill. I knew zilch about mills when I started this story, buy my husband came to my rescue. We were living in northern Virginia when I wrote this story, and he knew about Colvin Mill. Colvin Mill is a fully restored 19th century mill that turned out to be a 30 minute drive from our house. We had a great day watching the mill in full operation.
So far I’ve gotten several comments on the realism of the mill scenes. I owe that accuracy to my husband and the docents at Colvin Mill. We were there for a good two hours, watching and especially listening. You can look at pictures online and in books, but you can’t usually hear what something sounds like. I’ll never forget the music of the mill, and I used it in the book.
Readers also seem to be noticing the medical research. My heroine, Dr. Nora Mitchell, is one of the first female physicians in America. I wrote about a lady doctor for Harlequin Historicals, but that book was set in 1899, not 1860. Fashion changed in those 40 years, and so did medicine. I had to start from square one when it came to Dr. Nora’s training.
I also had to educate myself on a particular kind of injury. I was fortunate to be working for a modern day lady doctor at the time, and she set me straight on a few things. No spoilers (though I’m itching to say what happens!) but she saved from embarrassing inaccuracies. It’s not smart to kill off a main character by accident!
Since I’m celebrating, I want to give away three more copies of Kansas Courtship. We’ll do it like we did it last month. Anyone who comments will be eligible for the drawing. Good luck!
To order now or right after the drawing, here’s the link to Amazon: Kansas Courtship.