I have to admit, it had been a few years since I’d written a western historical romance. When a friend invited me to take part in a multi-author series she was putting together, I had to stop and think about it… for all of five minutes.
Of course I was in. The thrill of having to research specific to the topic of the series drew my interest immediately. Not to mention the notion of refreshing my use of language and syntax. It was a writer’s dream to step into a brand new world in order to create vibrant characters and historically accurate storylines. The additional lure of the sweet and inspirational romance had me jumping feet-first into long-forgotten territory.
One of the first places I turned was to my attic, where boxes and boxes of family archives awaited me. My grandfather was a Methodist minister in the late 1800s through the early 1950s, just after I was born. While he spent most of his career serving three different churches in the small towns of middle Tennessee, he also ventured west on two occasions. The first time, in 1904, was on a steam locomotive and then via stagecoach to the smaller, more distant locations. Then, in 1927 he bought his first car and returned to Colorado via the very rough beginnings of the roadway system we know now.
His journals from both trips provided me with hours of insight I may never have found perusing the internet. I used his accounts of his stagecoach rides in that first sweet historical, Seth’s Secretive Bride, and made sure my heroine got a firsthand experience when traveling to meet her mail-order groom, and in the most uncomfortable way.
I continue to refer to grandpa’s journals, along with historical archives of certain events and locations, with every new historical romance that I write. I also rely on his daily notes of faith when I’m adding a touch of inspirational affirmation to my stories.
Earlier this year, I wrote my first Oregon Trail/wagon train romance. That truly took some research, as well as a smidge of imagination. However, it wasn’t until I began writing my most recent release, Lily’s Luck, that I found myself in totally unfamiliar territory.
Based on the Oklahoma Land Runs of the early 1890s, I found the subject of reassigning land on a first-come, first-served basis fascinating. I devoured everything I could find, and even downloaded a map where I plotted out my hero and heroine’s journey to claim their homestead in the land run of spring, 1892.
My next historical western project, Millicent’s Miracle, is a Thanksgiving Bride book and it brings me back to the Midwest. The characters I’m writing about have already made an appearance in my earlier Oregon Trail book, Ella (Prairie Roses Collection). Now it’s time for them to get their story.
I hope you’ll consider coming along on my western romance journey with me. So far, it’s been a fun ride and I can only imagine it getting better by the book.
I’m offering a signed copy of LILY’S LUCK to one “lucky” commenter today. (USA ONLY)
Just tell me… Do you have any old journals or letters from an ancestor?
Or have you gotten into genealogy to research your past?
Thanks again for stopping by!