I know it is not the most popular time period of historical fiction fans, but I have been drawn to American historical fiction probably from the time I first read the Little House series as a child. The colonial period of American history encompasses the romance of the unknown wilderness – the danger and adventure of exploration – the excitement of revolution and war – the moral conflict of slavery – the epic clash of cultures and empires – and the desperation, courage and fortitude of the varied peoples who faced these challenges… It is a time period I find so very interesting and complex, and there is much fodder there for a fiction writer.
Most American Revolution novels have a main character who is a colonist fighting for independence – however Anne starts out as a Tory. What led you to have your character start out as a Tory? Did you find it difficult to write from this perspective?
Though we Americans tend to think about the Revolution as “1776” it was a conflict long in the making. I began the first book of the series, The Tory Widow with a prologue set on the day the Stamp Act was repealed in 1765 – a full ten years before the first shots were ever fired at Lexington and Concord. The war lasted eight long years, and over all this time, loyalties, passion, patriotism, and interest waxed and waned. Apathetic, fanatic, dedicated, determined, disinterested, tired – my intent from the very onset was to tell a story that would show these changes and ranges in attitude on both sides. So, no – it isn’t difficult at all to write from a variety of perspectives – I find it essential to telling a “whole” story.
The Tory Widow and The Turning of Anne Merrick feature the same set of characters – is this to be a trilogy? And if so, any details you can give us about future books?
It is a trilogy, and… the Americans win ;-)
As a sort of follow up question – when you wrote The Tory Widow did you intend for it to be part of a series, or was that a decision that came later?
I conceived the story as a single book, but as I did the research and developed the story, I became overwhelmed by the breadth of the undertaking. Breaking it into three books was the only solution, and when I finally came to that conclusion (or solution) I was able to wrap my arms around it.
I wanted to talk a little about your first novel, Midwife of the Blue Ridge. I read somewhere that this book was inspired by some family history research you were doing. Is there anything you can tell us about the inspiration for the book?
Being a first generation American (my parents are Ukrainian immigrants displaced by World War II) I was well aware of my national origins. The Blevins clan on the other hand, had roots so embedded in America, they had not a clue from whence they came. Just a little bit of research on my part discovering the Blevins name was Welsh spurred both me and my husband Brian to begin the genealogical research and discover the family origins and find the Blevins who came across the water.
While researching census records at the Newberry Library here in Chicago, we stumbled upon several mentions of Jack and William Blevins in a few history texts. Jack and William were a father and son team of longhunters who were among the first white men to venture through the Cumberland Gap and explore the country beyond the Appalachians. I had never heard of the longhunters, and it only took a little bit of research for me to become fully captivated by the romance and adventure of the longhunter and frontier lifestyle. I was intrigued by this time and place in colonial American history that I did not know much about. I set out to incorporate an immigrant story (as a nod to my origins) with a longhunter story (as a nod to the Blevins) and write a rousing frontier adventure tale – and Midwife of the Blue Ridge was born.
Now for the giveaway! There are actually two! One giveaway is for a copy of the new release, The Turning of Anne Merrick. The second giveaway is for a Revolution themed Survival Kit. The kit includes: a giftbox with goodies comprised of black tea, liberty tea, lavender soap, lavender sachet, bayberry candles, a tin of sugar comfits, a bottle of lavender water and a lace hanky. You may enter you name in either giveaway or in both, however you will only be able to win one - there will be two winners drawn. The last day to enter is March 24th. Both giveaways are open to the US only! Good luck!
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