A LITTLE BACKGROUND
I write historical novels now, but I was once the kid who fell asleep in history class! Not once, but many times. I remember wailing, “If I have to cram the dates of one more battle into my head, I’ll scream!” What changed everything for me was the discovery that great books were all about people. Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, for example, took me right into the French Revolution. Tolstoy’s War and Peace, brought Napoleon’s invasion of Russia to life. Yes, there were names and dates, but all those slid effortlessly by as my attention was directed to the people caught up in events that changed the world.
Once I started down that road, I never stopped, In time, I began reading historical novels the way other people watch TV.
MY BIG IDEA:
Years later, as a middle school/high school English teacher, I was excited to share my discovery with my students. They liked the idea of books mirroring world events, and when I paraphrased passages, I had their attention. “Yes, Prince John was a real historical figure,” I pointed out, “and a nastier person you could hardly imagine.” Slowly but surely, historical figures came alive to them, and I thought, “Why not write my own novels and bring more of these characters to life?”
BUT MORE THAN THAT:
But more than actual historical figures, I wanted to make my characters relatable. So, I thought about some of my students. These were the kids I wanted to write for. I imagined a scrappy fourteen year-old boy, named him William Oliver, and set him in 12th-century England. I could see him trying to be a grown-up knight: defending the weak, demanding a sword, standing up for justice. Setting off on a noble adventure. However, this was not only the Age of Chivalry, it was also the Age of Romance. Enter his older sister, Lady Alix who likes her status, her clothes, her comfortable life as a baron’s daughter and dreams of marrying a knight.
But what is a story without conflict? I imagined Alix’s lovely dreams falling apart, when a powerful and very wicked person, (Prince John) decided to take vengeance on their father (who had suddenly gone missing in the Holy Land) and destroy their noble family. These were young people accustomed to comfort, a kind loving family, and Christian mentors who guided them. But all of a sudden they found themselves in a totally different world, fleeing for their lives.
AND OF COURSE MOST IMPORTANTLY…
Strong Christian themes. This is not only an exciting adventure story, but a series of books whose overarching theme is the Divine Providence of God, a lesson which I fervently hope will resonate with all generations. True, the book is written about two teens, but I believe all ages will enjoy it, and be reminded of how faithful Our God is in all circumstances.
THE SERIES IS ALMOST FINISHED!
So, Book One (A Far and Distant Cry) and Book Two (On Rumor’s Deadly Tongue) are complete and ready for purchase on Amazon. Book Three (Return to Towleigh) will be published this fall. In addition, I wrote a Study Guide for Book One so that students could get academic credit in English Literature and/or history. It is absolutely FREE. Just click on the button.
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July, 2020Follow me on Facebook