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!” Literature became the catalyst that got me out of that. The Odyssey, for example, made me wonder: Hundreds of men die so that Helen can remain with Paris who abducted her, and then she finds out he’s nothing more than a pretty boy coward? Ivanhoe led me to the conflict between poor King Richard, imprisoned in Austria, and his brother John, trying to take over the kingdom before Richard can be ransomed. What a nasty piece of work John was! These books were just the beginning. Soon I was gobbling up novels the way other people watch TV.
MY BIG IDEA:
As an English teacher, however, I discovered that my middle and high school students often struggled with literature. It helped when they realized that the people they were reading about were like them in many ways. That gave me an idea: Why don’t I write some good quality historical fiction, with characters the readers can relate to, and situations they can imagine themselves facing? Sounded good. But who had the time?
I didn’t. For one thing, I lived in Hawaii where $83,700 a year is considered low income. Earning a paycheck, being a pastor’s wife, raising a family and volunteering at my church kept me swamped. If God wanted me to write, He would have to make a way. Much as we loved the islands, four years later, my husband and I bid aloha to Honolulu and headed for Virginia. Finally, I had some time to write.
WRITE WHAT, EXACTLY?
How do people come up with ideas for novels? I started by thinking back to some of the kids I’d taught. The sort of kids I wanted to write for. I imagined a scrappy thirteen year-old boy, named him William Oliver, and set him in England, 12th century. 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.
But 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.
I imagined her lovely dreams falling apart, and both of them out on their ear, penniless in a hostile world, with bad people chasing them. Why? They had crossed a powerful, unforgiving enemy. (Click on the Trowleigh series tab to see how this developed).
WHERE I AM IN MY OWN NOBLE ADVENTURE:
At the moment, I am searching for a literary agent to help me publish and put these books into the hands of young people. It is a fierce, competitive business. I would appreciate your prayers.
Please do write me (See Contact tab) and tell me about your own adventures. I love a good story!