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. However, students were sometimes daunted by the vocabulary and style of classic literature. I did find some modern-day classics, which supported the values and traditions of Christianity. But then I thought: Why not write some good quality historical fiction of my own, with characters the readers could relate to, and situations they could imagine themselves facing? Sounded good. But who had the time?
I didn’t. For one thing, I lived in Hawaii where $83,000 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!