Today, we have the fun of hearing a bit about the story behind the story of our June releases. Each of the authors shared with me what sparked the idea behind their book or series. It’s proof that ideas and inspiration can be found anywhere, just waiting to be turned into a compelling story!
Mary Connealy: I came up with the idea behind the series when I was researching Andersonville Prison for the KINCAID BRIDES series. I came upon this story of a baby born in Andersonville Prison, even though no one even knew there was a woman in there. She’d been taken captive with her husband and refused to leave him, and at some point she’d disguised herself as a man. They’d been in a less brutal prison for a while and thought they’d be going home. That’s when she’d gotten pregnant. And then they got thrown into Andersonville. I read a first-person account, written by a guard who heard that baby cry in the night. When I’m researching a book and find something that gives me chills, I pay attention. This woman was surrounded by 30,000 men, and no one noticed she was a woman until that newborn baby cried. I had chills—and I started reading more about women who disguised themselves as men during the Civil War. Out of that came my idea for the WILD AT HEART series.
Delia Parr: My interest in midwifery started many years ago after I read the Pulitzer Prize–winning book A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. While midwives are an integral part of many medical practices today, I grew up in an era where midwives were almost unheard of and rarely, if ever, used instead of doctors. I was both fascinated by the central role of midwives in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and determined to find out how midwives had gone full circle. I found the story of that journey in research, both in libraries and through the internet, and in visits to museums to see the midwives’ tools of the trade—and it is a story of women’s commitment, strength, and skills that ultimately prevail.
Karen Witemeyer: There is usually a single spark that get’s a book idea started. For A Worthy Pursuit, that spark was the idea of incorporating gifted children—child prodigies, each having a gift in a different field. And the one who doesn’t consider himself gifted ends up being the one who saves the day, proving he is, in fact, remarkable. I also wanted to play with the idea of opposites attracting. So I chose a refined, educated headmistress who doesn’t trust men and paired her with a man of action and intrigue who practically walks off the pages of a dime novel. Charlotte has to learn to trust the man who was sent to destroy her in order to protect the children in her care, and Stone must dig deep to unearth the patience it will take to win the heart of the plucky woman he comes to admire.
Jody Hedlund: In the BEACONS OF HOPE series, I’m focusing on women lightkeepers who have been kept in the dark by the more prominent stories of their male counterparts. As I researched for writing a lighthouse series, I came across a fantastic book called Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service. The book is a tribute to the approximately fifty or so women who served either as primary or assistant keepers in Michigan Lighthouses. I based the heroine in Hearts Made Whole on of one of those women lightkeepers. It’s my hope to bring her and the other women keepers out of the historical shadows and into the spotlight.
Be sure to click on the book covers to read an excerpt and step into the historical world of these four novels—I know you’ll love them!
Is there a historical site, museum, or statue near you that you’ve always thought would make a good story?