Today I am a guest blogger on American Christian Fiction Writers. I was inspired by one of my favorite authors, Patrick F. McManus. Check out my post “Writers and People Who Write.”
Today my guest is Carole Brown, another writer I met through ACFW. Carole writes in multiple genres — cozy and romantic mysteries. But today I am interviewing her about her series set during WWII.
Me: Why did you select World War II as the time period for your novels?
Carole: Mostly because my interest was piqued after listening to my mother’s tales of living through that era, the pictures I saw, and the small book that was loved in our family and written by an elderly gentleman with whom we were friends. It was said he was the civilian spy in the book, but he never confirmed or denied it.
Nevertheless, I fell in love with the era. The fashions and hats, the music, the courage and sacrifice so many gave. All of it is such a drawing to me.
Me: Which comes first – research or storyline?
Carole: Probably the story line then research. I have to know a basic plot structure before I can fill in the blanks with my research. I love research—such a world of interesting material out there to be learned and used for my writing purposes. It’s second only to the writing itself. But if I don’t know the storyline, for me, it’s hard to know what to research.
Me: What resources do you rely on for research?
Carole: Lots of internet study, books I buy or use from the library, some personal information from others, information I’ve learned through our own travels and any other way I can find what I need to be as correct as I can be.
Me: What is the most unusual resource you have used?
Carole: Hmm. Not sure. Maybe learning that my husband has a tad bit of Blackfoot Native American in him. That sparked my interest in including a BNA in the first, full-length book I wrote. It’s not published yet, but I hope it will be someday.
Me:What advice would you give to someone interested in writing historical fiction?
Carole: The first thing that comes to mind with historical writing is getting the facts right. Historical readers—many of them—are picker readers. They want to read a good book that is historically accurate and interesting. Play it safe and do the research.
Example: One man I know wrote a western book. The thing that stuck out for my husband was the season—things happening in the spring that just didn’t vibe. A little thing like that completely turned off the reader.
Thank you so much for inviting me to visit your site. Always a pleasure.
Both rebels in their own way, Josie and Jerry Patterson must figure out how to keep the other’s love…and keep the German enemy at bay.
She has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? Has another woman captured his heart?
Jerry has vowed to let Josie live her own glamourous life…especially after what happened in Germany. But when his wife’s life is threatened, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Jerry has to risk all for the very soul and life of himself—Josie.
These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of their own selves and abilities is the only true way to love and happiness.
To learn more, check out A Flute on the Willows on Amazon.
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Since it’s Memorial Day in America, and we have been talking about research and historical fiction all month, I thought writing a tribute about a loved one who has passed away would be appropriate.
The house of my maternal grandparents was one of my favorite places growing up. No matter when we dropped by their home out in the country on an acre of hillside, they were always glad to see me and my sisters. We had pizza suppers on the weekend and watched old Tarzan movies or the Wonderful World of Disney. Grandma canned throughout the summer in the large, cool basement. In the winter, we had many family dinners down there, sitting around a long table, or if we were young enough, at the smaller, children’s table. Grandpa would work puzzles in the basement, and the wood burning stove smelled of comfort.
When they had to move next door to my parents, I thought I would desperately miss the house I knew as a child. But as soon as I stepped through the door of their new home, it felt exactly like their old one. The house wasn’t special. It was my grandparents.
Not everything about history can be found online. If you are interested in historical fiction set in America, researching local history at a library where your historical fiction is set will produce resources you can’t find anywhere else.
As a test, I visited a local history room of library near where I live. I’d still be there, trawling through the trove information like each piece was a jewel from a treasure, but I had a blog to type up. Here are some of the resources I discovered.
- City directories — From 2000 back to 1859
- Yearbooks of the local college — Going back to 1909. The college library is another place to check for local history
- Genealogical indexes — These covered two counties
- Books of the census — Covering one county, these went back to 1835. I also found it a great source for unusual names, such as Justice T. Calhoun, Zelotes Jones, and Ev Narden.
- Histories of local churches
- Book published in 1891 — Portraits and biographies of “prominent persons” from the county up to that time.
- Spooky tales of a neighboring county
- Index to Common Please Court — These were arranged both by plaintiff and defendent
- State phone books on microfiche
- Fiction and nonfiction by local authors
- Family histories
- Card catalog with obituaries — How many of you know what a card catalog is? It’s the paper way libraries indexed their collection. This one had cards arranged alphabetically by the last name of a deceased person, often with a newspaper obituary cut out and taped to the card.
The library had another room, locked, run by the county genealogical society, with hours listed when volunteers are available to help researchers.
Researching local history may also take you to old newspapers. The library I visited in Parsons, West Virginia, last summer had the local newspaper on microfilm. While scrolling through an edition from the late 1940’s, I discovered why the bridge I drove across was a memorial bridge. It was dedicated to a sheriff who was murdered on duty.
The microfilm was difficult to use and make copies of, so I asked the librarian if any of these newspapers were online. She said they weren’t. My only option was visiting the library.
What kind of resources have you found helpful when doing research?
Me: Why did you select pre-Civil War and early twentieth century American history as the time periods for your novels?
Tamera: I love American history, but I can’t choose one period I like better. At the moment, I’m finishing up a post-Civil War novel, and I have plans for a series in Colonial Jamestown.
Me; Which comes first – research or storyline?
Tamera: I usually find a storyline by reading about a period of time in history. My mind starts germinating ideas about what it would be like for the people living through those events. At that point, I start researching, and the storyline comes out of the research.
Me: What resources do you rely on for research?
Tamera: First I find out everything I can by Googling the period in history. Then I like to read books about the events and visit the places where they take place. In my latest novel, Red Sky Over America, I visited Oberlin College and talked to the head of the library archives for the college. He was a treasure trove of information. He also steered me toward the right books and journals to read. I also visited Maysville, the Harriet Tubman Museum, and the John Rankin House in Ripley, Ohio and did some hiking across the river from Ripley where most of the story takes place. Lastly, I visited the Freedom Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Me: What is the most unusual resource you have used?
Tamera: In Alice’s Notions, I interviewed my family. The story is set post WW2 and based in rural West Virginia in a fictional town near Kimberly. My mom and uncles grew up in Kimberly, West Virginia, so they were my go to resource about the culture there.
Me: What advice would you give to someone interested in writing historical fiction?
Tamera: Research, research, research. Don’t write a story and try to make it fit into a certain time period. The time period should be so much a part of the store that it is almost like another character.
Red Sky Over America — Ladies of Oberlin, Book 1
By Tamera Lynn Kraft
William and America confront evil, but will it costs them everything?
In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.
America’s classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.
“Red Sky Over America tackles the most turbulent time in history with thorough research and fascinating characters. Tamera Lynn Kraft has woven a tale about the evils of slavery that should never be forgotten.” — Mary Ellis, author of The Quaker and the Rebel, The Lady and the Officer, and The Last Heiress.
Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. Her newest novel, Red Sky Over America is Book 1 of the Ladies of Oberlin series. Alice’s Notions is a historical romantic suspense set shortly after World War II. She also has novellas published in eBook and print.
Tamera been married for 39 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.
You can contact Tamera online at these sites.
Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com