I am so pleased to introduce another friend I met through ACFW. Tamera Lynn Kraft also writes historical fiction set during a wide variety of different times in American history.
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 Quakerand 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.
Although I am a history major, I have never felt inspired to write historical fiction. If you are interested in that kind of fiction, learning how to conduct research is critical. I know several authors who write historical fiction and their sites have many articles giving advice on research.
Cindy Thomson writes books the Ellis Island series and two books set in ancient Ireland. She is also a professional genealogist.
Tamera Lynn Kraft had set Resurrection of Hope in 1920 America, Alice’s Notion’s during World War II, and A Christmas Promise in a Moravian settlement in Ohio, 1773.
At writer’s meeting I went to, Sandra gave advice on how to kickstart your novel if it stalls in the middle. One idea was to go back to your research notes. Whether you have researched languages, locations, or legends for your writing, keeping your notes organized and available will help you find your creative spark when you need it.
For the first time, I am a guest blogger on the site Word Sharpeners, a blog created by two writer friends Tamera Lynn Kraft and Carole Brown. I hope you enjoy it. (By the way, I have upgraded to contacts since my senior picture was taken.)
I have another link to another post on Word Sharpeners. It list the expected word counts for different genres of fiction. If you are interested in publishing your writing as a novel some day, you must know the acceptable words counts for it. Agents and editors are only interested in words counts, not page counts. I wish I has known what as the appropriate word count when I started writing my first novel. It was already at epic length when I realized I would have to whack it half to make acceptable to publishers.