Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Entertainment or History Lesson?

by | February 24, 2011 | 14 comments

I’m currently writing the third book in my spirit trilogy series that is set among the Wallowa Lake Nez Perce. I’ve enjoyed the research about this band of the Nez Perce tribe, but with this book I have to also take into account the the army that is chasing them from their home to Canada where they hope to find freedom.

I’ve used the names of the officers in charge of each troop that skirmished with the Nez Perce on that flight, but I’ve made up the rest. And I’ve not given the places of the skirmishes names. Even though I’ve been religiously reading from four books about the trek using points of view from the Indians and the military, I’m keeping it as vague as I can so it doesn’t read like a military text book or a history text book. I’m trying to keep the story entertaining while showing both sides. (okay I am a bit more sympathetic to the Nez Perce than the army)But I’ve found the hardest part is finding ways to have the hero and heroine (he’s a cavalry officer and she’s the Nez Perce spirit) be together and make it not seem unrealistic. But she’s a spirit and can move around with the ease of a bald eagle(her spirit animal.

So my question is: Do you read historical romance for exact history or do you read for the romance and prefer the history to enhance the story rather than take it over?

Blurb for Spirit of the Mountain available now:
Wren, the daughter of a Nimiipuu chief, has been fated to save her people ever since her vision quest. When a warrior from the enemy Blackleg tribe asks for her hand in marriage to bring peace between the tribes, her world is torn apart.

Himiin is the spirit of the mountain, custodian to all creatures including the Nimiipuu. As a white wolf he listens to Wren’s secret fears and loses his heart to the mortal maiden. Respecting her people’s beliefs, he cannot prevent her leaving the mountain with the Blackleg warrior.

Blurb for Spirit of the Lake available May 2011:
Two generations after his brother became mortal, Wewukiye, the lake spirit, prevents a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and becomes caught up in her sorrow and her heart. Her tribe ignores Dove’s shameful accusations—a White man took her body, leaving her pregnant, and he plans to take their land.Wewukiye vows to care for her until she gives birth, to help her prove the White man is deceitful and restore her place in her tribe.

As they travel on their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities yet unknown in her people, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But can love between a mortal and a spirit grow without consequences?

Paty Jager
buy link:http://thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=177_139&products_id=4170


  1. Renee Vincent

    Oh, I love the premise of this trilogy! So cool, Paty!

    Love the covers too!

  2. Obe

    Hi Paty,

    I read for both. I look at the history I've been taught through high school and college and understand that in a writer's world some facts can be stretched to be in the context of time. With that said, if its really out there, out of the ordinary, the author better have a good reason and make me believe it, otherwise I might not pick it up again. Being old,(I'm laughing at myself here) I've seen the world for over a half a century. I've got some life lived and much more to do but I can see some mistakes as a young heart not yet experiencing life. But write so I can believe, make me want to see history in your eyes through your ideas. Give me the fantasy of romance and adventure on your timetable and make it believable.
    By the way Chief Joseph is one of my heroes.

  3. Barbara

    I definitely read historical romance because I love the "feel" of the time and place. I'm not reading it for a history lesson, although, there does have to be some fact to it. I suppose you can say that I read historicals as a way to be whisked away, but without feeling like I'm getting a history lesson.

  4. Genene Valleau

    Paty, I'm so delighted that these Spirit books are finally being published. I loved the first one from the time I heard the premise, and the finished story was wonderful!

    I'm very much looking forward to reading the second and third books in this series.

    I read historical romance for the story. Of course, please don't screw up well-known facts. 🙂 However, I don't know lots of historical info, so it's nice to "learn" as I go along.

  5. Paty Jager

    Thanks Renee! I'm excited about the trilogy, too.

  6. Paty Jager

    Nan, Thanks for your thoughts. I've had an infatuation with Chief Joesph for a long time.

  7. Paty Jager

    Barbara, that's what I try to do when I write. And this latest one is really making me work to keep it that way.

  8. Paty Jager

    Genene, thank you for your comments on historical facts in a book and your compliments to my book.

  9. Caroline Clemmons

    Paty, Love the way you interweave fact and fiction to create a realistic book.

  10. Patricia Preston

    I read for the romance with a historical background. Not a history lesson.

  11. Paty Jager

    Thanks Caroline. I try hard to make it an enjoyable read and maybe give a little insight into the history.

  12. Paty Jager

    Thanks you for commenting, Patricia.

  13. Vonnie Davis

    I read recently where many historicals are written merely as stories plucked into a specific time frame–and could just as easily work in another era. I blanched at that, thinking 'Nah, can't be so.' Frankly, I don't mind a history lesson if it's presented seamlessly within the framework of the story…valuable bits and pieces here and there to add richness to the flavor.

  14. Paty Jager

    Vonnie, I'm happy to say my historical books are created around historical events and eras so they couldn't be plopped somewhere else and work.

    Thanks for commenting!



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