Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Inspiration from other novels

by | February 13, 2013

KG coverjpgPeople often ask how I decided to write Kentucky Green, as it set in an unusual time period, the frontier in 1794.   I grew up reading historical novels, which I now realize contained a definite ‘romance’ element even though they weren’t labeled as such.  When I took a ‘how to write’ class the advice was to write what you like to read.  And being a history teacher (US History and Western Civilization at the community college), I looked back to see what novels that I loved. 

One of my favorite novels was The Kentuckians by Janice Holt Giles (1905-1979).  This novel takes place in Kentucky during the American Revolution.  I loved the characters, David Cooper and Bethia the woman he loves, but can’t have.  All this against the background of the Americans, outnumbered and ill-equipped as they fight against the British and their Indian allies.  Being a history major, I really enjoyed the historical information Giles added to the story. 

Giles story was so real to me that I wanted to carry the story on to the next generation.  So in Kentucky Green, my hero, Dan and my heroine, April would have been children in Giles book.  Their parents were contemporaries of Giles characters.  David Cooper went hunting with Daniel Boone.  My Kentucky Green hero, Dan’s, father was the one who went hunting with Daniel Boone, and named my hero after his friend (a custom of the time).  April’s fear of Indians comes from the siege of Kentucky forts in 1778 (which are in Giles book). 

As I stated to write, I studied Giles career and work.  The Kentuckian is the start of a series of books that follow the characters into the next generations, all of which I read.  Check out the Giles site at http://www.gilessociety.org/

One of the things I discovered is how she did some of her research.  One of the major characters, besides David and Bethia in the Kentuckians, is Benjamin Logan.  It turns out that Benjamin Logan (c.1742 – December 11, 1802) was a real person.  In her research, Giles used a Master’s Thesis entitled The Life and Times of Benjamin Logan as the outline for her story.  What a brilliant idea!!  When I teach the workshop Another Time, Another Place I always mention this for a research idea as all colleges and universities keep copies of Master’s thesis. 

I still have a copy of The Kentuckians in my library.  Maybe I’ll get it out and take another trip to the Kentucky frontier during the American Revolution.




Share This