Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Love Letters from the Frontier

Louis L’Amour is not known for having the frontier female as a main character. However, of all his voluminous novels of the West, the one I remember the most features the widow Evie Teale and her tumbleweed notes of love and longing, which seemed to find their way into men’s hearts:  Conagher

Charlie McCloud, Stage Driver: Well, what are you up to, Conagher? Drifting again?
Conn Conagher: I got tumbleweed fever.
Charlie McCloud, Stage Driver: You too? Half of the cowboys in the country are chasing tumbleweed.

Conagher captures an elusive element of storytelling–finding the unexpected. The best romance has the reader finding love in the most unexpected places. (more…)

Inspiration from other novels

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.  (more…)

Making A Collage – a help for the WIP

When I was starting to write Kentucky Green, I made a collage.  This idea was suggested at one of our chapter workshop.  I found it to be a good exercise as I’m a very visual person.  Once I decided on Kentucky, and who my hero and heroine were and what they looked like, that’s when I started looking for photos for my collage.

 I used a 2’ x 3’ bulletin board, so I just stapled or pinned the things I found to the board.  As I wrote or found more items, I just kept adding things (when I finished the story, I decoupaged all the items to a poster board so it’s permanent).







The best place for photos of scenery is in National Geographic.  When our Friends of the Library have their annual sale, I look through boxes of old National Geographic magazines.  For ten cents I buy all the ones with articles on a place I might want to set a novel.

 You can see how important setting is to me by all the scenery on the collage.  Several of the photos sparked scenes in my novel.  Dan and April stand together looking out over the land, the line of ridges that march over the land.  The photo of the ferns (from a story about Kentucky in National Geographic) also plays into the story.

 As you can see, I used a lot of images from the film The Last of the Mohicans.  Although the film is set a generation earlier than Kentucky Green, the images work.  My hero, Dan, is often dressed just like Hawkeye (Daniel Day Lewis).  The center image is actually the cover for the audio tape of the motion picture sound track (the sound track now upgraded to a CD in my collection) which I used a back ground music while I wrote.

 I have the major photo of the hero and heroine on opposite sides of the collage, to represent how they are in opposition at the beginning.  One of the problems I had in the first draft of the opening, was that the heroine kept apologizing.  Too wimpy.  So I found the picture on the upper right hand side.  This woman is not one to go around apologizing, and her hair do is pretty close to how April wears her hair (a double good photo!).

 If you’ve read the book, you might be able to pick out other items that appear in the story.   And I had some visual images to send in for the cover.  If you’re a write and having trouble with your story, you might try making a collage.