How I Write

What’s in Mrs. Hale Receipts for the Millions 1857?

4108. Never be guilty of falsehood by the pen; it is premediated sin, and seems worse than falsehood of speech.

My long time writerly friend, Heidi Thomas, has invited me to this “How I Write” blog post relay. Heidi is an award winning author of the  Cowgirl Dreams series. Follow the Dream, the second in the series, was the 2011 Willa Award winner for YA fiction. This coming fall, September 2, 2014, Globe Pequot Press will publish Cowgirl Up: A History of Rodeo Women, a non-fiction work. In addition to writing, Heidi is an editor and former journalist. She lives in Prescott, Arizona.

Now for four questions I’m to answer:

1)What am I working on?

I write historical novels. My first two published novels, Tree Soldier and Timber Rose are set in the Pacific NW in the early part of the 20th century. A third unpublished novel is set here in the 1860s. Another novel in final stages for publication is set in Norway during WW II. I’m currently working on an entirely new novel set in the Pacific NW during the Civil War. I’m basing the protag on some aspects of my great-grandfather who was a Union surgeon. He was at the Battle of Gettysburg, the starting place of this new novel. Having a great time researching the medical corps and the movers and players out in the Pacific NW. The Surgeon General who would have promoted my ancestor to full surgeon in January 1865 served at Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

All historical fiction has its own place and time. I’ve chosen to write about the Pacific Northwest in the early 20th century and in the mid-19th century. Both periods were in dynamic times though it may not be on the radar of national history. Yet at the same time, what happened out here was important. Lewis and Clark came here. The early American fur trade was here which led to an American presences on the Pacific coast. And finally, the settlement of the San Juan Islands in 1859 led to a confrontation with the British Empire over a water boundary dispute. So there is a good deal to write about. I think the region is underrepresented and could use some good storytelling.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I think that I am genuinely curious about things. Having grown up on stories handed down through four generations of women in my family pioneering the West, my New England ancestor my nana researched for years in 1638 Newburyport and later the journals and letters of my great-grandfather, I always wanted to know what people felt about the major events that happened around them. I imagined those times early on. I have a degree in American history and a fine arts degree in textiles which fits in nicely as I have always been interested in how things are made and work. I reenact and demonstrate 19th century foodways. I guess you can say I’m history all the time and write about it.

4) How does my writing process work?
Often I get an idea from something I’ve read or maybe an interest in a family story.
Timber Rose came from comparing two advice books for young husbands and young wives in 1907. With more forthright information given to the men, I wondered what it was like to be a married couple in that time. From there scenes started bubbling up. Research provides more direction and even the need for characters to perform that part of telling a story set in historical times. I tend to write in scenes and patch them together, but I also will write out what I think the story is about and see where that goes. A historical story might follow the path of an event and could put restraints there, but generally, it’s the characters and how they deal with it that leads the way.

Three Authors to Check Out

And now it’s time for the next round of writers on this blog tour: three fabulous authors I’ve known for several years via the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. We’ve been hanging out on the “boards” every year while for various stages of the contest to go through whether we proceed or not. Meet Rodney Walther, Ric Tatano and Thomas Knight. Their posts will be up on June 2.

Rodney Walther

Rodney Walther is the award-winning author of two bestselling novels. He believes that a great story engages the reader’s Rodney Waltheremotions and has carved out his niche by producing compelling family dramas that resonate with readers.

Broken Laces, published in 2010, has been a consistent Amazon bestseller, having reached the Paid Top-100 of all Kindle ebooks in 2013. Space in the Heart, published in 2013, has earned Paid Top-100 bestseller status for all Kindle Literature & Fiction.

Rodney has garnered six literary awards from across the country for his novel-length fiction. In addition, each of his novels has earned Quarterfinalist status in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest (2011 and 2013), with Publishers Weekly declaring Space in the Heart to be “Sweetly uplifting.”

Rodney’s a great guy and very supportive of other writers. He lives in Sugarland, Texas. His website lives at

Ric Tatano

Photo-Nic-Tatano-1-218x247Nic Tatano is a HarperCollins RomCom author. He also write thrillers & young adult novels. He spent fifteen years as a television news reporter and anchor, his work taking him from the floors of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to Ground Zero in New York to Jay Leno’s backyard. His stories have been seen on NBC, ABC and CNN. He continues work as a freelance network field producer for FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC, but he loves writing fiction the best. One of his books I Girl is now being serialized. He can found at

Thomas A. Knight

Thomas A. Knight built a career out of software development and took up writing in his spare time. Since then, he has released two books and is in the process of writing a third. His novels are epic fantasies set in Galadir, an alternate world of his own design.

His debut novel, The Time Weaver, is the recipient of an indiePENdents Seal of Good Writing, has reached both the Sci-Fi/Adventure and Thomas KnightEpic Fantasy Amazon best-seller lists, and is considered by many to be an exciting and unique story that appeals to readers of all types.

When he’s not writing or developing software, Thomas enjoys family time with his wife and two little girls, or playing fantasy role-playing games. He is also an avid supporter of Free and Open Source software, and uses entirely Linux and open source software in the writing and production of his novels.

Thomas is very generous with other writers. Every year he’s entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest (ABNA) he has helped countless writers with the dreaded pitch. Thanks Thomas!

Thomas can be found at

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