Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our Private Worlds

I'll admit it–I caught the genealogy bug years ago. I methodically traced my family tree back to the Revolutionary War and to Europe. One of the things I kept noticing was the way the last names of various family members kept intersecting. I realized travel was hard, and there wasn't a large gene pool to draw from, so I kept track as cousins married first and second cousins. As more and more branches on the tree interconnected, it became a family joke that the inbreeding explained the occasional lunatic in the family–those who lived in their own private worlds.

Today, as I write this, I've just finished the seventh book in my American historical series. It takes place in 1860 and the story line is woven around the Pony Express. I've spent the last few months studying the movement of horses, and learning more about this portion of American history than I ever thought possible. I told a friend the other day that, after a morning of working on this novel, I was surprised to see cars driving by my door instead of horses. My private world has consisted of dirt roads, wide open prairie land and wild mustangs. Am I this generation's occasional lunatic? Or am I merely an author?

The book, Expressly Yours, Samantha, is about ready to be shipped out to my publisher. Normally, I take a break from my historicals, and intersperse a contemporary, just to lighten things up and to keep me grounded in reality. But, for some reason, the 1860s keep calling me. I'm thinking of taking a leaf from the old family tree and write about my great-great-grandmother, who had to maintain a homestead in the hills of southern Ohio and keep four children alive while her husband fought in the Civil War. Obviously, the woman could have used a strong man during these years. Who better to camp out in her woods than a half-breed Ojibwa Indian? So, I'm headed back into the 1860s, where I'll roam the hills and woods of southern Ohio with Susannah and Raoul. I'm headed back into my own private world again.

Here's the cover blurb for Expressly Yours, Samantha, set to release in March, 2015.

Samantha Hughes needs to get away from her wicked uncle, and, following her aunt’s death, she has one day to escape. A sign in the post office offers an avenue out. She can cut her hair, pose as a man, and become Sam Hughes, a Pony Express rider.

Valerian Fitzpatrick has defied his parents and stayed in St. Louis for the past year. He doesn't want the weight of responsibility his brothers have in the family business. All he wants to do is ride horses, and, fortunately, the Pony Express is starting up and looking for wiry young fellows.

When Sam Hughes helps Valerian control a runaway horse, Joseph, Valerian’s brother-in-law, tells him their meeting was destiny. Over the weeks and months that follow, Sam and Val work side by side on the exciting Pony Express. Val assumes Sam is on the run from the law, and helps shield his buddy from the Pinkerton agents. He thinks this must be the destiny Joseph talked about. Although Samantha harbors feelings for Val, he has no idea she’s a woman. Until she suffers a stray gunshot wound and he has to undress her to staunch the wound.

Friendship turns into attraction and maybe even love. When her uncle tracks her down, she is forced to run yet again. She realizes the danger she’s put Valerian into, having him try to shield her from her uncle, and leaves him behind with a note to not track her down. Will he be able to find her again, or is he relieved to not have any responsibility again?


  1. Thank you, Becky, for sharing your writing process. Yes, as authors we do spend a great amount of time in the world created on our pages, pushing reality aside. A story of your ggg grandmother's strength, sounds wonderful.

  2. Great article, Becky! I posted & tweeted so others could enjoy!

  3. Thank you, everyone, for visiting today. I'm still trying to figure out the ending to my gg grandmother's story.

  4. Hi Becky,
    Boy, do I know how you feel: seeing cars instead of horses? When I leave my writng room, I can't even remember what country I'm in: California (the book I'm presently editing) or Connecticut (I just finished reading through the galleys on that one) or even 19th century Galicia (a particularly tough manuscript that's fighting me tooth and nail at the moment). But we are lucky, aren't we? All this traveling without having to buy a ticket! Good luck with your books.