These are some general questions I’ve received, so though they’re not directly related to the Loving Husband Trilogy, I thought I’d answer them here:
1. I see you publish historical fiction. Will you publish me?
Maybe. I’m the Executive Editor of The Copperfield Review (named for the Dickens novel, not the magician—yes, I’ve had that question too), an award-winning literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction, and we take great pride in publishing up-and-coming names in historical fiction. You can find the journal’s guidelines here. Here are some hints I have for authors who want to submit their work to literary journals for publication.
2. When/why did you start writing historical fiction?
Like most things about my writing, I started writing historical fiction by accident. I knew since high school that writing of some kind was in my future, though I didn’t know myself at that time what kind of writing it would be. At first I thought I’d be a journalist, but one high school journalism class showed me the “Just the facts, Ma’am” style of news writing didn’t work for me. In college, I turned my attention to screenwriting. I took a number of screenwriting classes, and I even worked for several film production companies.
Around this time (1994), I had seen Ken Burns’ PBS documentary about the American Civil War, and I had an inkling of a story I wanted to tell about how brothers, brought up in the same family, could come to fight on opposing sides in a war. When I sat down to write the screenplay, I realized, at about page twenty, that the screenplay format was too small for what I wanted to do. Screenplays are merely blueprints for directors, actors, set designers, costume designers, directors of photography, and the many others necessary to make a film. There were times when I worked in “The Industry” when I felt like the screenwriter was the least important person there. I didn’t want to write a blueprint. I wanted to describe exactly what the characters were wearing. I wanted to go into detail about the room they were sitting in. I wanted to get into the characters’ heads and wonder why they made the choices they did. In order to do that, I needed to write the story (which became My Brother’s Battle) as a novel. Thus, my journey into historical fiction had begun.
3. What other books have you written?
My other books can be found under the My Books category.
The only common denominator in my books is they’re all historical in one way or another. Other than that, each book is completely different from the ones that came before (except for the Loving Husband Trilogy, of course). I write about whatever I’m fascinated with at the time, which is why my subjects are so varied.
4. What are you writing next? When is your next book coming out?
At this exact moment I’m taking a break from writing fiction. I think I popped a few synapses in my brain finishing Her Loving Husband’s Return, so I’m giving myself a couple of months to recover. I do know what I’m going to write next, but it’s too early to give details other than it’s going to be a love story that takes place in Victorian London. I’m not giving myself a deadline for this new book, but some time in 2014 is a fair guess.
5. Did you name Sybil in Victory Garden after Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey?
I can say with 100% honesty that no, the Sybil in Victory Garden was not named for Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey. Sybil in Victory Garden is a minor character with a line or two in one scene—hardly worthy of a raise of Lady Mary’s eyebrows, or Mr. Carson’s for that matter. I know the period of Victory Garden is the same as in Downton Abbey (1917-1922), and it deals with many of the same subjects (mainly woman suffrage and World War I), but I wrote VG way, way back in the old-timey days of the late 1990s, long before Lady Sybil or the Earl of Grantham were glimmers in Julian Fellowes’ eye. So though Victory Garden was published in 2012, it was written 14 years before.
I am, I’m embarrassed to say, only lately come to the world of Downton Abbey, which is odd for someone who loves a good historical story as much as I do. I had heard all the raves about DA, but I was busy writing the Loving Husband Trilogy and my brain was too full of James and Sarah to take much notice. Recently, on a ten hour flight from London, there was an episode of Downton Abbey available to watch, and I did, and like so many millions before me, I was hooked. I now understand the phrase “binge-watch Downton Abbey” because I’ve done it myself. I watched all three seasons, something like 25 episodes, in two days. I’ve even started following a number of Downton-related feeds on Twitter to keep up with the latest news. For fans of the show, I found a great website called Downton Abbey Addicts.
Thank you so much to those of you who have been contacting me with questions or comments. I love hearing from my readers. You guys are the best.