Since I’m covering an entire series, I have to talk about four separate ideas.
The idea for the first book, THE SILVER SWORD, came from my discussion with Lisa (see yesterday’s post). As I began to search for a likely place and time to create a female knight, I ran across the story of Jon Huss–a story I’d never heard. I became enthralled with the story of Jon’s struggle to stand up for “faith alone” and I was horrified by the story of his martyrdom. That settled it for me–Jon Huss it was. Thus the story was set in Bohemia.
THE GOLDEN CROSS involves another area I wanted to explore–art. I thought it might be fun to have a woman on one of the great ocean voyages of exploration, but most of the major land masses had been explored by the 1600s. 🙂 So I learned about Abel Tasman, who discovered, naturally, Tasmania. That immediately set my story in Tasman’s home country. How do art and sailing mix? Easy. Pre-photography, artists drew pictures of the flora and fauna in discovered lands. So my girl in boy’s clothing is hired to come on the voyage and sketch.
THE VELVET SHADOW is one of my favorite books, period. Partly because I’m fascinated by the civil war and partly because it is probably the most based on truth. More than 400 women really did cut off their hair, put on men’s clothing, and march off to war with their husbands, brothers, and lovers. I love medicine, so I made my heroine, Flanna, a medical student in Boston (there were no medical colleges for women in the south at that time.) When war breaks out, she needs to get home, and the only people moving south are in the army. So she joins up.
Finally, THE EMERALD ISLE is really two stories in one: the story of Kathleen, the modern researcher who is compiling the stories of Cahira’s heirs, and the story of Cahira herself. Kathleen goes to Ireland to do research, and becomes involved with an Irish family . . . and discovers her own destiny as an heir of Cahira O’Connor.
Tomorrow: the research
Having a wonderful time at Mt. Hermon, BTW. Having a wonderful time teaching, as well as being with old friends and meeting new ones.