I’m participating in a special year-long blog hop to explain my writing process. I’ve been tagged by both Jamie Wesley and Walt Mussell to post my responses to these four questions and it’s time to keep this going! Actually, I love learning about other people and their writing processes, but writing mine down is hard work. Here I go!
What am I working on?
Maybe this question would be better phrased, what aren’t I working on? Let’s see. I’m working on my “Home to Milford College” series. Currently, I’m preparing the prequel novella The Lawyer’s Luck for self-publication. The first book in the series, The Preacher’s Promise, (a.k.a. the Love Inspired Historical that wasn’t), will be self-published after that. While I am waiting for my editor to return my revisions on that series, (bless you Sally Bradley), I am submitting work to editors and agents from my single-title series “Migrations of the Heart.” I have not forgotten or abandoned the Bledsoe sisters, don’t worry!
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
Are there really any other works in my genre? Inspirational historical romances with African American heroes and heroines have been published before. However, I can count them on one hand. If anyone has any other titles they know of, give a shoutout in the comments, please.
My stories differ in terms of time period. The few stories that I know of mainly deal with the Civil War and not the Reconstruction Era. The “Home to Milford College” series starts in 1866. There are two books that I know set the early 20th century (Passing by Samaria by Sharon Ewell-Foster, 2009 and How Sweet the Sound by Vanessa Miller, March 4, 2014). Miller indicates that she is doing a series, which is wonderful. The “Migrations of the Heart” series takes place over time starting in 1915.
Why do I write what I do?
We have become too separated from the past. In my day job as a professor, I have constant interface with young people. The spotty history they’ve been taught has remained unchanged, despite new scholarship. They are taught, consistently and incompletely, that African Americans are victims. I have written my stories to showcase African Americans as survivors and people of faith, strength and purpose. I chose romance as a genre because there are not enough historic portrayals of African Americans as people worthy of giving and receiving love. The omission of love stories from our historical past has always baffled me because many of us wouldn’t be here if not for love. Love was always the healing balm that allowed African Americans to remain whole.
How does my writing process work?
My stories are always based off of a real person or incident in history. This is a necessity for the reasons that I just spoke about. So I do as much research as I can around that particular aspect and then I begin the “What if” exercise that many historical authors use. “What iffing” helps to explain the motivations that surround that particular historical event or person that I am writing about. I’m more a panster than a plotter in this respect, so I fast draft my way through the first draft to help me find these motivations in my stories. Then I edit. My blog features the history behind my stories, so that people will know the reality: African American history is replete with many examples of strength, purpose and dignity.
I’m tagging the fabulous Alicia McCalla and Vanessa Riley to participate in this year long blog hop to post their responses to these four questions within a few weeks. Of course I want to know their writing processes too, so there’s that….still, this wasn’t hard! Thank you for this opportunity Jamie and Walt!