Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welcome, MJ Fredrick!

Today I welcome my first guest blogger, fellow Carina historical author MJ Fredrick!

Her book, Sunrise Over Texas, has a setting and time I've never seen in a romance before: 1826 Texas. All the Western historicals I've run across are set much later, usually post-Civil War, and I love the idea of setting one earlier, when the lack of trains and telegraphs made the frontier even more frontier-y, and closer to my own beloved Napoleonic Era.

I'll let MJ take it from here:

I love telling the story of how I came up with the idea of Sunrise Over Texas, probably because I don’t remember precisely where all my stories come from, and I remember this so clearly. I’d never written a historical romance before, and never really wanted to, though I enjoy reading them. But I love history, particularly Texas history, which I teach in 4th grade.

Two years ago this month, we were studying early Texas history. I’d taught the same lesson for a few years, from the same textbook, but this time something different happened. I was talking to the students about Jane Long. She had been abandoned at a fort near Galveston with her servant and her child. Her husband had been killed near the Louisiana border but she didn’t know it. All she knew was, if she left, he wouldn’t be able to find her. So she stayed, braving the pirates and the natives and the harsh winter. To make her enemies think the fort was still occupied by soldiers, she’d fire a cannon every day. That struck me as so cool, and as I’m known to do, I veered from the lesson to talk about how tough she must have been, how brave and scared she must have been. In the middle of my tangent, I got an image of a man riding up to the fort, and falling from his saddle. Within a matter of moments, I had cast the story, and my mind had latched onto it and wouldn’t let go.

The problem was, I was starting NaNoWriMo in three days. I’d already plotted a romantic suspense (with the help of this same class) and was ready to go. But the new story idea was shiny and compelling. Worse, it needed research! I jammed so much research in those three days, and did more as I wrote throughout November. Fortunately, my baby brother knows Texas history like mad, and he was a great resource, especially the part where I added my own ancestor, Josef de la Baume, into the story.

Jane never remarried, so while I kept a lot of Jane in Kit, I gave Kit a happy ending, always my favorite part of writing romance, whether historical or contemporary. Isn’t that why we like to read them?

(Susanna here again) I love the way you took such a compelling historical incident and made it your own, and also that it's a NaNoWriMo novel! I've only done NaNoWriMo once myself, with a novel that for now remains unsold and tucked away. Someday I mean to do it again, but not this year--I'm expecting my line edits for A Marriage of Inconvenience mid-month.

So, gentle readers, your turn! November is almost upon us--anyone have a good idea they're planning to tackle for NaNoWriMo?


  1. Thanks so much for having me, Susanna! I'm excited to get going on NaNo again!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! NaNo is one of those things I recommend everyone try at least once--it's not going to work for everyone's writing process, but IMHO it's good to make yourself write FAST sometimes just so you'll know you can when someday you have deadlines and no other choice.

  3. What I love is the pure abandon and small risk. When I started Sunrise, I'd never done a historical, and I thought, "Well, if it doesn't work out, it's only a month wasted." That said, I'm VERY glad it worked out!