FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does it matter if the books are read out of order?
While the novels in the series are not stand alone books, there are written in 'story so far' devices for those who begin reading the series from a later book. I promise you these are not boring! I couldn't stand it myself if they were.
It is recommended that a reader starts with HEARTLAND On the Side of Angels – and don't tell anyone the ending (that is important as it is the catalyst for everything that follows)! Find the reading order here. All the volumes are designed to follow on directly from the one before. You don't want to miss a page, believe me!
Is it difficult to write historical fiction?
It has its challenges. But being historical and fictional at the same time is intensely interesting, creative and fun, as well as challenging. A voyage of discovery, an adventure, and who doesn't like that? It's where imagination and fact meet and get to know one another.
How much research did you do for the novels?
Research involved reading a score of books on American history, viewing documentaries, and hours and hours on the web where you can travel the world and have access to the world's libraries and archives. Old photographs, postcards, sketches, paintings and maps of all kinds are a treasure trove. For some of the best research ever you can't beat travelling to the location and setting; I've been blessed to be able to do this and found treasures that books and the internet can't come close to. And being right there in the heart of your world is profound.
Have you been to the places and locations where your novels are set?
Some of the best times in my life have been my travels to nearly all the places, cities, towns and locations in the series. From sea to shining sea, in fact! From San Francisco on the west coast to Provincetown on the knuckle of Cape Cod, from Denver to Cheyenne and Laramie, driving along the Lincoln Highway to Omaha and on the Amtrak from there to Chicago; New York and Boston.
Where can I find your novels?
At your favorite online bookseller, as paperback and ebook. Vivid Publishing sells beautiful print on demand paperbacks, also. Request your local bookstore to order it in for you (print on demand is good that way). Or browse my website where the General Store will steer you in the right direction. You can also click on Books and be directed to direct online bookseller links. Don't forget to check your library!
Do you have a favorite character to write?
They are all my babies so I don't have favorites ;) That being said, I really enjoy writing the supporting characters (to use a movie term). And there are always lots of those.They are integral to the story, they add texture and structure, and they really spice up the mixture. They give realistic and much-needed definition to the world of the main characters.
Why is poetry so featured in your books?
Apart from the fact that I love poetry a great deal, I love the ambiance it creates. In the gilded age era there is no TV, no internet, no Facebook or twitter or blog, no radio, no movies... People read a lot! Or went to the theatre and concerts. Or attended lectures or poetry readings, and recitals and such. We talk about our favourite TV program, they discussed their favourite works of literature.
Who is John Locke? Why is he significant in your novels?
John Locke was the great English philosopher who defined liberty & property in works such as Two Treatises of Government in the 1600's. His work profoundly influenced the founding fathers of America to create 'life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness'. It has been said that America was founded upon the experiment of an ideal. Luke, like all his fellow countrymen before and after him, discovers what this means for him and for his life.
How do you deal with your characters dying and writing their deaths?
This is a tough question. The plot is key to handling it. Everything happens for a reason. I do grieve for them. And it is hard to do the rewrites on some chapters involving such characters because of what happens to them. The deaths are seen through the eyes of the various characters. If a death comes across as insignificant at any time, it is because that is how the characters see it or are coping with it, not because I personally don't regret every life lost in the course of the story.