When I sat down to write my second historical series, I was still stinging a little from the reception of my first historical series. When I started writing adult novels, there were not really any writer's guidelines at all--and Christian fiction was still relatively new. (I'm dating myself!) So when I wrote my first historical series, I just sat down and wrote books with no particular reader in mind--for the world in general.
I soon learned Fact of Life #167: "the world in general" does not shop at Christian bookstores--which is where my books were being sold. I learned that I had to write for the Christian reader, and there are things that do not fly in the Christian market.
This debate, BTW, continues to this day. The unwritten guidelines have loosened considerably, but I learned a valuable lesson--she who writes for nobody in particular will reach nobody in particular.
I had endured some pretty tough criticism on my first series, which was set in medieval times. (Not for nothing were those called the Dark Ages.) And I happened to be studying legalism versus grace, so I took the lessons I learned from Charles Swindoll's book, Grace Awakening, and used my novel to illustrate those principles. Roanoke is based upon the original documents about the voyage, and I'd always been fascinated by the mystery surrounding that settlement. So my family and I drove up to Roanoke Island, I read everything I could get my hands on, and I began to write.
One thing about series writing that has always bothered me, however, is the repetition. I get bored quickly, and I didn't want to write about the same place, people, or era for five books in a row. So I needed a way to link the books together but yet keep the series interesting . . . for this writer.
So I came up with the idea of a ring that is passed down through generations. The ring is inscribed with the Latin words for "boldly, faithfully, successfully." It is given to Jocelyn in book one and keeps being passed from one person in Jocelyn's lineage to another. The series spans over 100 years and several different major colonies.
So--you have a ring, a writer determined to write to Christians (the choir needs to learn, too), and the historical genre. I was all set to begin.
Tomorrow: The Research