1-What caused you to choose early Texas as the setting for your "Texas Star of Destiny" series?
I enjoy writing about locales and periods where several groups come together for a sharp culture clash. Conflict is the essence of a good story and many different people trying to get along or not get along sets up a story rife with natural conflict.
Starting in 1821 Stephen Austin brought in Anglo-Americans to settle Spanish and the Mexican-held Texas. Eastern Texas became the setting where Native Americans, mainly Comanche, Mexicans, and blacks (slaves and runaways), and Anglos clashed over who would be in control of the land. Part of my brand, "Strong Women Brave Stories" is that I like to write a multicultural cast. In this third and final book in the series, I stir German immigrants into the mix.
2-How do you handle the 19th century political incorrectness?
I resist the pressure to sanitize history. If I portray the 19th century as it really was, it is difficult not to offend the 21st century reader. Yet I still endeavor to portray the low status of women and racial prejudice of the 19th century. I had a reader say in a review that my stories had 21st century values. That's not really correct. My stories have characters who are at odds with their times, another characteristic common to my historicals. My heroines are usually crusaders far ahead of their times who won't cave in to the pressure to conform (another source of conflict). I don't like historical novels that don't even try to show how society was different in the past.
3-What was the most interesting fact you didn't know about Texas BEFORE you started writing this series?
I hadn't realized that over 30,000 Germans immigrated to Texas in the mid-1840's. The area around New Braunfels, Texas, still celebrates this German heritage with some original stone houses, German food and polka bands—really!
4-What do you hope your readers will take away after reading this book and the first two in the series?
Her Abundant Joy features a German widow Mariel Wolffe. She is a heroine who will tug at a reader's heart (I hope!) And her hero, Carson Quinn, the son of the hero and heroine in the first book, is a man that should melt hearts. He's not just a handsome face. He has faced frontier life and learned to survive with honor, no small accomplishment.
They find themselves--just as we do today in the face of terrorism--in the middle of a war. Their personal desires and plans must give way to the winds of war. But God is still there with them. I gave my editor a choice of two titles taken from Psalm 37 (all 3 titles are). She chose Her Abundant Joy. The other was Her Man of Peace. I think that this reflects the theme of the book. Carson longs for peace but is forced into war.
The humble shall inherit the earth; and
shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace....
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
for the end of that man is peace. Psalm 37: 11, 37