When the time came to write Promise Me, book #3 in the West Virginia Mountain series, I was comfortable writing the beginning. Promise Me is set in West Virginia, as were books #1 and #2, and I had done research by personal visits, conversations, and reading. But with the latest book, time has progressed in the series, and Promise Me opens in late 1960, in the Vietnam War era. How would I ever make my story believable if one of the characters became involved in the war?
More research was inevitable. I wasn’t a war correspondent or photographer. America’s involvement in the Vietnam War was over, and now I had included the war in my sweet Southern historical romance. Research had to make my story authentic and convincing.
I began my research on the Vietnam War with the written word and images. I relied on encyclopedic references and photos taken on location. I used the internet to find personal testimonials written by Vietnam War veterans. But one of the most valuable of my research resources was face-to-face accounts from American military veterans.
These face-to-face accounts were with veterans from wars other than the Vietnam War. However, I learned that war is war, regardless of which continent it occurs on. These real live accounts of war gave me facts and feelings from respected and reliable sources.
So, yes, Promise Me is fiction. It’s historical fiction. And to make my historical fiction believable, I wove adequate reality into the threads of fiction. I hope I have succeeded and that the readers of Promise Me won’t have doubts when they read about the historical locations and situations mentioned within its pages.
Readers can be assured that the feelings my characters experience about war are genuine—whether those characters are at home in West Virginia or on the battlefields in a foreign country. They’re real and accurate. I was able to write my scenes and write them with compassion, having listened to personal descriptions!
Many writers prefer writing creatively instead of doing research. My research during the writing of the West Virginia Mountains series-particularly in book #3, Promise Me-gave me brilliant behind-the-scenes knowledge. Without my research, my characters would have been flat, cardboard, and unrealistic. I hope my words will draw readers into Promise Me, giving them an enjoyable reading experience.
Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of her sweet Southern historical romance novels. Jo is a member of the ACFW and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN).
Promise Me: West Virginia Mountain series #3
When war calls…faith is tested
In 1960, civil discord in Vietnam fills the news. After his college graduation, Patrick Fitzgerald plans to join his daddy’s South Carolina accounting firm. But Uncle Sam may have another position in mind for Patrick—in the U.S. Army. His family’s affluence would be no match for the persuasion of the military draft.
Adriana Montagna’s papá ekes out a living as a coal miner in the mountains of West Virginia. Can a lasting relationship form with Patrick, or will his wealth become a barrier between them?
Meanwhile, the fiber of America’s unity stands on the precipice, while its youth fight a no-win battle on foreign soil. What good can a young couple hope for at such a time as this?
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