There is a challenge to writing historical novels about the lives of real people.
The concept for my debut novel blossomed when I flew with my mother from the west coast to Long Island, N.Y., and visited the Horton Point Lighthouse, named after our ancestor, Barnabas Horton. We found he had been one of thirteen founding fathers of Southold, Long Island, in the 1600’s.
When I discovered that he was a very recently widowed in Mowsley, England, with two little boys when he married my ninth great-grandmother, I wondered about her. It was clear to me that this was a marriage of convenience for Barnabas, but what about Mary, who followed him as his bride across the ocean to a wild, new land? I wanted to give her a voice.
When I completed the novel and contemplated the proposal for a three-book series, I considered each of the characters I’d introduced as possible heroes/heroines for the next two books. One of the fictitious characters introduced in the firstnovel, Patience Terry, surprised me as she matured with a character arc of her own. Each book would move forward a decade, and I imagined Patience’s life in the third book.
From research I knew Southold’s first minister would be succeeded by the Reverend Joshua Hobart someday. What if Patience fell in love with the young new minister? She’d always been infatuated with the honorable Barnabas, and hoped to find someone who could compare. The reverend seemed the perfect match for her.
But when I completed book two of the now contracted series, The Southold Chronicles, and turned my full attention and research to the third novel, I found there was only a tiny slice of time that Patience and Reverend Hobart could fall in love. Could real-life circumstances surrounding the reverend give the story a happily-ever-after? That indeed was the challenge!
Rebecca DeMarino inherited her love of baking and gardening from her mother; a love of horses, reading, and writing from her dad—and the wanderlust gene from both parents. Her new novel, To Follow Her Heart, releases this month from Revell. She is the author of A Place in His Heart and To Capture Her Heart, books one and two of The Southold Chronicles. A free prologue to The Southold Chronicles series is available here: www.RebeccaDeMarino.com And visit Rebecca here: www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaDeMarino