Shannon here: Caryl McAdoo shares her inspiration for her latest Historical Romance, Chief of Sinners. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated Aug 25 – 29 to enter the drawing for a copy of Vow Unbroken. Deadline: Sept 9th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Caryl:
The First Shall be Last; The Story Behind the Story
Almost twenty-five years ago, I wrote my first Christian historical romance CHIEF OF SINNERS about a traveling tent preacher and his young son Buddy, but it proved too secular for the Christian publishers and too religious for those more secular.
Then in 2012, an agent’s challenge pushed me into a creative storm. For the new requested historical. “Write me a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s and I’ll sell it.” My setting—where else but the Lone Star State? I placed my young heroine on the same land I live on, south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County, the historical ‘Gateway to Texas.’
The hardworking widow birthed the premise for VOW UNBROKEN. Susannah (Sue) Baylor needed help getting her cotton to market. Enter hero Henry Buckmeyer. While the heroine had no history, a bit of Buckmeyer’s I knew; the backstory of CHIEF written first long ago.
Just as she said, the agent sold VOW, submitted nine weeks later, to Simon and Schuster’s Howard
Books. From writing chapter one to a top-five publisher in less than six months! Who could deny God’s divine plan?
Howard contracted for an option on the next book, so jump seven years ahead to 1839 and HEARTS STOLEN with Sue’s nephew in VOW then a Texas Ranger. He rescues Sassy Nightingale from her Comanche captors, and promptly falls in love, thus introducing the great-grandmother of the hero in CHIEF OF SINNERS, Broderick Eversole Nightingale, known as Buddy.
Note: Praise the Lord for bringing me to ‘Indie’ publish HEARTS, book two, as soon contractual obligations were met, launching my hybrid career. I’ve released nine Texas Romance novels in only three years; it may have taken until 2023 with traditional publishing.
HEARTS ends in 1844, a long way from the 1926 opening of CHIEF, so I penned book three, HOPE REBORN to start closing the gap. That led straightway into SINS OF THE MOTHERS—the fourth book, first of the second generation in the family saga.
DAUGHTERS OF THE HEART followed, wrapping up the romances of two more Buckmeyer sisters with one marrying an Eversole, Buddy’s maternal grandfather (where he got his middle name). That story ends in 1854. Historically, time for a Civil War story!
All the young men were the perfect age, so the sixth book JUST KIN, features the love story of Buddy’s paternal grandparents, Charley and Lacey—first introduced as a four-year-old and newborn in book two. This addition advanced the Texas Romance series through the war to 1866.
AT LIBERTY TO LOVE, book seven, wraps up a few loose threads and moves the patriarch Henry Buckmeyer south to the banks of the Llano River in the Texas hill country. He had to go there, because that’s CHIEF OF SINNERS’(written so long ago) setting.
Then a terrible time came. It’s appointed for every man to die once, and Henry was no exception. I cried all the way through those chapters. He did linger long enough for Buddy’s parents to be introduced to one another in COVERING LOVE, book eight. It ends in 1885, still forty-one years short of CHIEF’s opening.
The challenge of writing a prequel is its pre-determined end. Moving from 1918 when MIGHTY TO SAVE begins to 1925 the year before CHIEF opens, book nine requires all the pieces to fit within itself to a satisfactory end, setting the stage for Buddy’s and his heroine Sandy’s love story.
Note: Because Evelyn Eversole, Buddy’s mother, is a novelist, I incorporated another story actually started eighteen years ago in 1999 to introduce John and Pearl Harris, Sandy’s paternal great-grandparents. So in MIGHTY, Evelyn writes PEARL OF GREAT PRICE after meeting Pearl who tells her history back in antebellum Texas!
CHIEF OF SINNERS was originally written in 1993 from a screenplay based on a TV evangelist. An agent pronounced the story unbelievable. But what if that preacher was the grandson of an old time tent evangelist with a weakness for strong drink? And what if he had a son with plenty of his own troubles though all three—the TV preacher, tent evangelist, and his son—truly loved the Lord? As today, men find walking the straight and narrow path trying.
Though no major changes were necessary to the twenty-four year old manuscript, a few areas needed minor adjustments to line up with the first nine books in the family saga. Paragraphs of well-placed backstory remembrances offer a bit more of the enhancing detail that my readers say they love. Through five generations, over a century of love and romance ensued, and I loved every story.
So creating the Buckmeyers, Baylors, Nightingales, and Harrises with all their supporting players has been a labor of my love, praying my story gives God glory. I hope my readers find each installment of the family saga able to stand alone, entertaining, inspiring, thought provoking, and real to life.
About Caryl: Caryl McAdoo loves God and writes four series praying each story gives God glory—all
with a strong Christian faith. She loves praising with new songs the Lord gives her and counts four children and seventeen grandsugars life’s best blessings. She and high school sweetheart-husband Ron love living in the woods of Red River County five miles south of Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Chief of Sinners
Obedience can overcome ruinous choices, and with repentance of wicked ways, God’s faithful forgiveness and mercies never fail.
Set in the afterglow of the Azusa Street Revival, this epic addition to the Texas Romance family saga sweeps through three decades of triumphs and tragedies—from the Texas Hill Country to the beaches of Normandy and beyond.
The faithful flock to his father’s tent where Buddy Nightingale leads praise and worship, but like King David, the young psalmist battles a generational curse, lust. On his first night back in Marble Falls, Texas—the place he heard the angels sang fifteen years prior—he beholds Sandra Harris, an eighteen-year-old beauty, attending strictly for the entertainment of the Spirit filled meetings. Love strikes both, but her Church of Christ father wants no part of any holy roller.
Sometimes choices we make take us places we never intend to go, but God . . .
On top of the giveaway drawing, Caryl is generously offering a free e-book: Hearts Stolen
Question for Readers: Has there been a goal in your life that took years to achieve? Share it with us.
Come back Sept 1st for Patricia Lee!