Shannon here: Donna Schlachter shares the inspiration for her latest Historical Romantic Suspense, Calli – book 13 in her Prairie Roses collection. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of a print (US only) or ebook copy. Deadline: May 21st, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
I always like to have a theme verse for every book I write. I find it helps keep me on track for the story I have in mind. For Calli, I chose:
The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow… (Psalm 146:9)
This story has both the fatherless and a widow. Calli’s husband recently died in an accident while on military duty, and she’s not completely recovered from that. Bot does anybody, really? However, as we know, most don’t want to be reminded of death, so she feels both alone and scared, as if she’d never known and loved her husband. Is that what his death meant? That this was it? She’s angry with God and cannot reconcile the notion of a loving God with One who would take her husband.
But at a deeper spiritual level, every character in the book—as well as each of us—is fatherless. God, the Father, constantly seeks us, desiring we rest in Him instead of trying to figure out everything on our own. When we surrender to Him, and we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, we are born into a new family line where we will never lose or be rejected by Our Father.
I set this story in 1870, a time when wagon trains were still heading west, but now some were straggling back, not having found what they’d hoped for. Unofficial estimates put these “returners” in the tens of thousands. I felt that was a story I wanted to tell.
I’ve visited the historic Fort Bridger site, and as I wrote the story, I envisioned the buildings as they were then and are today. Sometimes it means I have to go back and punch up the setting description a little. I’ve seen it, so I know what it looks like, but you, the reader, haven’t. That’s a great benefit for me as an author, because I immerse myself in the story and can focus on the characters and what’s going on.
About Donna: A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 50 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both.
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About the book – Calli (Book #13, Prairie Roses collection):
Calli works as a nurse with the US Army at Fort Bridger, Wyoming in 1880. When a wagon train full of discouraged emigrants passes through on its way east, a pregnant widow delivers her baby then dies. Bradley Wilson, leading this train, has few options. He asks Calli to travel with them until they find a relative to take the child in St. Joe, Missouri. Calli, drawn to both this dark and quiet man and the child, resists. But when she disappears, he wonders if she’s run away or been kidnapped. Can these two put their pasts behind them and move into a new future together? Or will Calli insist on having things her own way?
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Question for Readers: Would you have been willing to take off for parts unknown on a wagon train? Why or why not?
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