Shannon here: Donna Schlachter shares her inspiration for her latest Historical Romance, Dianna’s Dilemma. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of a print copy (US only) or an ebook. Deadline: Sept 24th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
About Dianna’s Dilemma
I was invited to join a multi-author project, or what we writers commonly call a MAP. The idea is to create a series or anthology around a common theme. In this case, The Reclusive Man series matches a woman who discovers a man hiding out or incognito as he strives to keep a secret, and she uncovers that secret. The idea is he’s been wounded in the past, perhaps hurt by a woman, and can’t face the world. But the love of a good woman gives him the strength to try again.
I knew I wanted to set the story in Colorado. Somewhere bleak and dismal, or at least it would be in my story. Out on the open plains, with little water, few towns, and not many people. Kind of a last-ditch place.
We’d recently traveled through southwestern Colorado, through La Junta, and I thought maybe this–or a town based on it–would be perfect. After some research, I discovered that La Junta — or Junction City — had been around for a long time, but hadn’t really caught on. With few businesses, well, you know how it is. Hard to attract people, so no new businesses. Well, I learned that the town was incorporated in May 1881. I figured there were likely people on both sides of that decision. Create some tension, perhaps. Then there was really an incident where a herd of antelope raced down Main Street, and so the founding folks decided to include an antelope on the town seal. That had to go into a book.
Question for Readers: Have you ever visited a place you thought would be the perfect setting for a novel? Where and why?
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 – Dianna’s Dilemma: Dianna Dewalt, a journalist with the Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette, is assigned a story she isn’t the least bit interested in—the May 15, 1881 incorporation of La Junta, Colorado. She is interested in keeping her job and someday becoming editor, so she travels via stagecoach to the small town. Arriving a week before, she endures the heat of the area and the bad manners of the men in the town as she gathers personal interest stories about the town and its incorporation. She meets a handsome man who seems out of place. Cultured accent, well-read, educated. A gaze that never quite focuses on her. And a patchwork past that doesn’t fit him. She asks around town, but nobody knows anything about him. Her investigative nose for a mystery begins twitching. She’s certain he’s keeping a secret. But what, exactly? Something criminal? Immoral? Or is she wrong about him, and he’s telling her the truth?
Samson Macon, known to his few friends as Sam, works for the local stage line as a tack and saddle maker. He keeps himself to himself because that’s the easiest way to keep a secret. He came to Junction City three years prior to escape the memories that haunted him: his wife and child died because he wasn’t a good enough doctor to save them. He simply walked away from his profession, causing a stir at the hospital in Denver and in the news. Rumors abound as to his whereabouts.
When news arrives in town about a man being arrested and charged with the murder of a missing doctor from Denver—a Michael Swanson. Dianna’s itchy scalp, now stitched by the saddle maker, means she’s onto something. Could Samson Macon and Michael Swanson be the same man? Will he let another be hung without revealing himself? If so, he isn’t the man she thought he was. She telegraphs her office and asks for information on Doctor Michael Swanson. When she receives it, she considers whether to go to the sheriff or to Samson.
Samson must decide whether to admit his past and trust that God will heal his broken heart, or forever carry the real blame for another’s death. Dianna must choose whether to break her promise or save another’s life. Both must determine what’s most important to them.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Want to check out the rest of the Reclusive Man series? Interested in Donna’s other titles? Get your copy/copies now!
Come back Sept 20th for Penny Zeller!