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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Velda Brotherton

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Velda Brotherton, who writes historical fiction.

About Velda:

A native of Arkansas, Velda began writing in 1983 and by 1987 she had columns in local weekly papers, then went on to be a stringer for a daily newspaper. Her first books came out in 1994, a nonfiction and a western historical romance. To date she has 12 published books and novels, 16 short stories, and a few magazine articles. She's been published by both traditional houses, small presses and now is involved in re-publishing her out of print books to Kindle. Pretty neat that her 13th book, a mainstream paranormal, will be out from SynergEbooks in November. A western historical romance is due out from The Wild Rose Press in February of 2012.

Besides writing, she paints in oils, enjoys good movies, swimming and traveling. She and her husband usually travel in October, but touch base every few days to care for their other family member, a bobtail cat who pretty much runs things around the farm. Their daughter takes care of the place when they're on the road. They live on ten acres in the Ozark National Forest which they share with an occasional black bear, bob cat, herds of deer, red foxes and wandering smaller critters like racoons and possums. They have retired from caring for farm animals and growing a huge garden to pretty much doing what they please. For Velda that's writing and all that goes with it, and for her husband it's carving western figures and taking his fishing boat out occasionally on the nearby lake.

They have two children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Velda!

Velda has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her!


Guest Post by Velda Brotherton:

Fictional Characters Live True Lives

If we aren't careful when we write historical fiction, the characters come off stiff and boring. What's the solution? Set them squarely down in the center of something that really happened. Study the way people acted and reacted in that day and time, give the characters some background problems and a goal that applies to the times and you're off.

In addition to that, I like to walk real characters through the action so they can all get acquainted. I've mingled outlaws like Jesse and Frank James, and the notorious gentleman outlaw Clay Allison into my fictional story letting my hero and heroine get to know them. I actually shoved them together into the story line so that the real characters affected the plot.

This calls for a lot of research concerning these true-to-life characters, which I enjoy thoroughly. For instance, I never read anywhere that Jesse James was fond of quoting Shakespeare until I began to dig into his life story. I also learned he loved to have his photo taken. This fit right in with my book, Images in Scarlet, about a young woman photographer working her way from Missouri to Santa Fe by taking photos after the Civil War. At that time, Frank and Jessie were roaming Missouri and had a hideout there.

When Jesse and Frank kidnap her, she is afraid of the worst, until she learns they only want her to take some photos. Jake, who is traveling with her, which is another story, thinks the worst when she disappears and takes her to the outlaw hideout. It made for a slightly funny, slightly scary scene and I really enjoyed writing it. My readers let me know they enjoyed reading it too. 

It's always important when using these real characters that the writer makes sure they could have been in the vicinity during the time period the story takes place. Fiction only extends so far in your historical storytelling. You can't make up outrageous things about well-known historical figures, though you can allow them to romp through your story if you remain true to their lives and let them do what they would have done in such a situation. 

In Dream Walker, the story begins in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1849 where the Cherokee and white businessmen have formed a wagon train to go west to California to look for gold and come back rich. The plan is to blaze a new trail west avoiding the desert and some of the well-grazed land around the Oregon Trail. This will open up a new route so the cattle drives crossing Arkansas can follow with better results.

In the story I placed the real leaders and several of the characters who were on that first wagon train west. After my half-Cherokee, half-white heroine, Rachel Keye (Winter Dawn) stows away on one of the wagons, the real characters interact with her and ex-soldier Daniel Wolfe (the fictional hero) throughout the trip. One of Arkansas' folk heroes was Peter Mankins, and he was known to be a charming man who liked the ladies. He had a big part in the book when Rachel continued to get in trouble.  Because I've written a lot of historical articles for several local newspapers over many years, I knew these people quite well, having researched them as well as interviewing people whose families were well acquainted with them.

The disclaimer in the front of my books carries this statement, a bit different from most: As a work of historical fiction, the names, incidents and places from the past are historically accurate. The story is fiction and those names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer's imagination.

In my book Stone Heart's Woman, due out from The Wild Rose Press soon, I placed my hero, Stone Heart, who is a fictional half-Cheyenne son of George Armstrong Custer, and a spitfire Irish dancer, Aiden Connor, in the center of the last retreat of the Northern Cheyenne after they escape from the Indian Nation and headed home to Montana. Many of the characters in this story are real, especially the soldiers who tracked down the fleeing Cheyenne and several members of the tribe. Libby Custer plays a huge part offstage in the settling of the final conflict when Stone Heart is scheduled to be shot for treason.

To do this calls for a lot of research. These books originally came out in the 1990s before there was much of an Internet, so I used books and spent hours at the library, poring over historical tomes. As you can probably tell, I'm fascinated by the mixing of the American Indian with the whites and the particular problems this caused. Probably because my Dad's grandmothers on both sides of his family were Cherokee. Many of my family members are on the rolls at Tahlequah, Oklahoma and in Cherokee, North Carolina.

The Montana Trilogy, which is available on Kindle at Amazon, begins with our heroine stranded in a soddie on the high plains and our hero, half-Sioux soldier on the run from Yankee soldiers toward the end of the Civil War. Toward the end of the book, a young man shows up by the name of Ben Poole. He is befriended by Rose Langue who owns one of the "bawdy" houses in Virginia City, Montana. Ben goes on to become the hero in the second book, Montana Dreams, as he rescues Dessa Fallon who is on a stage bound for Virginia City when it is robbed. She is joining her parents who have learned that their son Mitchell, thought killed in the war, is alive. Mitchell, who has turned to gunslinging becomes the hero of the third book, Montana Destiny, when he returns to Montana to help a land baron steal land from small ranchers. Charlene (Charlie) Houston owns some of that land and it isn't long before Mitch switches sides. This ends the trilogy, but not my historical novels.

In each of these books, real honest-to-goodness characters out of the past crop up with regularity and become a part of the conflict and story-line. It's so much fun to see them come alive that I can't resist any good character I run across during research. I enjoy the research so much I sometimes have to force myself away from it and back to the business of writing books.

Because I also write regional nonfiction, it's not unusual for me to collect many people for my fiction books while interviewing and researching for the nonfiction books. Mixing the two has made for an interesting writing career. I am excited about the opportunities being offered by self-publication on E Books. I'm anxious to see how this plays out over time.

You can learn lots more about me and the history I love on my website: http://www.veldabrotherton.com.


Thanks so much for joining us today, Velda! I love how you have integrated real characters and facts into your historical fiction! 


Giveaway:

Velda has generously offered to giveaway one e-book copy of her book, Dream Walker.

SYNOPSIS: 

Western Historical Romance 1853 Fayetteville, AR to California. A wagon journey with the Cherokee and white businessmen who blazed the Cherokee Trail to the gold fields.

Rachel Keye is part Cherokee and she longs to live a life as a white woman. But there's a problem. She's been sold into slavery by her half brother, Eagle.

Daniel Wolfe is haunted by the killings during the War With Mexico and only wants to live a life alone in the wilds of Oregon.

Can Rachel dream walk into his nightmares and ease the spirits that haunt him. Will Daniel be able to protect her from the evil that pursues her as they head for California?

To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to all with a valid email address until 12:01 AM EST on Saturday, October 15th. 
 








4 comments:

  1. Hey Darlene! Haven't seen you around lately ...stop by if you have time later!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Darlene and Velda! Thanks for hosting this nice spotlight and giveaway!

    Dorothy - The Alaskan Bookie
    Blog ~ http://alaskanbookie.blogspot.com/
    Twitter ~ http://twitter.com/AkChocoholic

    ReplyDelete
  3. I want to thank Darlene for this spotlight. Hers is a terrific blog with a lot of valuable information. Good to hear from everyone who's replied so far.

    ReplyDelete

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