The Ideal Location For My Love Story
Posted by Literary Titan
The Winds of Autumn follows a young woman newly married who accompanies her husband on the Oregon Trail while realizing her feelings for another man. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
During my childhood, I remember visiting the fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein, and watching the musical fantasy, Cinderella, on television. Both sparked my imagination and inspired the kind of dream world I would later write about. Jane Austen’s influence would too. The prince becomes the consummate gentleman. The castle becomes a grand mansion. But I also wanted to explore those idyllic notions during the difficult events in America’s past and see how love, like the characters, would find a way to survive the hardships. And, since the city of St. Louis was the starting point of America’s westward expansion, I felt it was the ideal location for my love story to begin.
What were some of the emotional and moral guidelines you followed when developing your characters?
My historical romance novel, The Winds of Autumn, takes place in the 19th century during a tumultuous period in America’s history. This setting allowed me to take readers on a narrative journey set against the backdrop of epic events during that time—the Trail of Tears, the War of the Rebellion (Civil War), and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. These external events were also important catalysts for creating emotional conflict in my novel and between the characters. So much of a fictional story relies on creating characters that feel real to the reader. I wanted to make that real connection by immersing myself into the mind of my characters so I could feel every emotion they felt and what might happen if they acted on those emotions. Pain is a key motivator that can morph into resentment, or hope and love. I asked myself, what did my protagonist, Mariah, feel when she lost her sister, or Mariah’s mother when she lost her daughter? Those feelings run deep, and my personal experience growing up played a part in developing those characters. My antagonist, Nathan Lawton, faces a moral decision, one he justifies from a traumatic moment in his childhood that fuels his resentment with far-reaching consequences. It was important to raise the emotional stakes by forcing the characters to make choices, right or wrong. But the marriage customs of the 19th century left Mariah no choice when she realizes, too late, that marrying Nathan was a mistake. She suddenly finds herself trapped in her marriage which made me wonder, how was it even possible for a woman to follow her heart? Mariah’s internal struggles propel the story forward, forcing her into unimaginable situations but ones that ultimately transform her into the woman she was meant to be.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The title of my novel, The Winds of Autumn, uses the word “winds” as a metaphor for change, the main theme throughout the storyline. That transformational change is most evident in Mariah’s character, a refined young lady abruptly turned pioneer woman enduring the harsh plains of the American West. The theme, the sins of the father, was important to convey in Nathan’s character, giving the reader a clear understanding of his motivations. I found this to be a powerful theme because of its consequences to carry over generation to generation. After I finished writing my manuscript, I realized how central the meaning of home was in my novel, and how even a relationship can feel like coming home. And since my novel is about happily ever after, I wanted to exploit the theme of forbidden love as much as the hope that readers yearn for with the possibility of second chances.
What is the next story that you’re writing and when will it be published?
I’m researching the Gilded Age, a fascinating period in America’s history. I like the idea of that setting for a love story.
About Literary TitanThe Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
Posted on March 30, 2023, in Interviews and tagged author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fiction, goodreads, historical fiction, historical romance, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, Susan Rounds, The Winds of Autumn, western, womens fiction, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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