Maggie Blaine, a widow with two teenage daughters, runs a rooming house smack dab on the town square. In 1860 this makes her a social outcast. Boarding houses are only semi-respectable and hers has a collection of eclectic boarders – a failed writer, an undertaker’s apprentice, a struggling young lawyer, and an indigent old Irishman. In addition, she has a friendship with Emily and Nate, an African-American couple with whom she shares her home and chores. Lucky thing the town doesn’t know that Maggie, along with Nate, Emily, and Eli Smith (the free-thinking editor of the weekly newspaper) are involved in the Underground Railroad.
When she is asked to house handsome, gifted Jeremiah Madison, the new Methodist minister, Maggie hopes that he will revive the little church she attends and provide her boarding house with a bit of badly-needed respectability. But Jeremiah comes with some dark secrets that challenge Maggie’s resolve to love and respect all people. As the town’s people reel from a series of shocking events, the compassionate, faithful Maggie searches for truth and struggles to forgive and love. (Based on an historical event.)
2012 B.R.A.G. MedallionTM Honoree
Targeted Age Group:
I find that I spend a great deal of time making sure that historical details and events are correct. Everything from language, to daily tasks, to attitudes and assumptions need to be as accurate as possible. At the same time, a writer of historical fiction also has to make the environment, story and characters accessible to a 21st-century audience. So I guess I would say the sheer amount of research involved makes my genre different from others.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Read! And write, write, write!
I was born in Albany, NY, but raised (for the most part) in Parsippany, NJ. So I’m a Jersey girl!
In addition, I am wildly over-educated. Thank God I stopped only at one Ph.D. Still, all the education as fed into my writing.
Writing is something that I have done all my life. In fact, as I child I used to have a fantasy about being a published author. It took some later-in-life nudging from my significant other, a spiritual “push,” and the emergence of indie publishing before I made that fantasy come true.
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