I’ve had two loves since childhood – horses and history. I read everything I could to learn about horses, all The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and collected every Breyer horse model I could buy. As to history, I devoured everything I could about the historic sites my parents took me to and fell in love with John Jakes North & South series. Later, that turned to historic romances and I was lost.
But I had to grow up, choose a major and career. One of my loves set the path – History. Got my BA & MA in European History and US from the University of Missouri and did PhD work through St. Louis University. Those degrees got me into the museum field, making history my career.
All those years of academic research abilities have helped me in writing historical romance. But heroes and heroines are more than monarchs, presidents, despots, and war machines. They’re real people, living in a time many romanticize about without understanding the complexities. These people love, hate, worry, celebrate and live like we do. How? Research, research, and more research. Diaries, census records, wills, deeds, church sermons, letters, laws, and so much more. Years of being a Civil War Reenactor helped me go beyond academia to get to the backbone of these people – who they were. The past is a fascinating adventure, real and alive, with discoveries at every corner. These people loved and fought just like we do today.
With my son off to college, I have the freedom to now research and write what I’ve longed to write – not for academia, not for formal education but from my heart. As a member of RWA, MORWA, HHRW, and The Beau Monde, I get to experience the new adventure of the love in the past. That is, as long as I still pay attention to my supervisors – my two black labs, my three cats and yes, my Arabian gelding, named Shetan, after The Black Stallion. Both my childhood loves together at last.