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A Hudson book club, with a little prodding from Barbara Bos, read my first book, "Impending Love and War" in my Impending Love series. Barbara is a trustee for Case-Barlow Farm, and we share a love of history and old barns.
Barbara invited me to join a dozen ladies in the club for their meeting in January to discuss my book.
Hudson has several book clubs, but this was my first time talking to one about what I wrote.
I confess, I was excited to talk about my writing. Wouldn't any writer be?
I read my book, which I had written in 2014, to refresh my memory and gathered some visuals to share.
We met at the home of one of the members and upon talking to some of the other ladies in the club, I learned Barbara had the reputation for picking books no one liked. Oh no!
For many of the club members, this was their first historical romance novel and were under the misconception it was a bodice ripper, a term used for novels written in the 1970s. Instead of violent confrontations between the hero and heroine, modern romance novels emphasis an equal relationship with a clever first meeting and problems more complex than how to land a husband.
Although the romance genre is identified with a happily ever after ending, women's literature doesn't guarantee romance or a happy ending. I explained that women's lit emphasizes a woman's journey through a trial, disease or life altering event and doesn't guarantee a happy ending to clarify the difference.
My writing combines romance, history and suspense and many genres are blended in modern books to appeal to a larger audience of readers.
The Hudson residents enjoyed the emphasis on local history. The story takes place in the fictional town of Darrow Falls and one club member guessed Darrowville inspired the name and at least one building in the book.
They asked an assortment of questions, including where I came up with ideas for the book.
As a reporter I covered a story at the library about the Underground Railroad in the local area, which helped to develop the idea for the story about a runaway slave.
They say write what you know. Since my family has lived in the area for more than 150 years, I had plenty of personal history to draw from.
I shared the fact that the homes in the story were based on my grandparents' house and the Goldsmith House at Hale Farm & Village.
The Beecher name is a family name and my heroine, Cory Beecher, like me, is a distant cousin to Harriet Beecher Stowe.
To create tension, the abolitionist heroine, has two suitors. One is a stranger looking for a runaway slave and the other is an instructor from Western Reserve College, who believes in colonization.
I shared some of my research photos with the favorites being those about the canal in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I love traveling along the Towpath and wanted to incorporate it into the story. In addition to sharing history, I try to add humor and hope the reader has fun reading the book.
The six books in the series can be read independently with each one focusing on one of the Beecher sisters from 1860 through 1866. I'm finishing the fourth and will be sending it to my editor soon.
The club members enjoyed a chance to read something lighthearted, and some of the book club members bought the next book in the series, which I greatly appreciate. Fans are built one book at a time, and I hope I gained a few. I want to thank all the ladies in the book club for the opportunity to share my writing with them.