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The Revolutionary Era with Guest Novelist Louise M. Gouge

Good morning, everyone. Dina here. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Louise M. Gouge about her elegant and exciting Revolutionary romance novels as we discuss our historical eras theme.

Welcome to Inkwell Inspirations, Louise. To start off, why do you write historical novels?

When people ask me this question, I tell them it’s because I like to live in the past. That’s only partly true. I love the days gone by when belief in God was the norm, honesty and good manners were expected, and people were taught to respect authority and each other. I realize that might sound a bit idealized, but my maternal grandmother, a true Victorian lady (1875-1979)) exemplified this behavior. She said it was the way things were in her day. So when I write historical novels, I can revisit that world and those attitudes. But there were many troubling things about the past, too, so those provide conflicts for my stories. Slavery, the secondary place of women, unjust governments, and many more issues provide fodder for great stories while (dare I say it?) educating my readers about the past.

You can certainly say it as far as I'm concerned. I love to learn from reading novels. Probably why I'm such a huge historical fan. So, Louise, have you written any contemporaries? If so, what is different about the experience?

Successful fiction relies on good research, whether historical or contemporary. My first two published novels (from Crossway Books in 1994 & 1998) were contemporaries, and I had a blast writing them. Because the hero was an NFL quarterback, I needed to research professional football. The Lord put a man in my path who had played for the New England Patriots (and was a Super Bowl MVP!), and he generously helped me with the entire picture of that world. Also, although I had once lived in my Colorado setting, I still needed to call an old friend to do some research for things I’d forgotten. Writing historicals, I have much more research to do, everything from clothing to customs to locations, but in either case, that’s one of the things I love about being a writer.

Your new release, The Captain's Lady, is set in the time of the Revolution. Why did you choose this period?

This book is a sequel to my first Steeple Hill book, Love Thine Enemy, which takes place in British East Florida. I love to tell people about this because there are two remarkable things about it. First, I have lived in Florida for thirty years but never considered setting a novel here until the late Kristy Dykes asked me to write an anthology with her. We roughed out our respective stories, but it didn’t sell to the original target publisher. But then Melissa Endlich at Steeple Hill bought my part of the anthology, and I fleshed it out as a full novel! Second, in all these years in Florida, I never realized this was a British colony until I began to research the idea Kristy gave me. Just think about it: if colonists in East Florida had joined the Revolution, the United States would have begun with fourteen colonies instead of thirteen! So I wrote Love Thine Enemy and used the war that was a part of my home state’s history. Then, in one of those lovely things that can happen to a writer, one of my secondary characters asked for his own story. I was happy to comply, and thus, The Captain’s Lady came to be! But I set this book in London to raise the stakes for my dashing hero, a true Patriot and a spy! I’ve fallen in love with this era because this is the foundation of our country, and I’m a flag-waving American!

Your excitement is contagious, Louise. I have to say, your love of the period came through in the book and made me fall in love with it as well. But, what do you think was the greatest weakness of the people of this era?

I think the greatest weakness of our founding fathers was their failure to abolish slavery and grant women’s suffrage at our nation’s inception. Think of all the pain and death that would have been avoided had these men gone deeper into the mind of God and set all men and women free and raised them up to full citizenship!

Beautiful answer. I couldn't agree more. What do you think was the greatest strength?

That they were willing to die—and many did—because they had a vision for what this land, this new nation could be. We hold our lives so dearly, yet these people counted the cost—their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor—and were willing to pay the price so WE can be free. What a responsibility we have to live up to their expectations, don’t you think?

What was the spiritual climate of this time period?

The hardest thing for us to understand these days is how Christian people could have fought so bitterly on both sides in the Revolutionary War, much the same as we have a hard time understanding that Christians fought on both sides in our Civil War. Both sides believed in the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ and tried to live it. But in our Revolution, one side believed in kings and rulers dictating how people should live, while the other side demanded their freedom from such government controls.

Deep thoughts. Sort of that spiritual paradox between having freedom in Christ, but also needing structure and authority. So, Louise, how did you go about weaving all this history into The Captain's Lady?

I have one theme throughout this three-book series: when fair-minded people read the Declaration of Independence, they are forever changed. I use that grand document, our country’s very foundation, to remind people of all that our forefathers and foremothers went through so we can be free. Because it is a part of the story, I’m subtly reminding (dare I again say teaching) my readers about this bit of history. In addition, I briefly mention one or two real life people who wrote and/or signed the Declaration or who fought the good fight in that war. We all need to remember those who struggled and died that we might live in freedom. Hmmm. I’m harping on a theme here.

By the way, random fact by Dina, I'm a direct descendant of John Hart, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Now back to our guest. Louise, your new release is part of a series. Can you share more about the series in general?

As I said above, the first book, Love Thine Enemy, takes place in British East Florida in 1775. In this story, the hero and heroine are on opposite sides in the conflict. In the second book, set in 1776, The Captain’s Lady, the two protagonists are also on opposite sides. I’m currently writing the third book, whose working title is St. Augustine Bride (this will be changed), which takes place in 1780. Trying something different, I have both hero and heroine on the same side, the British side! Writing from a viewpoint I don’t agree with is quite tricky, but it’s also a lesson in human understanding. Empires have risen and fallen on some of these issues. I am delighted to report that The Captain’s Lady garnered a 4-star review from Romantic Times Book Club Magazine!

Good for you, Louise, on the great ratings and on moving out of your comfort zone for the next story. Speaking of moving, do you think you could move your story lines to other time periods, or are they too rooted in the era?

The plot thread could definitely work in other eras. The emotional thread involving people with opposing views falling in love can also be placed in other eras. The romance thread works because historically people on opposite sides of issues and wars have fallen love. Sometimes it works out better than others. Finally, the spiritual thread, which centers on the hero and heroine both growing in the grace of God, can also find a home in any other era. So, yes, I think these conflicts are universal and can be found in any era.

Any parting thoughts for our readers before we say goodbye?

I pray that those who read my books will discover their roots in American freedom and come to appreciate all that has been done for them. Of course, some readers may live in other countries, so I pray they will enjoy my story and apply the spiritual themes to their own lives. God knows you, He loves you, and He has a plan for your life. To seek that path and to trust His wisdom is to find the greatest happiness in life.

Excellent words of wisdom, Louise. Thank you so much for visiting today. I enjoyed learning more about you and your writing. I hope you'll come again sometime.

*Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction, calling her stories “threads of grace woven through time.” In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose. With her great love of history and research, Louise has traveled to several of her locations to ensure the accuracy of her stories’ settings. When she isn't writing, she and her husband love to visit historical sites and museums. Her favorite Bible verse is “He shall choose our inheritance for us” (Psalm 47:4), a testimony to her belief that God has chosen a path for each believer. To seek that path and to trust His wisdom is to find the greatest happiness in life.

The Captain's Lady
Torn between love and duty, American Patriot James Templeton must deny his heart to help win his country's freedom. Captain Templeton's orders from General Washington are clear. His target: Lord Bennington, a member of George III's Privy Council. The assignment: find Bennington's war plans. The risks: the future of the East Florida Colony, Jamie's life...and his heart. In spite of the dangers of their hopeless situation, he's fallen in love with Lady Marianne Moberly, Lord Bennington's daughter. Desperate to protect his country, Jamie carries out his orders with a heavy heart. But Marianne's persistence is a challenge he never expected. With love and faith, they must navigate troubled waters to win their future together.

The Captain’s Lady is available at eharlequin.com, amazon.com, cbd.com, borders.com, barnesandnoble.com. ISBN: 13-978-0-373-82832-6

Click here to read Dina's review of The Captain's Lady

Louise should be stopping by today, so please leave your questions and comments for her.

Comments

  1. Hi, Louise! Your books sound great! I have always loved the Revolutionary era. I set my very first novel there (long relegated to a back shelf.)

    My fascination with this time period began with my senior honors thesis for my history degree. I chose Abigail Adams. She and John have always been intriguing to me. I learned so much not only about their lives, but about life in that era of our history. Maybe someday I'll get to write another one!

    Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

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  2. Great interview with some thought provoking statements. The concluding book, "Where Hearts Are Free" in my Darkness to Light Series is set in Pennsylvania pre-Revolutionary War, and I found the research fascinating. My fourth book is to be set in Texas during the Civil War, and I will be exploring the same issue as Louise did with the hero and heroine on different sides, both believers. That opens a rich field for plowing of emotions. I look forward to reading "The Captain's Lady."

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  3. Good morning, D'Ann. Somehow I didn't realize you had an academic history background. What I blessing. I learned a lot of history in my humanities and literature classes, but I've been thinking about looking for some classes specifically about medieval history. Wonder if they're hard to find.

    Listen to me. I want to learn more about the era that publishers don't want to buy.

    Typical Dina.

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  4. Welcome, Golden. Yet another esteemed historical author in Inkyland today!

    I love your series, and I'm looking forward to future installments. The Civil War may be my favorite time in American history. I also love the Harlem Renaissance.

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  5. Thanks for the kudos, Dina. Always encouraging to receive those from another author. Yes, I'm excited about this Civil War book. Just now getting into the research - went to a Civil War Battle reenactment Sunday. What fun!

    I'd like to ask Louise, "What was the most surprising piece of information you discovered in your research of this period?"

    Golden

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  6. I agree, Dina, how fun to have other authors stop by! Ladies, I'll have to look into your books. They sound awesome. D'Ann, I wish I'd studied more history, but my degrees are in literature, creative writing, and humanities, so I got a lot of history there. Golden, your book is on my wishlist. Have heard so many great things about it! Louise

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  7. Great inteview, Dina.

    Louise, I really enjoyed Love Thine Enemy. I have The Captain's Lady in my TBR. I love the Revolutionary Era.

    Golden...I've read your first two books, after Dina introduced us to them, and I'm eagerly awaiting the third.

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  8. Golden, to answer your question, I think the most surprising thing I learned was about the East Florida Colony, which was a place of refuge for Loyalists fleeing persecution by American Patriots. Many Americans settled in St. Augustine and surrounding areas, and there were rice and indigo plantations all over the area. But the British period was only 20 years, and when the Spanish returned, nearly every bit of evidence of an English presence disappeared. Amazing!

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  9. Wow, Louise! That is a piece of history of which I'm completely ignorant. So very interesting.

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  10. I'm whooping it up on the inside here (trying not to startle my co workers) because I am such an American history nut. D'Ann! Abigail Adams? Wow. Best miniseries I've ever seen was HBO's John Adams. I think we would all benefit from learning more about our country's beginnings. We need it today in such troubling times with our government.

    Golden, it's so nice to see you here. I can't wait for your next series.

    Louise, is your first book available on Amazon? I missed The Captain's Lady, also. January flew by and I never got around to getting it until they were gone off the store shelves.

    Dina, you little namedropper. cool stuff!

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  11. Suzie, what you waitin' for. Get crackin.

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  12. Deb, I was totally sitting here thinking, who's name did I drop. Duh. Blonde moment.

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  13. Louise, it's wonderful to have you here today. I loved The Captain's Lady, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

    Golden's new series sounds wonderful too. Ah, for more hours in the day to read!

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  14. Thank you all for the comments. Yes, Debra, my books are all available at amazon.com or cbd.com. Suzie, I'm so glad you enjoyed Love Thine Enemy. Let me know what you think of The Captain's Lady.

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  16. What a great interview. It's encouraging to see historical fiction is alive and well. I appreciate an author who strives for historical accuracy. Well written novels are my favorite way to learn. I'm looking forward to checking out your novel.

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  17. Welcome, Louise, I really hope that interest in this era picks up, (and not solely because I have a story set in the era!) I really think that there is a wellspring of interest in the revolution and its ideals at the moment. Here's hoping kid!

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  18. Thank you again, everyone for your comments. I'm so encouraged! In fact, I have a third book in this series coming out next April 2011. I love this time period and hope it takes off in popularity. As Lisa said, not just because she (and I) have novels coming out in this period, but because people need to know what our forefathers and foremothers went through so we could have the freedoms we enjoy today.

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  19. Dina said, Suzie, what you waitin' for. Get crackin.

    Suzie says: Alas, too many books, not enough hours in the day... Oh, wait! Not too many books. We can never have too many books. Just a lot of books and not enough time to read.

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  20. Suzie, you know I'm totally kidding, right. You should see myy TBR stack...stacks.

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