Life shapes us into what we’re meant to be—no matter how we fight it. As a baby-boomer from Saginaw, Michigan, my love of American historical fiction began when I was ten, with Gone with the Windand the many, many Westerns on TV and I devoured every historical novel my reading level would allow. But I didn’t realize I was meant to be a writer until, as an adult, I discovered the classic historical romances of Kathleen Woodiwiss, Patricia Mathews, Fern Michaels, and finally, John Jakes’ series, “The Americans.”
“I can do this!” I told myself, recalling my love of musty, century-old books that began when my father brought our family Bible down from the attic. Breathing deeply of the wonderful smell of old paper, I studied aged wedding invitations, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and locks of hair pressed between 1,800 pages of tiny print and frightening illustrations. I wondered about the stories behind them. Why were they so lovingly preserved between the pages of our family Bible? Then I found another treasure in the rafters of our garage. A beat-up trunk filled with books in varying stages of decay dating back to 1835. I kept that trunk, and those books for decades, now and then pluckingone out to revisit an old friend.
The inspiration for The Langesford Legacy series came from one of those books, Seven and Nine Years Among the Comanche and Apache, written in 1873. It was a first-hand account of a husband and wife separated by an attack on their wagon train. Another, an 1862 Union soldier’s pocket manual, brought the Civil War to life for me. During the next busy decades of my life, my imagination mixed those stories, the family Bible, and the myths/legends of my own and my friends’ families, with my love for history and romance—creating the Langesford family.
What I didn’t know was that the story wouldn’t end with one book. Each generation of this magnificently flawed family had their story to tell as they discovered and suffered the consequences of the sins of their fathers, creating their own secrets as well as a dynasty as enduring as our nation.
My books are about characters who reach back through time via old books, diaries, letters, postcards, and sepia-toned pictures rescued from dusty attics. And as the yellowed pages, stained with faded ink lead them back in time, they discover the lies, and the truths of the past that may help or hinder them as they strive to build a better future.
It’s as close to time-travel as I can come. I hope you enjoy the journey—and visit often.