J. M. Hochstetler, author of the American Patriot Series, has been busy in recent days participating in a virtual book tour.
She makes a stop at Thoughts in Progess to tell us about her latest novel and third in the series, Wind of the Spirit. She has agreed to guest post today.
Here is a brief synopsis of the book: Elizabeth Howard’s assignment to gain crucial intelligence for General Washington leads her into the very maw of war at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, where disaster threatens to end the American rebellion. Yet her heart is fixed on Jonathan Carleton, whose whereabouts remain unknown more than a year after he disappeared into the wilderness.
Carleton, now the Shawnee war chief White Eagle, is caught in a bitter war of his own. As unseen forces gather to destroy him, he leads the fight against white settlers encroaching on Shawnee lands—while battling the longing for Elizabeth that will not give him peace. Can her love bridge the miles that separate them—and the savage bonds that threaten to tear him forever from her arms?
When asked how her American Patriot Series came about, Ms. Hochstetler explained:
Back in 1983 I watched a TV movie, the Scarlet Pimpernel, with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. I was absolutely swept away. Talk about action, intrigue, suspense, heart-pounding danger, roll on the floor laughter—in fact, every emotion known to man including a really hot romance! I knew I absolutely had to write my own version of the story.
The trouble was the Scarlet Pimpernel was set during the French Revolution, and I wasn’t interested in that period. However, I was very interested in the American Revolution, so that became the setting for Daughter of Liberty. Then I decided to make my main character a woman instead of a man, so Elizabeth Howard came to life as the rebel courier, spy, and smuggler, while Jonathan Carleton, an officer in the British Light Dragoons, arrived as her nemesis—on the surface, at least.
I originally conceived Daughter of Liberty as a stand-alone novel. But after realizing that it would be easier to sell it as the first book in a series, I started thinking about a sequel. I’d included a minor detail in book 1 about Carleton having connections with the Shawnee as a youth. Thus book 2, by natural extension, became Native Son, in which General Washington sends Carleton to negotiate with the Indians to support the Americans in the Revolution, and he is captured and enslaved.
Book 3, Wind of the Spirit, started out as the last third of Native Son. My publisher at that time sent out an e-mail to all their fiction authors demanding that we keep our word counts below 90,000. Well, I was already above 120,000 and well on my way to matching Daughter of Liberty’s 127,000+. So ooops!! The editor did concede that I could go a bit higher than 100,000 words since historicals are generally longer than contemporary novels.
So after much agonizing, I cut the entire back end of the story off and wrote a new last chapter to conclude Native Son—on a real cliff hanger, by the way. And voilà! Wind of the Spirit was born out of the remainder.
Of course I added a whole lot more to it to develop it into a full-length novel. In the end, what initially seemed like a disaster turned out to be the best thing that could possibly have happened as far as the story was concerned because it’s a whole lot stronger than the original version. God indeed knows what he’s doing and has everything under control!
A huge concern for me in writing this series has been my concern that our citizens today know so little about the founding of our nation and the legacy handed down to us by those who laid everything on the line to ensure our freedom.
In the American Patriot Series I’m striving to write the only truly comprehensive fiction series on the American Revolution and make it as entertaining and engaging as it is educational. My goal is to portray all aspects of the period, including the experience of colonists, African Americans, Native Americans, and women.
In writing these stories, I simply drop my fictional characters into the midst of the actual historical events of the Revolution and allow them to interact with the real people of the time—both the leaders and, in a number of cases, the common people who were involved in one way or another on both sides of the rebellion.
Consequently, most of the plot and the cast of characters of each volume are already laid out for me. I just choose which specific events will make the most thrilling story and figure out what my characters would do in that particular situation. It’s been fascinating and fun—not to mention a real education!
Thanks to Ms. Hochstetler for stopping by today. Now let me give you a little background on her. She writes stories that always involve some element of the past and of finding home. Born in central Indiana, the daughter of Mennonite farmers, she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Germanic languages.
Ms. Hochstetler was an editor with Abingdon Press for 12 years and has published four novels that include Daughter of Liberty (2004), Native Son (2005), and Wind of the Spirit (March 2009), the first three books of the critically acclaimed American Patriot Series which are set during the American Revolution; and One Holy Night, a retelling of the Christmas story set in modern times. One Holy Night is the 2009 Christian Small Publishers Fiction Book of the Year and a finalist for the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Long Contemporary Book of the Year.
Ms. Hochstetler is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, Nashville Christian Writers Association, and Historical Novels Society. She and her husband live near Nashville, Tennessee.
For more information about Ms. Hochstetler and her work visit www.jmhochstetler.com or at this book’s blog http://americanpatriotseries.blogspot.com
Wind of the Spirit is available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0979748534/