Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Author’s Inspiration ~ L.S.Young #Histfic #romance @LSYoungAuthor

Please give a warm welcome to Historical Romance author, L.S.Young, who is going to tell us about the inspiration behind her latest book…
A Woman so Bold

Twenty-year-old Landra Andrews is as brazen and unique as her first name. Although educated and well-connected, she is trapped by a dark secret from her past. She fears the rest of her life will be decidedly prosaic, until a dashing young man inherits a neighboring farm and sweeps her off her feet. 

William Cavendish is a second son from an old Southern family. A gentleman in conduct and an artist at heart, he has sown his wild oats in the years he spent abroad and is ready to settle down. He is taken with well-spoken, headstrong Landra from their first meeting, and his heart for her only grows. 

William seems to be everything Landra has dreamed of but never dared to believe she could have—handsome, kind, and well-bred—but when they are wed, she soon finds herself in all-too-familiar surroundings, toiling once more against land that won’t yield. Her restless spirit and iron will rebel against her discontent, and when a lover from her youth returns, she finds herself torn between two very different men. Will the mistakes of her past destroy her hope for the future?


Author’s Inspiration

The initial inspiration for my novel came to me on a windy day at age seventeen, while standing in my grandmother’s back yard, watching a storm come in. The wind was blowing white sand across this field of winter rye and I started thinking about what it would have been like to live in Florida as a woman in the 19th century. I went inside and wrote what would become the opening lines of A Woman So Bold. Like many historical writers, the past has always been more interesting to me than the present. Although I put this novel away for a long time, only resurrecting it about four years ago, it is an idea I have been preoccupied with for twelve years.
I live on land farmed by my family on my mother’s side nearly one hundred years ago, and it was important to me for my first novel to be based on my roots. The setting is a fictional town called Willowbend which I placed within several miles of Madison, Florida, where I grew up. Hearing stories from my grandmother about her childhood and early womanhood on a farm in the twenties and thirties has been integral to my story as well. She told me about how her mother’s family came down to Florida from the Carolinas in a covered wagon in the late-19th century. The idea of women who were connected to the land, eking out a living in a humid, warm climate, bearing children before modern medicine, appealed to me. We don’t hear many voices from these women in literature, and I wanted to imagine one and give her a voice. My grandmother herself inspired me as well, as a person who is deeply devoted to her family and worked hard all her life. Even into her mid-eighties she would be outside pulling weeds from her flowerbeds in the hot sun every day, her only complaint, “It’s hot as blue blazes out here!” As a little girl I saw her kill a giant rattlesnake with a rabbit in its mouth with nothing but a garden hoe, and I gleaned that memory for a similar scene in my novel.
The part of the Southern U.S. that I live in, even in the year 2016, is rural, deeply religious, superstitious in some ways, and I toyed with the idea of what it must have been like one hundred and twenty years ago. How would an opinionated woman with gumption and a strong will have fared in that environment?  How would she have challenged societal norms? With marriage being one of the only expectations afforded to her, what sort of man would choose to marry her? The century and setting were too late for her to have been burned as a witch, but that might not stop people from calling her one. Landra Andrews was born from these questions.
Some local landmarks and fauna I paid tribute to were the Monticello, Florida  Opera House (built in 1890), Carabelle School in Madison County (a one-room school house from the period that is still standing), and the Withlacoochee River, which divides the Florida-Georgia line, but my favorite is the live oak tree. I love the idea that trees and rivers are older than humans and civilization itself, and have seen time.
Live oaks are a long-lived native Florida tree known for their strong bark. The USS Constitution, a legendary American warship nicknamed Old Ironsides, was constructed of pine and southern live oak, and The Old Senator, a live oak that stands in St. Augustine near the fabled Fountain of Youth, is estimated to be six hundred years old.  In my novel, the ancient live oak growing in the middle of the heroine’s cotton field after she marries becomes a symbol of her own iron will, her connection to the natural world, and the inner strength she draws from the earth.

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About the author
L.S. Young lives in rural north Florida with her husband and daughter. She received her BA in English with a minor in Religion from Southeastern University, and is a member of the Historical Novel Society. After spending several years as a childcare worker and secondary English teacher, she turned to writing full-time. She enjoys exploring the Suwannee River State Park, hiking in the Appalachian Mountains, swimming, and writing nature poetry. She’s an enthusiastic reader of fantasy, horror, Victorian literature, and historical fiction. A Woman So Bold is her debut novel. 
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1 comment:

See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx