7 September 2014

Guest Post ~ My American Wilderness Series Romances, by Dorothy Wiley

Set in 1797, on America's romantic frontier, this gripping journey of danger, heartache, and passion is the story of Stephen Wyllie, and his heroic and breathtaking quest for land--across a thousand perilous miles to the Kentucky wilderness--a new world for the brave.

Wilderness Trail of Love available on Amazon US and Amazon UK

New Frontier of Love available on Amazon US and Amazon UK

My American Wilderness Series Romances, Wilderness Trail of Love (Book One) and New Frontier of Love (Book Two), are set in 1797 colonial America. My husband’s ancestors, who really did journey from the New England area to Kentucky in the late 18th century, inspired this series.

I wanted to honor these and other first wave settlers of early America by writing these books. The arduous journeys, brave battles, and daily sacrifices of these first-wave pioneers should not be forgotten. Although the books are only inspired by America’s ancestors and are not based on actual people, I’ve attempted to balance the hardships of the frontier with amusing, romantic, and vividly compelling characters that I hope will be very memorable.

My primary approach to writing is to allow the characters to drive the story. I believe a writer must really get to know their characters. I would like to be a plotter, and I am going to try that with my third book, but I confess to being a 'pantser'. For those of you who are new to writing, 'pantser' means writing from the seat of your pants rather than following a detailed plot outlined in advance of writing the book. For me, it means plots driven by the characters.

I spent a lot of time initially conceiving the characters and describing them to myself, both physical characteristics and personalities. Then, in my head, I put them in a room or situation and just follow their lead. They always seem to know what to do or say. I guess that’s my subconscious driving them forward, but it seems to work for me. I often receive compliments on my characters such as this one from a reviewer on Amazon, “The author's well-sculpted cast of characters, not only come alive, but you actually begin to really care about them and want them to succeed in their journey west. Her evil characters are truly scary and her good characters are painted gloriously.”

I also believe in really studying the history and geography of the book’s time period. I spent a great deal of time in libraries and online preparing to write these books. Even some shows on the History Channel helped. I read everything I could get my hands on about the Wilderness Trail and early Kentucky, particularly Boonesborough.

The thing I learned that was the most surprising was the difficult land laws and complicated processes that existed in the 1790’s for acquiring land. The procedure was very complex and often resulted in armed conflicts and people losing their land. This aspect of frontier life is a part of Book 2, New Frontier of Love. Even though it’s a very small part, it adds historical detail and authenticity to the story.

Lastly, like top athletes, writers must continually train. With each draft you build more stamina. With each edit, you increase muscle and get rid of fat. With each skill you practice, such as showing not telling, you add beauty and style. Learning how to produce quality manuscripts is not easy or quick. To really shine, a book requires many drafts and countless edits. After writing for more than 30 years, I still have a lot to learn and believe that each of my novels will be better than the last because I am continually striving to become a better writer.

All the best,

Dorothy Wiley

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About the Author

Award-winning author Dorothy Wiley grew up in southern California and found her own romantic hero in Austin, Texas, where she received a Bachelor of Journalism degree, with honors, from The University of Texas. After a distinguished corporate career in marketing and public relations, she is living her dream writing historical romances and residing in central Texas with her husband on their beautiful cattle ranch. Described by an Amazon reviewer as, “fresh, unblinkingly gritty, and highly readable, her romance novel reads like a classic American adventure story.” The third book in the series is in progress. All books can be read independently. Find out more at Dorothy's website http://www.dorothywiley.com and find her on Facebook and on Twitter at @WileyDorothy

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