Monday, September 1, 2014


  I've been invited to take part in the Writer's World Blog Tour by my super-talented author friend, Lori Benton. Here's a look at her bio and a link to her blog post from last week:

    Lori Benton, author of Burning Sky (a double Christy winner and 2014 Book of the Year) and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, Lori enjoys exploring beautiful Oregon with her husband.

  On this tour, each writer is invited to answer the same four questions, so here are my answers:

1. What are you working on?
    I'm in the editing stage for State of Matrimony, a novella to be included in the Oregon Trail Romance Collection from Barbour. The collection is scheduled for release in April of 2015. Stories about the Oregon Trail are of particular interest to me, since my great-grandparents came west over the trail. When he was in his eighties, my grandfather, their son, wrote a memoir of the trip.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

    My novels and novellas are all set in the 1800’s. I attempt to include little-known facts from the particular time period in each book. Romance plays a part in my stories, but my chief goal is to communicate to my readers a feeling of being present in my novels. After reading Where Wildflowers Bloom, one reader said she felt she could time-travel to 1866 Noble Springs, Missouri (the setting for the story), and find her way around the town. I loved that comment!

3. Why do you write what you do?

    All of my fiction is inspired in one way or another by the lives of my ancestors. I’m blessed to be descended from generations of memoir writers dating back to pre-American Revolution times. When I compiled a narrative family history, I realized that all of our collected memoirs were written by men. That sparked a desire to know what the women’s lives were like. Since my female ancestors were silent on the subject, I turned to fiction to fill in the blanks. Learning about women’s lives in the 19th Century has certainly made me grateful to live in the here and now.

4. How does your writing process work?

    One word: Convoluted. Once I’ve decided on the characters for a story, I sketch a story arc and write a brief summary of the tale. I attempt to write every weekday afternoon, and my usual goal is 1,000 to 1,500 words. I print out what I’ve written, then the next day go back over the pages and do a light edit. That primes the pump to continue with the story line. Things change as I write, and usually the completed project isn’t quite the same as the initial summary. That’s the fun part!
    I’m also part of an online critique group. We share a chapter once a week, and when the critiques come back to me I do another edit of the material, then move on. Before a book is turned into the publisher, I print out the whole thing and read through it, doing a deeper edit as I go. By the time a novel is finally submitted (via email), I’ve been over the material a number of times.
    Then, of course, the work comes back from my editor with suggested changes. The publisher of my novels goes over my manuscript three times. The first time it’s a global edit—looking for obvious mistakes and asking questions to deepen the plot. The second edit is line-by-line, giving me a chance to revise and change things once more. Third time around, I receive the page proofs. By now the book has been typeset. This time I receive the manuscript in final form, except it’s on regular size paper. Now I proof-read with an eagle eye to find every last tiny error. After returning the corrected pages, I sit back and wait for UPS to deliver the finished product two or three months later. It’s always a thrill to hold my “baby” in my hands for the first time.

    So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    On September 8, please look for author Bonnie Leon’s contribution to the blog tour. Bonnie and I have been friends for many years, and in addition to being a talented story-teller she’s an encouraging mentor. Her wisdom helped me progress from novice writer to published author.
Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty novels, including the recently released Where Eagles Soar and the popular Alaskan Skies series. 
She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother, and relishing precious time with her aged mother.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

You can find Bonnie’s blog at


  1. I am envious over all those memoirs you have, Ann. That's wonderful. What a heritage!

    What state/colony did your ancestors live in during the pre-Revolution years?

  2. Ann, this was such fun to read! And my, I love the idea of printing each day's pages as you go, "priming the pump" for the next day's work. Just brilliant. Thanks for the fun glimpse into your writing world! :)

  3. Lori, My ancestors first settled in Mankintown,Virginia in 1685. They fled France after the repeal of the Edict of Nantes. Their descendants married into another Virginia family who arrived on these shores in 1749. A couple of my ancestors fought in the Revolution. I'm indeed blessed to have these memoirs.

  4. Enjoyed reading about your writing, Ann. I think I'm going to have to move to Oregon. You have a great community of writers there. Actually I had some relations that relocated in Oregon and my dad rode from KY to Oregon on his motorcycle to visit them when he was 21. So in ways, I have some out west connections. :) Love the cover of your book, Love's Sweet Beginnings. Beautiful purple or plum dress.

  5. Thanks, Ann! I can't imagine riding from Kentucky to Oregon on a motorcycle! My husband and I drove to Kentucky to do family research and it was a long trip from Oregon. Thanks for commenting.