OdessaGinger Simpson officially became a published author in 2003 with the release of her first western historical romance, Prairie Peace. She retired early from the University of California to devote more time to her writing and has since signed more then twenty contracts. Although she’s dabbled in several genres, her favorite remains historical westerns. A steady TV diet of Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Rawhide as well as reading every Laura Ingalls Wilder book in grammar school led her down the rootin’ tootin’ path of cowboys and Indians, and now they are her passion. The cover of her latest release, Odessa, is featured today.

  • Odessa available on amazon.com

Civil War: Romance & History

by Ginger Simpson

There have been many historical romances built around the American Civil War, but the era (1861-1865) was far from a time filled with love, hearts and flowers. Given the reality, authors draw romantic interest based on the separation between hero and heroine, the obstacle (war) that keeps the characters apart, the pending possibility of a safe return, and the final joy of seeing a loved one appear unscathed from a battle that claimed so many lives. The joy and return is what is called an HEA (Happily Ever After), usually a staunch requirement in all romance novels. Gone With The Wind

At the mention of this particular historical era, we automatically picture tree-lined streets and exquisite architecture as seen in Gone with the Wind. Sexy heroes like Clark Gable and the imagery in the movie gave credence to romance in the south. Showing a story is a wonderful thing to stimulate the imagination.

Jenny's PassionA favorite author who writes in this particular genre is Diane Wylie. Her novels, Jenny’s Passion, Secrets and Sacrifices and Lila’s Vow are great examples of historical writing where love conquers all. You can find her at http://www.dianewylie.com. Bet you’ll fall in love with her writing just as I did.

But back to some interesting and true facts about the Civil War: In reality, eleven Southern states declared their intent to separate from the US and formed the Confederate army. Twenty-five states, comprised of mostly slave-free Northern states became the Union Army. Four more slave states joined the succession effort when the Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in North Carolina.

It’s no surprise the Confederacy lost the war. Consider this information:

Civil War Flags1. The Union population exceeded the Confederacy 71% to 29%.

2. The slave population in the south (who of course wanted their freedom) was 3,500,000 as compared to 400,000 in the north.

3. The number of enlisted serving in the Union exceeded the South 67% to 33%.

4. Northern railway lines numbered 21,788 miles as compared to 8,838 Confederate miles.

5. Firearm production speaks for itself. North 97% – South 3%. Battle of  Antietam

The war ended when the Confederacy surrendered on April 9, 1865, yet on April 14, 1865, a southern sympathizer assassinated President Lincoln. The true number of casualties from the Civil War will never be known, but an estimated 623,026, or one out of eleven men, died during this period of time. If you combine the destruction of property, families, and the long road to reconstruction, things don’t look quite so romantic, do they?

Thank Goodness for fiction which allows authors to weave imaginary tales into historical facts to make them much more appealing. There’s nothing quite like a great Civil War romance. I’ll take mine with Tom Selleck playing the lead opposite me as the heroine.

The bottom line…being an historical fiction writer allows an author to take creative license with any era as long as the facts relating to the period are correct. There is nothing more dreaded by an historical author than losing one’s credibility because of a factual faus pax. Add as much character, sex, and romance as you’d like, but make sure you get your history straight.

http://www.gingersimpson.com          http://mizging.blogspot.com

5 comments on “Western Romance, The Story of Us —– Part XI

  1. Pingback: Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency: The Civil War Begins, Fort’s Surrender « Jeinrev

  2. Great iarticle, Ginger. I really enjoy a good dose of Bonanza and Gunsmoke even today, thanks to Tvland, lol, so I know how that is. Gotta love those cowboys and when you throw in some good history too, you have to be setting yourself up for a great mix! Thanks for sharing!!



  3. Hey Cheri, just butting in here to say I loved Wagon Train, too, and adored Flint McCollough. I haven’t written any wagon train stories yet, but the book I’m working on now has a cattle drive in it. That was inspired by my favorite western movie, Red River — the original black and white version with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. We are imprinted by books, movies and TV shows we love as kids. Permanently!


  4. Ginger,

    Thanks for a great ariticle! Not only did you explain why we love Civl War romances, but in the process gave us a short, concise history lesson with interesting and important facts why the Union won and we remained one nation.
    I must admit I’ve never read any of Diane Wylie, but will put her on my to-read list…along with you. 8>)
    BTW, Wagon Train was my favorite TV show with Ward Bond as the wagon master, Major Seth Adams and Robert Horton as the oh, so handsome, Flint McCollough. It’s no wonder my book’s setting was on a wagon train crossing the Oregon Trail!



    • Oh, Cheri,
      Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I remembered the show but totally zoned on the crush I had on Flint McCullough. I’m glad you enjoyed my post, and I’m so happy Lyn assigned me the Civil War topic. I learned a great deal and had fun while I did. I’m sure you’ll enjoy Diane Wylie’s style; she’s one of my favorites. Thank you for taking time to leave a comment and show your appreciation. It means a lot.


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