Ginger 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.
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.
A 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:
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.
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.