Do you love history? I have a fondness for it, though maybe not as much as my history teacher husband. ;) And now, my friend Heather Greer has dabbled in it too. She's taking over my blog today to tell you a bit about her newest book.
Did you know that even though potato chips were first invented in 1853, it wasn’t until 1926 that someone had the brilliant idea to package them in wax sealed paper bags so they could be marketed to the masses?
Did you know that in 1926 what is considered the first aerial bombing on US soil took place outside Marion, Illinois at the site of Shady Rest, a known gangster’s establishment?
Did you know that Harper’s Bazaar was Harper’s Bazar in the 1920s?
Neither did I. Not until I began writing Window of Opportunity.
Being a contemporary romance writer, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began developing Evangeline and Brendan’s story. I’d read a lot of historical fiction. Not being a fan of history class, fiction was where I learned the most about the past. But I’d never attempted to write a historical story. Too much research was involved for my liking. At least, that’s what I believed.
Turns out, I drastically underestimated how much research one needs to write historical fiction. It seemed like every paragraph, if not every sentence, required some level of research. Was blue a color commonly used in the 1920s? How did young adults spend their time before social media and video games? What were bathrooms called back then? How does one install a stained-glass window and would the process have been the same one hundred years ago?
Every time I sat down to write, I ended up spending most of my time seeking answers to questions I never expected to ask. I spent hours on the internet searching slang and fashion trends of the time. I read all about the 20s from someone who lived them in the book, Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s, by Frederick Lewis Allen. Then to get a feel for the specific area where my story is set, I dove into such light reading as A Knight of Another Sort: Prohibition Days and Charlie Birger by Gary DeNeal and Bloody Williamson by Paul M. Angle. As interesting as it was, I do not recommend binge reading books about gangsters and the violent history of greedy men. It was a heavy couple of days in my house.
I never imagined a day would come where I would need to research these people, places, events, and times. But it did. And I know Window of Opportunity is a stronger story because of the time I spent diving into the Roaring 20s. Though the romantic elements and characters and themes could have survived without all those extra hours of study, Brendan and Evangeline’s world is richer and more real because of the time I spent researching.
Research is necessary for historical writing. And do you know what else? I found I actually enjoyed it a little.
Window of Opportunity
Faith and duty drive Evangeline Moore to protect her father’s pristine image as a judge in Harrisburg, Illinois. Her resolve’s biggest test? Dot, her childhood friend. With Evangeline beside her, Dot’s desire for the Roaring Twenties’ glitz and glamor leads the pair into questionable situations.
Born into a Chicago mob family, Brendan Dunne understands duty, but faith puts him at odds with his father’s demands. Even when his brother James’s propensity for trouble lands them in Harrisburg, the truth is undeniable. To their father, the lines he won’t cross mean Brendan will never measure up.
When circumstances push Brendan and Evangeline together, unexpected events create opportunity to break free of family expectations. Will they be brave enough to forge their own path before the window closes on their chance to change?
Born and raised in rural southern Illinois as a preacher’s kid, Heather was well acquainted with ministry life before her husband became a pastor fifteen years ago. She started serving in youth and children’s ministries when her daughter was still a child. Now, those ministries and wrangling the schedules of her three teenage boys takes a lot of her time and energy, but Heather still tries to carve out a little time for herself. Like many of you, her favorite way to relieve the stress of the day is spending time with a good book. Of course, if she wants the time to be really special, Heather will add a warm blanket and a mug of hot cocoa to her reading time. If she isn’t reading to relax, you can either find her baking in the kitchen or binge-watching her favorite television shows.
Heather has been active in youth ministry for several years. She has led children’s and youth groups for many years. She also directs a Christian youth camp for teenagers every summer. While most of her ministry work has involved children and teenagers, Heather has a heart to see women of faith encouraged and growing in their relationships with God. As believers grow closer to God and begin living out His truths in everyday life, others will see their need for the Savior and long for relationship with Him. It is Heather’s prayer that God will use her love of writing to foster this encouragement and growth in the lives of Christian women.
Heather’s book Grasping Hope is a 2020 Selah Awards in the Women’s Contemporary category.
You can learn more about Heather by visiting her website: https://heathergreer.com/
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
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