Historical Inspiration #MFRWAuthor 2018 52-week Blog Challenge

2018 blog challenge button

This week’s prompt in the #MFRWAuthor 2018 52-week Blog Challenge is: A book that has influenced my life.

Little Women coverAs usual, I can’t pick just one, but two children’s books came immediately to mind: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth Speare.

When I was in grade school, Little Women was my favorite book. I can’t remember how many times I read it, always identifying with Jo, of course. And I cried every time Beth died. My mom used to get annoyed at me and ask, “Why do you keep reading it when it makes you cry?” My answer was always a sobbing, “Because it’s so good!”

I think Jo March was the reason I, too, wanted to be a writer.

Witch of Blackbird Pond coverThe other book that I remember with great fondness from my middle school days is The Witch of Blackbird Pond, the 1959 Newbery Medal winner. If you don’t know the storyline, it’s about Kit Tyler, a teenage girl who leaves the relative freedom of her life in Barbados to stay with Puritan relatives in Connecticut in 1687. She meets a dashing young man name Nat and a Quaker woman living in isolation, whom the colonists suspect of being a witch. The Goodreads description, calls it a “portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.”

There’s a bit of romance in the book between Kit and Nat, and I credit this book with my preference for historical romance, as well as opening my eyes to the evils of religious persecution.

While Little Women was a contemporary novel when it was written, it always seemed historical to me, set in the Civil War as it was. And The Witch of Blackbird Pond was written as a historical, my all-time favorite genre.

What book(s) influenced your life?


Click on the linky list below for more influential books.

Not Just About Me #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

This week’s prompt in the #MFRWAuthor 52-Week Blog Challenge is: How much of myself is in my writing?

2018 blog challenge button

Good question, but I’m not sure I have a good answer, certainly not an easy one. It varies by book.

For the first book I finished, Worth The Risk, by Lyn O’Farrell, a pseudonym for me and my friend Anne Farrell, we really stuck with what we knew. We set the book in Southern California where we live. Since we were both part-time librarians, we gave our heroine the same occupation. And I used what I knew from years of watching car races with my husband and suggested our hero be an ex-race car driver. I even drew on my experience of flying to Catalina Island in a small plane for one scene. We had fun with that book.

Worth the Risk graphic

My second book, Rogue’s Hostage, was a lot more serious. For one thing, it’s a war story, set during the French and Indian War. It opens in Western Pennsylvania where I grew up outside Pittsburgh. I did a lot of research and spent three years writing the book. My mother died during the process, and when I’d finished it, I realized that my heroine, Mara, was, in so many ways, my mother. I dedicated the book to her memory, as well as that of my grandmother, who inspired my love of storytelling and history.

#bookqw deep Rogue

The books that followed were a little less personal, but reflect my interests in various historical periods. Lily and the Gambler is set in an area my husband and I explored together, the Gold Country of California.

Lily graphic

I’ve always loved fairy tales, and that’s reflected in my Kingdoms and Legends series: Ilona’s Wolf and Tova’s Dragon. And Marooned, my steamy pirate romance, answers the question: Who do you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?

All writers put something of themselves into their books, but sometimes it’s so subtle, we’re not even aware of it. At least I’m not.

Use the linky list below to hop to other posts in the #MFRWAuthor 52-Week Blog Challenge.

Linda / Lyndi