Please welcome today's featured author, Diane Wylie!
Welcome, Diane. Thank you for joining us today. Why don't you start by telling us a little about Secrets and Sacrifices.
Secrets and Sacrifices is the result of my love of the Civil War time period, my background in biology, and a ghost tour. You might wonder how this all ties together, but believe me, it does. I wanted to write a story about a doctor of that time period and all the challenges he faced dealing with the casualties of war. (This is where the biology comes in.) So, Captain Daniel Reid, regimental surgeon, was born in my imagination. Of course, with a hero comes a heroine, and I believe in strong heroines, too. Who could be stronger than a woman who is brave enough to enlist in the Confederate army, like Charlotte Garrett? They were the perfect match. Throw in the turmoil of a terrible time in our history, along with the amazingly evil-looking Fort Delaware (where I went on a ghost tour), and you have a story that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.
I imagine this book involved an incredible amount of research. Can you tell us a little about that process?
My research comes from the normal sources—books and the internet—along with some trips to real battlefields and historical landmarks. I’ve been to Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland to see the places that I describe in Secrets and Sacrifices firsthand. I also watched the reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg, which was amazing. And, as I mentioned, I also took a ghost tour around Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island. There is nothing like actually being there to be able to bring it to life.
This is a time era we don't see all that frequently. Why did you choose the Civil War era?
Precisely because we don’t see enough romances set during that time period. Who doesn’t love Gone with the Wind? I sure did. But as I looked for more fiction set during that time period, I didn’t find much, especially in the romance genre. Lots of stories are told of the generals and leaders of the day. What about the everyday soldier? Their stories need telling as well.
To what aspect of Charlie's character could you, as the author, most relate?
Charlie, or Charlotte as she was christened, gives her love with all her heart, and would do anything for her beloved. That is what I can really relate to.
How about Daniel?
With Daniel, I can relate to his conflict between doing the right thing and doing what is expected of him. As a doctor, he wants to help any injured soldier, but as a Confederate officer, he is expected to only treat the soldiers from his side. I think we all have to face tough choices no matter our life situations.
If your book was the monthly selection for a book club, what do you think would be the focus of the discussion?
Hmm… That is a hard question. Perhaps the focus would be on Charlie’s role in the Underground Railroad? Or maybe the focus would be on the fact that the Reid family, like the whole state of Maryland and the entire country, was divided on the political and social issues of the day.
What's on your nightstand right now? (What are you reading?)
Right now I am reading two books: Ancient Ties, a historical romance by a Jane Leopold Quinn, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling. I am loving them both!
As a reader, who are the most memorable characters you've met?
Well, Harry Potter is one, but also on the list would be Scarlett and Rhett from GWTW, and Jamie and Clare from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.
In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday: For what are you most thankful?
I am most thankful that my husband, son, daughter, and new son-in-law are all happy and healthy. In addition, I am thankful that I have two more books coming out in what I call my American Hero series. Secrets and Sacrifices is the first book. Jenny’s Passion, a forbidden love story between a Northern cavalryman and a Southern woman, is the second book, out now. And the third book, Lila’s Vow, is coming out in March 2009. For more on my books I invite your readers to visit my website, http://www.dianewylie.com. Be sure and sign up for my newsletter while you’re there. I am giving away a free contemporary novel to all subscribers.
Thanks so much, Diane, and best of luck with your writing!
I have one copy of Secrets and Sacrifices for one lucky commenter. Let us know what you think! I'll announce the winner on Monday instead of Friday because of the holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!