A Novel Blog Hop: Lead Me Home

J.G. Burdette, who blogs at Map of Time: A Trip into the Past, tagged me to participate in a Blog Hop for authors.  What’s a blog hop? This one is an interview with ten questions posed to a writer about the novel he or she is writing. The author answers the ten questions and then selects five more writers they would like to interview.

This gives all our readers an opportunity to learn what we – and our writing friends – are working on. I appreciate the opportunity J.G. has given me to write about my book. I hope you enjoy reading about my work in progress, and please go read about the writers I’m tagging at the end of this post.

1.      What is the working title of your book? 

MC900149882Lead Me Home

2.      Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I’ve had the idea of a novel about a couple traveling the Oregon Trail in my head for more than 20 years. Given the nature of the story, it had a definite beginning (Missouri) and end (Oregon), though I had to research the route they traveled mile by mile.

As I wrote, the characters shaped their path more than I anticipated.

3.      What genre does your book fall under?  

Historical fiction. It is aimed at adults, but many young adults will appreciate it also. It is history with fictional characters, it is story with historical grounding, so read it as either.

4.      Which actor would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Wow. This is a hard question to answer. Mac and Jenny are both young characters, so by the time we are ready to film we will have to look to an unknown crop of actors for casting. Therefore, I’m not naming current young actors for the roles.

For the hero, Caleb “Mac” MacDougall, think Michael Landon as he appeared in Bonanza, but with straight hair. Mac is in his mid-20s and a proper Easterner when Lead Me Home opens, but he soon adapts to life on the trail.

My young heroine, Jenny Calhoun, is only 14 when the story begins. She looks like the young Jennifer Garner on the cover of the Rose Hill DVD, but with lighter hair. My Jenny has faced great tragedy in her short life. She comes across as docile, but has a spine of steel, and holds her own on the way West.

5.      What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Caleb “Mac” MacDougall, a young Boston attorney, and Jenny Calhoun, a teenage girl with no friend except Mac, confront disaster, duplicity, death, and their own ignorance and fears, as they travel by wagon to Oregon in 1847.

6.      Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Uncertain. I’m leaning toward self-publishing. I self-published Family Recipe to learn how that process works.

7.      How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About a year. I’d done a lot of research before I began writing, but had to stop frequently to do more research as I wrote. What were the banking procedures in 1847 anyway? How far up the Missouri River did steamships travel? When was Fort Kearny built? Every day brought a new question.

8.      What other books would compare to this work within your genre?

Westerns such as Lonesome Dove or True Grit.  Francis Parkman’s classic account, The Oregon Trailcovers much of the same territory in the same time frame, but his book is a travelogue without the character-based plot my novel has.

9.      Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Whitman Mission

Whitman Mission

As I’ve written before, I’ve always been intrigued by the courage of the emigrants who traveled the Oregon Trail. I grew up near the Whitman Mission, and my family took several day trips to visit the museum there when I was growing up. I now live near Independence, Missouri, one of the jumping off places for Oregon Trail. Both Independence and the Whitman Mission are important settings in my novel.

Also, my own family history included settlers in Oregon in the 1840s.

10.  What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There is a sequel involving Mac and Jenny, tentatively titled Now I’m Found, that deals with the California Gold Rush of 1849.

I’ve completed drafts of both books. Lead Me Home needs another edit to take out about 10,000 words. Now I’m Found has only been through one draft, so it still needs substantial work.

But because I have another project in the works ahead of these two novels, it will be into 2014 before Lead Me Home is ready to publish. I’ll keep you posted!

* * *

Here are the writers I have tagged.  All of them have blogs and/or websites, and they all have recent publications.

  • Pamela Boles Eglinski – Author of a new historical novel, Return of the French Blue, you can find out more about Pam at her website, http://pamelaboleseglinski.com/.
  • Sally Jadlow – Author of several books, including the historical novel The Late Sooner and the recent inspirational series beginning with God’s Little Miracle Book, Sally’s current blog is God’s Little Miracle Book, and her website is http://www.sallyjadlow.com/.
  • Linda Joyce – Author of a new romance novel, Bayou Born, published by the Wild Rose Press, Linda blogs at Linda Joyce Contemplates.
  • Norm Ledgin – Norm has written several books, fiction and nonfiction. His latest is Sally of Monticello, a historical novel about Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Follow Norm at Norm Ledgin, Author/Speaker

Thank you, J.G. Burdette, for tagging me to write about Lead Me Home.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please share it! And check out the authors I’ve listed. If you have any questions about my work in progress, please comment below.

P.S. to my five “tagees”:

  • Use a format similar to this post if you want to share information about your work on your blog or website
  • Answer the ten questions about your current work
  • Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. 
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