Guest Blog by Rosanne Bittner, author of WILDEST DREAMS
Hello from Rosanne Bittner!
Glad to visit in response to the publication of my book, WILDEST DREAMS, this month! Be sure to visit my "virtual" Valentine Party at http://rosannebittner-virtualvalentine.blogspot.com/.
In response to the subjects you proposed I comment, I'll do my best to answer.
Secrets that Scar:
Interesting topic. I wasn't sure what you were looking for on this, but when I thought about it I realized that I have used this within my plots in many of my books, including WILDEST DREAMS.
In the beginning of the story, a secret the heroine tries to hide keeps her from allowing herself to fall in love and from believing the hero could really love her in return. The secret she carries truly has "scarred" her heart and her self confidence. In the brand new book I recently finished and which is now being shopped by my agent (PARADISE VALLEY) the heroine carries a secret all the way through the story - one that she knows could ruin the hero's love for her. As is usually best, she should have told the hero to begin with, rather than allow him to find out in the wrong way, which only makes the secret more damaging once discovered - but as always in a good romance, loved wins out!
Finding Love on a Westbound Wagon Train:
Well, how could this not have happened in real historical journeys west? Of course, with the hardship of such a journey, there really wasn't much in the way of "romantic" atmosphere on those real trips west. The journey was very difficult, with no bathing facilities, heat, mosquitoes, robbers, arguments, breakdowns, deaths, cooking on the trail, sleeping on the ground, endless chores, endless walking ... well, it just wasn't conducive to finding love.
Anyone on such a trip was probably too worn out to care. But human nature being what it is, love was bound to happen. Too often, a man and woman would marry for convenience and find a way to fall in love later. A man might lose his wife along the way and need a woman to cook for him and take care of young ones. In return, a woman who became widowed along the way needed a man to help with the arduous chores and to protect her and provide for her children. In such situations people married for practical reasons and fell in love "later" simply through living together and being grateful they found a partner who fulfilled their needs. Love in such circumstances was a far cry from what we think of love in modern times. I call it "necessary love." In my books my characters sometimes found this necessary love and ended up truly falling in love, but usually, because I write romance, there is strong attraction to begin with.
Creating Historical Authenticity:
This is something I work very hard to do in my stories. Naturally, if an author was "down to the bones" realistic in writing 1800's westerns, people would be dead by 35, have no teeth, not smell very good and not be in the best of health. I don't go that far in my stories, but I do try to be as realistic as possible to lend authenticity to situations in my stories. I also work hard on writing authentic locations, clothing, mannerisms and such - and I use real locations and real historical events, into which I wrap my fictional characters and my own fictional story. I have often heard from readers who feel they learned some real American history in a very entertaining way through reading my books. That makes me very happy. I do a tremendous amount of research for my books. I have visited nearly every location mentioned in my stories and have been traveling the West for over 30 years. Most of my research books come from the libraries of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Nebraska.
Thanks so much, and I hope everybody enjoys WILDEST DREAMS!