It's kind of funny (funny odd not hilarious) or was for a bit. For over a year, I had two unfinished historical manuscripts. I just do not do that. When I write something, I finish it. The first incomplete tied into the Oregon stories. I put it off when I realized more editing was required before submitting my contemporary romances to ePublishing. In the midst of that I got the idea for a story to follow my Arizona historical (confused yet?) and began that. The world interfered as well with the need for better covers. So, I let them both set.
When we drove to Tucson in November, instead of finishing either, I got the idea for a Christmas novella which I wrote while there and got out barely in time for Christmas. It also had characters from another book.
Back in Oregon in January, I was determined to get both of those unfinished novels into the rough draft category. I did the Arizona one first as it has been my intention to see the Arizona historicals ePubbed before the Oregon ones.
As soon as I got that one done, I started on what was required to finish the Oregon historical. It was finished the last week of March. By finished, I mean rough draft as no book is done until it's been edited, edited and edited again. Still it was a good feeling when I got it to that stage as it meant I suddenly had nothing on my plate.
That was until I got the idea for a fourth Oregon historical. The hero for it was already in two of the other books as a secondary character. I realized, with the youngest of the Stevens sisters, I had the leads for a new story set during the Snake Indian War and involving the history of the John Day country. This is beautiful country, full of fossil beds, interesting rock formations, and a wide variety of terrains.
On the history end, with all the gold mining, the rapid growth, rampant crime, the Chinese population, there was a lot to research even if I didn't include the main purpose for the story-- the Snake Conflict, 1864-68.
Canyon City, bigger than Portland at that time (10,000 population) had some fascinating characters, not the least of whom was one of Oregon's most colorful poets, Cincinnatus Miller who wrote under the name Joaquin Miller. He led an interesting life in terms of women and experiences. Basing more of my story in Canyon City and Camp Watson, he could add some color because he was a judge there during those years-- before he ambled on for adventures elsewhere.
The hero was a cavalry officer in two earlier books and having him stick with that lets him be more involved in the actual Indian conflict. My idea for the heroine (the youngest of three sisters) would have her being a governess which was how I would get her to this unlikely place after a college education and travel to Europe all helped along by wealthy friends who took her under their wing. What if the wealthy family headed for Canyon City and the gold wealth to be had and brought her reluctantly along? Definite potential there.
Sometime I might write more in a blog about the process behind historical romances, but generally speaking I like to research a geographic area, time span, understand what was going on in the big picture, what could be possible personally (that is, of course, fictionally), and then set my characters into it.
The one thing I know for sure, interesting though this all is to me, I should wait a couple of months to get started on it as writing original novels makes for long, long days at the computer. Emotionally I've had enough burying myself in other people's problems-- for awhile.
When I do put out the first historical, I am thinking of doing paperback as well as eReader. That means I will need to design a backcover and probably an inside leaf. The eBook covers I have been creating are good enough for paper covers. I wouldn't use any system that forced the paper version to be over $10 (if you aren't careful, it can go way over, and you would never sell a single book), but CreateSpace seems to be good method as it appears it keeps the costs down. The books are printed only as you sell them through Amazon; or if you decide to take them to a store, as you buy them to put out on consignment. I am still thinking about the ramifications of this and reading other writers' experiences with CreateSpace.
All photos from the John Day country. Writing another book based there is a wonderful excuse to spend a lot of time absorbing the energy of the place as it's one of those areas I've come to love very much.