As a writer I kind of knew I wanted to set a story there but it took years for the idea to expand into what the series has become. We lived down south at the time and after Katrina, when my husband retired in 2006, our family moved to Oklahoma. It was there that the story ideas began to bubble to the surface. Here and there, in bits and pieces. A character here, a plot there. A profession added in, then a backstory--or the other way around.
One thing I knew for sure was that I wanted these stories set at the turn of the century when women were coming to New York City from all over to join the workforce, but I wasn't sure just how to connect them. And then in 2010, I saw a book advertised in Victorian Home magazine. It was called A New Light on Tiffany- Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, and I quickly ordered it. Among so many other things, I learned that Clara lived in a boardinghouse and even met her husband there. The book and the photographs in it gave me such a feel for the city at that time--ideas for all kinds of work women could be doing began to simmer and I knew a series was in the making. I'd have a Tiffany girl in one for sure--and I did, but she didn't stay there long. She and Clara showed up in A Place of Refuge, book 2 of the series.
But at that time, I still wasn't sure just how to connect the stories.
And then, as most writers can relate to, just before I fell asleep or woke up--I can't remember which--only that I was in bed, it was as if the Lord was nudging me, telling me what should have been obvious by now. The connection was with the boarding house!
Oh my, I can't tell you how thrilled I was to have those pieces fall in place and I couldn't wait to get started! And I did, writing with joy and enthusiasm I hadn't experienced for a while!
I've so loved writing this series and although my editors have decided that they'd like me to move on to something else and the Love Inspired Historical series stops with this book, the series will continue on. Instead of Boardinghouse Betrothals, they will now be called Heaton House and I'll be able to 'link' them to the LIH series. I hope my readers will be glad to know that the series will continue as long as there are stories to tell. Next up is Julia's story. It's about time, don't you think? I have ideas for more, of course, but if you have any ideas for more Heaton House stories you'd like to read, I'd love to hear them!
And for those writers out there who have an idea that hasn't come together yet, but just thinking about excites you, don't put it away--just let it keep simmering until it does!
Oh, and I could use some ideas for new LIH proposals as I haven't come up with anything that excites me just yet. Anywhere you'd like to see a new series set? City life, out west or where? Time period? Late 1800s, early 1900s, or something else? I'd love to hear those, too!
Until next time,
Janet Lee Barton