L.B. Joramo lives in Montana on what she calls an accidental farm—her son wishes for animals and they appear, complete with a sixty-pound turkey! When not writing for the Immortal American series, she writes romance under the pen name Red L. Jameson. When she’s not writing at all, she enjoys hiking, historical research, reading, watching movies, and sloppily trying to cook and bake. Learn more about L.B. at her website and blog.
A Most Unpopular Setting
A few months ago I was interviewed on another blog where I was asked, “How did you choose the American Revolution as your favorite era? What is it about the American Revolution that you like so much?”
I was stymied. Who said I liked the American Revolution so much? Since when did it become my favorite? To be fair, I understand why I was asked this question. My paranormal/historical book series, the Immortal American, so far is set during the American Revolution. And I do research that era painstakingly, ensuring accuracy as well as trying to bring to light some forgotten elements of this time. But I’m not sure this is my favorite era, let alone that I like it all that much. So why then did I write a whole series in the period? Because I’m an idiot! Or am I? You be the judge as I explain.
When I began writing the series, I had no clue about the publishing world and not that much about writing, to be honest. I wrote the first draft before I went back to school for my Master’s in history, so I didn’t know much about history either. Yikes! It was a trifecta of ignorance. But it was my bliss, the writing that is. I loved writing about my protagonist Violet in colonial Massachusetts. Back then I wrote Violet from the turmoil of the American Revolution to the revolutionary times of 1918, when the nineteenth amendment was lobbied for ratification, giving women the right to vote by 1920.
I wrote hundreds of pages of conflict, change, and Violet stumbling with love through centuries of time. During which I did go back to school and discovered a lot of my history (my main source had been Wikipedia) wasn’t exactly accurate. So I had to rewrite the beginning of Violet’s tale. Oh, and this whole time I had never sought publication with Violet’s stories. But after my critique partner rallied me to try it, I finally bit the bullet and began querying agents and editors. I lucked out almost instantly by winning a pitch contest. It was a public contest, judged by an editor and the commenters on the blog, and the editor openly asked for my full manuscript.
A week after the high of winning the contest died down, I received a very blunt email from that editor. She wrote something like, “Listen, I can tell you’re a good writer. But I can’t publish your manuscript. No one will probably publish your manuscript, because you have a whacky cross-genre. But mainly no one will publish a novel about the American Revolution.”
Ouch, right? I did ask why she’d asked for my manuscript then, to which she said that I had had the most votes and the best pitch, and she didn’t want her publishing house to appear biased. She also said that when I started writing a more popular era, she would love to look at my work then.
It was my first lesson in the publishing business and it stung. So what did I do? I decided to buck the system. I did warn you, I’m an idiot, right? I kept querying. And I kept getting rejected. All the while I kept honing the craft of writing and my historical research. Finally I received news that a small publisher liked my work.
This was years after that editor had told me “no one would publish my book.” In that time I thought more and more about what that editor had written to me—to give up my story. I might have had a much easier tale to tell you if I had. I might have gotten traditionally published, because the editor that asked for my work when I finally wrote a more popular setting was in one of the big houses. Who knows what might have happened to me if I had taken her advice.
The problem is, it wasn’t the story of my heart. And for me to give up on Violet would have been as painful as giving up on my right arm and hacking it off. I’ve written many other manuscripts while I keep plugging away at Violet’s story. And maybe one of them might prove to be “popular.” But each one is written from my heart.
So call me an idiot. Or you can call me the writer who writes from the heart. That sounds nice.
The Bones of War
It began with the ripple of rebellion, but ended in eternal change.
Cannonade erupts as the Battle of Bunker’s Hill commences, where Violet Adams is disguised as a soldier. She’s joined the sieging militia, surrounding Boston and the British redcoats, to run from her grief and from her affections toward the dark French spy, Jacque Beaumont—the ripple in her life that gave her an undying heart. To flee is the only choice she could think of, soldiering the only act that seems to bring her any comfort.
Then again, mayhap it isn’t the soldiering that gives her comfort, but more one of the soldiers. While trekking north to invade Canada with other Continentals, Violet finds herself drawn to a man who turns out to be more than just a friend—another immortal. From 1775 to 1776, through all the battles, Violet finds her mourning heart healing, only to discover it’s done the most inexplicable! It’s set its sights on another.
Similar to Violet’s phoenix-like heart, America’s War for Independence burns to ashes before the Battle of Trenton, where Violet spies for her Patriots and must choose between old flames or the revolution that never dies—love.
What a great story of persistence, perseverance and patience. I'm s glad you followed your heart.
Oh, thank you so much, Rayne!
And thank you, Lois, for having me on your wonderful blog!!!
Hi, Lani! And bless your buttons for staying strong and working toward your goal of publishing. I would read a book set in the American Revolution. I'm sure there's a lot of folks afraid to get out of their comfort zone. So keep doing what you are doing. I'm very happy for you. Hugs.
I'm so glad you didn't give up! I can't tell you the number of times I've heard authors with similar stories. Imagine how many great books the world would have missed out on if they'd listened.
Congrats on realizing your dream and not giving up!
Oh, thanks, Vicki!!! What I didn't comment on, otherwise I would have vented a lot about, is that there are at least two men who write in this period. So I knew it could be done. I just had the wrong kind of parts for the publishing world maybe? Hee-hee!
And thank you Collette and Alanna! I actually know several authors who have given up, and I do feel the world is missing out without their books.
What a great story, Vicki! Thank God we don't all follow the popular, best seller publishing formula. What a wasteland we'd have! Stick to your muskets!
A great story of perseverance, Lani. I don't know why publishers have such a problem with stories set in the AR, because readers heartily enjoy the setting.
I ran into issues of my own when I was trying to get the first book of my crime fiction series set during the AR published. Editors didn't believe that the AR took place outside the Northern theater, and they thought that no readers would believe my series, set in the Southern theater. But I, too, persevered, and found a regional publisher who hadn't flunked history. So far, all but one of my five books has won an award.
Keep up the good work!
I for one am extremely grateful that you're a bit stubborn. LOL! I really love this series! Reading about the American Revolution was fascinating and encountering famous characters in your books was a thrill! Can't wait to see what you come up with next, Lani!
Hi, Lani! Enjoyed the interview!!
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