Tiffany's question for you -
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, virtual assistant, and freelance web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Australian shepherd named Roxie. She has sold 12 books so far with more on the horizon. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards, and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents book club. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.
Remember, readers: To qualify for the drawing of Amber's book, Bound By Grace, you must answer this question. The NPT staff requires at least five unique comments/answers before the drawing will be held.
Tiffany's question for you -
In Bound by Grace (book 1 in Brandywine Brides), Charlotte faces derision from her peers for not “doing what other ladies do”, yet she rises above the criticism and maintains solid friendships with those who truly matter. Have you been a victim of gossip, peer derision, or experiencing the feeling of not “belonging”? What did you do about it? How did you put it behind you and move forward?
Greetings, Tiffany. got a busy year coming up! It’s been a while since you’ve visited as an author, so let’s start in my favorite place, the past, with Brandywine Brides from last fall. Bound by Grace is set in the east in the late nineteenth century, in, of all places, a book shop. Tell us your inspiration and three things you had to research specifically for this book/series.
Thank you. I’m honored to be here as a guest author instead of my normal place behind the scenes as contributor of the monthly Research Resources or working on the blog. :)
Busy? Hmm, I might say that’s open to interpretation. :) For me, it’s more of a frame of mind of staying active and not idle, though I do take time out to rest when I can. With two little ones under the age of 4, book deadlines, speaking commitments, work as a virtual assistant, and a web site design business, that’s not often easy. Praise God for the gift of nap time and fast writing!
In fact, I wrote and edited Bound by Grace in a little over 3 weeks right after moving into a new house and giving birth to my son. The blessing was returning to a setting with which I’m quite familiar, so research didn’t take as much time as on other books. I spent 25 years of my life in Delaware and spent years studying its unique history.
The inspiration for this book came from a request by my editor to submit a proposal for state settings she still needed to fill. As it turned out, she filled the state where this series was originally set but asked me if she could keep the series for future consideration. One year later, she told me she wanted me to return to Delaware and set the series there. Even though the general history came easy to me, my characters were shipbuilders and powder mill workers, so I had to research 1) the location of the primary shipbuilding industries, 2) the types of work done at a shipyard, and 3) the historical details of the powder mill and shipyards in the Wilmington area.
Book Two comes out next month. Can you tell us a little about it, and introduce us to the new characters in this sequel?
When a thief breaks into Grace Baxton's home and steals a family heirloom book, she is devastated. Much to Grace's chagrin, the judge sentences Andrew Bradenton to work for the Baxton family until his debt is paid off. But even his time with them won’t replace the items that have been lost. When a handsome stranger shows up on her doorstep with the book in his hand, warming her heart and finding favor with her uncle, Grace is torn over her growing attraction for both men. Andrew tries to tell her the stranger is up to no good and even presents a story about the man working for a competitor in her uncle’s shipping industry. After key documents and money go missing from the safe in her uncle’s home, Andrew is seen as the guilty party. Will Grace discover the truth in time?
What’s different about this series compared to your earlier work for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents, Michigan Brides?
My previous series was set in Detroit during the Industrial Revolution, so a lot of the focus of those 3 books centered on industry and the working class, with some of the upper class mixed in. This series is set in what is called the “Gilded Age” and more attention is giving to the upper-class society, though all of my principle characters hold jobs. The locale of northern Delaware is also diametrically different from Detroit, so as with the Michigan Brides series, I’ve included a sampling of the local flavor as well.
You’ve also written about the colonial period. Do you have a favorite historical era in American history? Can you share one little tidbit of favorite historical facts from each era?
That’s a difficult question. I love the Colonial and the post-Civil War for different reasons, but I probably lean more toward the post-Civil War for the excitement of industry, development, cultural advancement, and the general thrill of the turn of a new century while holding on to the grace and elegance of what is today known as a bygone era.
For the Colonial era, I’ve had readers come back to me and say how much they enjoyed seeing then General Washington (but eventually our first president) in an active role in Deceptive Promises. So many have viewed him as a figure and not necessarily a real human being, if that makes any sense. Yet, in research, I discovered he had a commanding presence that brooked no argument, as well as a unique sense of humor often overlooked in the history books. I return again to the Colonial era in October with a novella in the collection, Colonial Courtships, about 4 brothers and their widowed mother who runs an inn in Connecticut.
For post-Civil War, I’ll highlight the auto industry magnate, Henry Ford, and again say how fun it was to include him in my books, bringing to light the inspiration behind the decisions he made in his pioneering automotive industry, and how much he truly cared for his workers as well as their families, making him a foremost respected voice in company owners. Businesses today still look to him as an example on how to lead effectively and succeed.
Research and attention to detail make or break the historical novel. Share with us your best strategies for research and fact-checking. Have you caught yourself up on any unusual details or fantastic sources/material that you’d like to share?
Oh, I almost always go off on rabbit trails when I do research. And if something strikes me as compelling, I bookmark it to come back to it later. My fact-checking is usually a combination of readers who live where my books are set, the historical society in the town or state of my setting, and books like The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s or Colonial America. I do utilize the internet, but I make sure to cross-check the facts with at least 3 other sites before I consider it valid enough to use as fact.
For specific favorite sources, check out my posts on Research Resources on this blog each month. Use the search feature over there in the left sidebar.
Come back tomorrow for the answer to this question and the rest of Tiff’s interview with Novel PASTimes. Don't forget to leave a comment that includes an e-mail address (name-at-email.com) AND a response to Tiff’s question by Friday morning 8 AM in order to be entered into the drawing for a copy of Bound by Grace. We need to have at least five unique comments/answers in order to hold the drawing, so share the news!