Wednesday, March 10, 2010
(Sorry This is late to get up, guys, but had trouble posting it - Hannah)
I wrote in elementary school. My parents were both teachers with long vacations, so every summer we took off, pulling a seventeen-foot trailer all over North America. I was encouraged to write about our trips and wrote mostly poetry, but in sixth grade I wrote a play that was performed in front of the whole school. Pretty fantastic, being able to roam the country in our little trailer, but it didn't all go smoothly. We weren't rich, and once we got stuck in the Rockies when our car gave out. We stayed in a Sheridan, Wyoming trailer park for a couple of weeks while my parents called on relatives to send money. Another time, we experienced a flash flood in Mexico and had to pull the trailer across a river on a rotting railroad bridge. And on the Alcan Highway in the Northwest Territories, I watched people in a restaurant bang a man's head on the floor to knock him out. The man had a burst appendix, and the nearest hospital was three hours away by helicoptor. This was all fodder for my imagination. I was destined to be a writer!
Travel to distant places is usually what inspires me to write novels, but my next book due out from Five Star in July 2010 actually is located close by. The historical romantic suspense, Winter Harvest, takes place in the Hancock Shaker Village in 1838 when the Hammonds, their farm failing, decide to leave their seven-year-old daughter, Lucy, with the Shakers while they move west, braving Indians and uncultivated land to find a new farm.
Keepers of the garden, the United Society of Believers, better known as the Shakers, await the second coming of the Lord with strict rules. Men and women live together in a commune but are physically separated to discourage coupling. The men and boys tend to the farm and livestock while the women cook, clean, and make crafts to sell in the neighboring villages. For a century, the celibate community flourished by taking in young children and training them to eventually become hardworking members.
Lucy becomes accustomed to the rigorous work and unusual form of worship, but is lonely. So when an orphan, Sarah, is indentured to the group when she is twelve, Lucy immediately befriends her. But having lived with her father on the outside, Sarah is wordly and often breaks the rules, expecting Lucy to follow.
When Sarah suddenly runs away with one of the boys in the commune, no one belikeves Lucy when she announces that Sarah is in trouble - no one except a bank detective who is visiting the commune in search of a bank robber. Harvest time usually precedes winter. But not all harvests are done in the fall. In the winter, we used to have to harvest the ice that we kept in barn-like icehouses preserving it well into summer. But this winter in the mid 1800s when the young men work to gather the ice from the Shaker farm, they get more than they bargain for.
Lucy earnestly continues to prepare to take her vows and give her life to the Shakers, but her esteem for the detective grows too. Will their relationship interfere with her plans?
Winter Harvest is my fourth published book. I have three others. Two of them, women's fiction, Passup Point and Lety's Gift, take place in the rugged desolation of Newfoundland/Labrador. My third, a mystery called L'Oro Verde, featuring a nun detective in Tuscany, was published under the name L E Chamberlain.
While my books are not romance novels per se, they all have romantic elements. In Passup, after dealing with their pasts, both the hero and the heroine find love. In Lety's Gift, the heroine falls in love with a fellow priest. And in L'Oro Verde, there is unlikely passion and a relationship between two of the characters.
Lety's Gift also has some paranormal elements. Sophie is born with the gift - a gift that leads to her breakdown in an orphanage. After she is ordained, she becomes the chaplain in a hospital on the remote tip of western Newfoundland, and spirits in the closed-up mental ward on the fourth floor warn her of dangers.
You can visit my website at http://www.coraliehjensen.com/ or go to my Facebook account under Coralie Hughes Jensen or my twitter account under Corkyhj.
You can also veiw Letty's Gift at http://www.amazon.com/Lety'sGift and L'oro Verde at http://www.amazon.com/L'oro