Monday, May 9, 2011

Why Jerri Hines writes historical suspense/romance books

Before I start, I would like to thank Hannah Howell for having me today. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Oh, what to write! A dramatic murder suspense? A scary page-turning paranormal? A love story for the ages? Oh, so many possibilities run rapid through my mind staring at a blank page! Why then am I drawn to historical suspense/romance? Why does the past conjure up so many tales to be told?

Perhaps because I romanticize the past. Or perhaps it’s a connection to the past I seek. I know only that I love the challenge of recreating a bit of history to be told again. I’ll let you in on a little secret. I love history. And as you might suspect with my writings on the American Revolution, I find this period of time utterly fascinating. So many ideas swirl around my little head when I do research and none more so than when I was doing research for Patriot Secrets.

During this research for Patriot Secrets, I discovered the Culper Spy Ring. The more I read, the more fascinated I became. Inspired, you could say. Within Patriot Secrets, more so in the sequel Winds of Betrayal, I have a spy ring loosely based on the Culper Spy Ring. The whole of the story holds everything one could wish to write a thriller…action, intrigue, danger, love...

As one might think, the danger of living the life of a spy was enormous. They lived with the constant fear of discovery. And if discovered they faced the hangman's noose as was seen with the death of Nathan Hale. During occupation of New York, Nathan Hale was caught by the British authorities and was hanged without trial in New York City. In mid-1778, General George Washington appointed Tallmadge the head of the Continental Army's secret service. With that, Tallmadge established the Culper Spy Ring. Secrecy was of the utmost importance. Washington never even knew the names of those in the ring. He knew them only by numbers or an alias.

My research led me to speculate about women’s roles during this time. With nothing being more dangerous at that time than spying and the price of being caught for a man was hanging, what about for a woman? Let’s just say that I don’t think men, both American and British, thought women capable of such a deception. I believe they were and would have been efficient in their efforts.

The women seemed to have been just as passionate for their cause as the men of that time. Case and point, Margaret Kemble Gage, American born wife of General Thomas Gage, Commander of the British Army at the beginning of the American Revolution in Boston. Did you know that it was highly suspected that Margaret Gage supplied information to Patriot leaders? It was suspected she may have even given the information that led to the famous ride of Paul Revere. Her punishment…General Gage sent her to England.

Although for another woman, I doubt the punishment would have been so lenient especially after the war began to turn in favor of the Patriot cause. But without question, I’m inspired by stories of strong, opinionated women. It is the reason, I write about strong women…women who have to overcome adversity to achieve their happiness.

As a reader I want a book that allows me to escape from the world around me at least for the few hours. As an author I strive to create that escape. It is my hope I have succeeded in Patriot Secrets.


  1. Love the cover! Intriguing! Didn't know that about General Gage's wife. Wonder how she explained that!

  2. I lvoe history, but the facts are much more enjoyable when wrapped into a story. That’s why I love historical romances and mysteries with a unique setting.