A year ago today, Divided Loyalties hit the bookstores. (Well, it actually hit the Amazon virtual bookstore.
My story about a courageous teenage girl, her patriotic brother, their all-American friends and the battlefields and hospitals that changed their lives was born.
So happy birthday to Maureen. To Joe. To their parents Kate and Daniel. To Patricia and Angela. To Ernestine, Maria Hall and Clara Barton (the last two are actually real people with real birthdays but they made cameos in my book so I salute them). To Amy and Eliza. To Patrick, and all the men who suffered or died after the Battle of Antietam.
Writing this book changed my life. I don’t think about war the same way. I don’t think about people the same way either. I wrote this story with plenty of Kleenex at my elbow. I fell in love with every person I met during Maureen’s journey.
The real ones, Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix and Maria Hall, really became true heroines for me. I look up to them with awe and respect.
The ones that made themselves known in my imagination—pretty, brave Eliza and her sister-in-law Amy, headstrong Joe and shy Patrick, Angela and Patricia whose devotion to their work and to each other often fueled me through a chapter. I met an African American girl along the way. Ernestine was all business, in a harsh world. She reminded me of Harriet Tubman, one of my most esteemed heroines.
I know not everybody liked Maureen’s parents but I do. While her mother wanted to allow Maureen to try out her wings, her father wanted to keep her close and safe. Did they always do everything the right way? No, but Maureen eventually came to understand.
And in the end, Maureen figured out how to make a way for herself in the midst of pain and suffering. She became heroic rather than stubborn, and her humanity always shined through.
I love them all and I’m happy so many people have told me how much they love them. I am so grateful to everyone who supported my own quest and who continue to support my efforts at storytelling.
I have others in the works. Two historical romances set in Annapolis are finished: A DANCE WITH THE GENERAL and ANGELA AND PATRICIA (a Christmas time prequel to DIVIDED LOYALTIES). I’m in the midst of my first contemporary romance and I have stories set in Baltimore and Ocean City I hope to finish this year.
Happy birthday, DIVIDED LOYALTIES!