Q&A: Martha Rogers (Amelia's Journey)
Her family does not approve of Ben however and, though he has returned to Kansas, they continue to discourage Amelia's interest in him - even to the point of forbidding her to write to him. Can Ben win Amelia from her family? Can Amelia wait for Ben and God's timing in the face of her family's opposition? Will the trials they'll go through to to be together end up driving them apart?
WHAT INSPIRED AMELIA'S JOURNEY?
Amelia's Journey came about because of requests to know more about Ben and Mellie Haynes, Lucy's aunt and uncle in Becoming Lucy. My editor asked if I could write their story and I said yes. I used the information about them in the series, Winds Across the Prairie, to develop their character and personalities for the prequel. I'm so glad I was able to tell their story.
WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
I use personalities of people I know and of family members, especially myself, as I develop my characters, but as I make out the chart for each major character, I combine those traits. As for what they experience, at my age I've had so many different kinds of experiences and have seen the Lord work in such a variety of ways with both my family and friends that I don't think I'll ever run out of experiences for my characters. By the time I really get started with my books, my characters are not strangers at all. I feel like I really know them. Well, I must know them because they talk to me all the time, even when I'm not writing about them.
IN YOUR NEW NOVEL, WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
In this story, Amelia's father surprised me the most. I wasn't expecting him to have the turn around he did. Originally, he was to have opposed the union right up to the wedding, but as it worked out, he came around sooner. Ben surprised me, too. I didn't have him giving up his ranch to return to Boston in my outline and synopsis. Even when I plan and plot, strange things or different events will pop into the story without warning.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
At the present time I am completing a novel for Christmas. It's the story of a young ex-con and a school marm in 1898 Kansas. It's due February 1. Soon as it's in, I'll begin a new series set at the end of the Civil War. It is based on letters and stories from my great-grandparents and my grand-parents.
FACT VS. FICTION - WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME EXAMPLES IN YOUR NOVEL WHERE YOU TOOK SOME LIBERTIES WITH THE FACTS?
I do a lot of careful research in history for my stories and don't usually take many liberties with the facts. In Amelia's Journey I read a number of old medical articles and journals to learn about miscarriages, and I took a few liberties with the one in this book. One of the things I dislike in historical fiction is taking liberty with facts, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. In my next series, I may have to go back on that some because the details are rather sketchy as to exactly what happened the day my great-grandfather was released from a prison camp and exchanged in 1865. I will also have to add to and flesh out some of the experiences he wrote about in his letters to my great-grandmother.