guest post by Amanda Flower
In addition to being a fiction author, Naomi Musch is a staff writer for Living Stones News http://www.livingstonesnews.com and a consulting editor with Port Yonder Press. The Green Veil is the first novel in a three-part generational series called Empire in Pine.
Clash of the Titles featured Naomi during our Best Hook week. Naomi’s gripping first page left our readers wanting more. She was also our champion for that week!
In The Green Veil, Colette Palmer is only a girl in 1841 when her father follows land speculator Harris Eastman from Michigan to Wisconsin Territory, a wilderness where lumber barons are taking land and timber by right, by force, and by theft. She has left behind dear friends, including her childhood love, timber cruiser Manason Kade. Separated from him by miles and years, she tries to forget her childish longings until the day compassion and circumstances compel her to marry another.
But Manason does come and plants his own stake in the Wisconsin lumbering trade. It isn't long before he uncovers illegal practices in the industry and by one company in particular. Now Colette's husband will stop at nothing to crush him.
Then one unsuspecting night, Manason and Colette meet again. As memories revive, and truth is set free, Colette is forced to choose between her first love and her commitment to her marriage vows. But how can she, with her faith and an empire in pine hanging in the balance?
We posed a few more questions to Naomi, which she was kind enough to answer.
Where do your best ideas come from?
Great question! My best ideas come from overlooked portions of history I stumble upon combined with human scenarios I find intriguing. The Green Veil merges the nostalgia of the lumberjacks, land barons, and mill owners rushing to control the pine lands in 1840s Wisconsin Territory with the idea of a young woman swept far away from her roots and her childhood sweetheart into the arms of a man who'll stop at nothing to destroy his enemies.
Book 2 in this Empire in Pine series (releasing in October), takes place in the months leading up to the most devastating fire in our nation's history. Do you know what fire that was? It was called the Great Peshtigo Fire. Most people haven't heard of it because it happened on the same day as the Chicago Fire. However, while the Chicago Fire destroyed a large section of the city and about 250 people lost their lives, the Peshtigo Fire consumed around 2000 square miles in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It swallowed up the entire town of Peshtigo, and as many as 2500 people were killed. Combining that page of history with a broken young woman determined to live life on the edge and a pair of brothers who are disillusioned Civil War veterans gave me a really great story called The Red Fury.
Share something about the book that you think readers would like to know.
The theme in The Green Veil is juxtaposed to that of many romances which tell us that the characters will be happy if they only follow their hearts. But the heart is awfully fickle and dangerous! It seems to me that characters allowing emotions to guide them might wind up with inescapable, dire consequences. Colette has a compassionate heart and somewhat gullible nature. She's been given warning bells but impulsively follows her heart anyway. So I don't give her any easy outs when it comes to consequences.
Another thing is that I don't enjoy predictable stories. It's one thing to know that two characters will end up together. It's another thing altogether to be one step ahead of the author all the time in knowing how they are going to get there. I like twists and turns, and I spoon them liberally into the story.
Who is your favorite character you've created and why?
Yikes! That's kind of like asking which of my children my favorite is! I even like the bad guys. But, since I'm forced to choose, I will say that in this book Joseph Gilbert was raw fun to create. He stepped onto the page with little more than a name, and from that point on I never knew what was going to come out of his mouth or what he'd do next. No matter what I plotted, Joseph, incorrigible as he was, could take over a scene. Sometimes he surprised me as much as he surprised Colette.
Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
Because I like layers and sub-plots -- which need to stay organized and woven in -- I'm definitely a plotter. I start with a 15-point outline of the book, working from each end toward the middle. Then I flesh it out, free-writing to tell myself what has to be accomplished in each section. These are later broken into scenes and chapters. (I usually end with around 40 chapters, give or take). That said -- each scene is less plotted and more panstered. (How's that for a verb -- panstered? Ha!) With the scene's purpose in mind, I only have a vague picture of its construction. I do not have it precisely mapped out. The characters take over at that point, and I just tag along.
Thank you so much for stopping by Naomi. We enjoyed having you on Clash of the Titles and look forward to reading more of your work in the future.
You can visit Naomi at her website at http://www.naomimusch.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NMusch.
Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, is an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel and the first in a series featuring amateur sleuth India Hayes. Like her main character, Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime and on the Clash of the Titles staff. Her next mystery, Murder in a Basket, will be released in January 2012. Visit her online at http://www.amandaflower.com/.