Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and ChristianDevotions.us. Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, was released on August 21, 2014.
Welcome to my blog, Sandra. We're glad you stopped by to visit.
Thank you, Carol. I'm happy to be here.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I've always loved history. My two favorite subjects in school were English Literature and History. Everywhere we went on vacation, I always wanted to learn about the significant history of the place. I love reading historical romances. It seems fitting that this is the type of novel I most enjoy writing.
How and when did you begin to write?
I wanted to be a writer in elementary school. I wrote my first book, a mystery story, in the sixth grade. Of course, it wasn't very good and I received no encouragement. In fact, my dad discouraged the idea strongly, telling me that I would starve to death trying to make my living that way. The dream died before I became a teenager. It always made me a little sad.
About ten years ago, the dream returned stronger than ever. I took a few college classes, correspondence writing classes, and began attending writers' conferences to learn the craft.
Can you give our readers a short description of A Stranger On My Land?
A Stranger on My Land is an inspirational Civil War romance. Carrie finds a wounded Union soldier, Adam, outside her family's home on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Her father fights for the Confederacy and her bitter aunt hates Yankees, but Adam's grateful yet teasing manner soon sparks feelings deeper than friendship. His condition worsens and he requires a Union surgeon. How can Carrie save Adam's life and still hide her livestock from the Union Army?
What led you to write it?
I read a variety of books by Civil War soldiers to research for another novel. When I discovered that several families on Lookout Mountain hid in caves while the soldiers occupied Chattanooga, it fascinated me. The soldiers mentioned how cozy the women made these temporary shelters. Clouds shrouded the middle of the mountain during the Battle Above the Clouds. This image intrigued me and the idea was born.
What are you working on now?
I'm over halfway through a contemporary romantic suspense novel which is not my usual genre. I love reading them but hadn't attempted to write one. A story idea came to me that I couldn't get out of my head until I wrote it. Historical romance is my usual genre and even this contemporary story has a historical element.
My next story will be another Civil War romance. This one will be set in Gettysburg, a place that has captured my imagination. I need further research before writing it. A beautiful seamstress and a war-weary soldier would never meet if not for the battle that raged outside her Gettysburg home.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
I once had a very wise teacher. Though he didn't teach writing courses, he advised his students to "be patient with your own learning." What he meant was that we all learn at different rates.
Some writing tasks will come easier than others. Writing can be a lonely venture when you have to be the one to get everything done. I often become overwhelmed with tasks that I don't know how to accomplish. I've met many writer friends willing to answer questions and pass on what they've learned. Attending writer conferences is a great way to acquire writing skills, but we all learn at our own pace.
It's okay to push yourself to strive toward the next step, but be patient with yourself, too.
How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
I serve as Assistant Editor and write historical articles for the DevoKids.com http://devokids.com/category/stories/adventures-in-history/. I also serve as an Assistant Editor for The Barn Door Book Loft website, http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/. You can also find me on:
My book can be purchased on:
Amazon and Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Land-Civil-War-Romance/dp/1941103278/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409663423&sr=1-1&keywords=a+stranger+on+my+land
Barnes & Noble and Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-stranger-on-my-land-sandra-merville-hart/1120155194?ean=9781941103272
A Stranger on My Land by Sandra Merville Hart
Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as "The Battle Above the Clouds." Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him.
But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam's friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. It's not long until his gratitude and teasing manner spark a friendship between the young couple. Even though Carrie's father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love.
When Adam's condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. How can she accomplish this and keep her family's hiding place a secret?