As I write this, I’m seated with others in a waiting room while my car undergoes inspection. There’s a whiff of coffee in the air. Car salesmen come and go, bringing with them jangling keys and fluttering paperwork. A TV high on the wall blasts a morning news show. The host announces, “We’re learning more about the shooter in the worst mass shooting in US history.” All faces in the room turn upward, their mouths drawn into tight lines, their eyes betraying their disbelief and sorrow. Only an elderly woman looks away. I suppose she’s earned her indifference. She’s been down this road before, having not only lived through 9/11, but also Pearl Harbor and several wars.
The presidential candidates are talking now. They’re at each other’s throats. I tune them out and check my Facebook page, where more conflict awaits me. Everyone seems to be arguing these days, even old friends. I find a discussion so heated I begin to think about grilling a burger on my laptop.
With so much negativity in the world, it can be hard to see the good. It’s still there—isn’t it?—behind that lead blanket of bad?
I don’t know. I think it must be.
Yesterday, I decided to write in my car, so I parked in a vacant lot. A man pulled in beside me and opened his door. Twenty-five years ago, I would not have panicked and wound up my windows before he could part his lips to ask for directions. I grieve the loss of that innocence and trust. I long for the world I once knew, a world where a woman could talk to a man without worry, a world where Amish children could safely attend school, a world where scarce news meant networks filled slack days with recipes and gardening tips.
At times, the state of our world overwhelms me. When it becomes too great to stomach and I’ve exhausted myself in prayer, I run to the one place I still find solace: a book. Within a few paragraphs I know by an author’s voice whether or not I can trust her. If she appears to be in control, I plunge headfirst into the world she created for me, confident the journey will ultimately end well. Someone’s problems will have a satisfying end, and that makes me happy.
At the beginning of my current release, SCATTERED SEEDS, it is evident my characters have lost everything but each other. Things go from bad to worse for them when they board a ship bound for America. They manage to survive the voyage in a filthy brig full of the sick and desperate, only to reach Philadelphia just as war breaks out with the French. Both of my characters lose their sweethearts. Both nearly starve. To top it off, a shadowy character from their past sets up a trap to lure them in from the frontier so he can steal the only valuable thing left to them.
I’ve created a hell of a shit storm for my characters, one not unlike the world we live in. But here’s the difference: I’m in control of my fictional worlds, and I promise you no matter how much you fret for my characters, I will solve their problems and give you peace.
Reading helps us escape, but we can’t spend all day reading books, can we? At some point, we must address the serious issues we face today. But I think it’s okay to take the occasional break from the barrage of hatred and chaos and hide in a book. Next time you’re overwhelmed, crack one open. Let an author escort you into her world, one that will take you on a journey and bring you home content and restored.
Genre: Historical fiction, elements of romance
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Date of Publication: April 27, 2016
Number of pages: 339
Word Count: 100,000
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
In 18th century Ireland, drought forces Edward and Henry McConnell to assume false names and escape to America with the one valuable thing they still own–their ancestor’s gold torc.
Edward must leave love behind. Henry finds it in the foul belly of The Charming Hannah, only to lose it when an elusive trader purchases his sweetheart’s indenture.
With nothing but their broken hearts, a lame ox, and a torc they cannot sell without invoking a centuries-old curse, they head for the backcountry, where all hope rests upon getting their seed in the ground. Under constant threat of Indian attack, they endure crushing toil and hardship. By summer, they have wheat for their reward, and unexpected news of Henry’s lost love. They emerge from the wilderness and follow her trail to Philadelphia, unaware her cruel new master awaits them there, his heart set on obtaining the priceless torc they protect.
About the Author:
Julie Doherty expected to follow in her artist-father’s footsteps, but words, not oils, became her medium. Her novels have been called “romance with teeth” and “a sublime mix of history and suspense.”
Her marriage to a Glasgow-born Irishman means frequent visits to the Celtic countries, where she studies the culture that liberally flavors her stories. When not writing, she enjoys cooking over an open fire at her cabin, gardening, and hiking the ridges and valleys of rural Pennsylvania, where she lives just a short distance from the farm carved out of the wilderness by her 18th century “Scotch-Irish” ancestors.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, Perry County Council of the Arts, and Clan Donald USA.
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