Beth Williamson: ‘Tis the Devil Made Me Do ItTuesday, September 25, 2007 10:33
Â Our guest author, Beth Williamson, shares her views on writing and history.Â Read on…
My new series with Samhain, Devils on Horseback, kicks off today with book one, Nate. This series is not only brand new (the Malloys are all epubbed now), but it was a departure for me in terms of writing. If you’ve never read my work, I tend to have some subtle, dry humor punctuated with vivid characters, emotion, action and sex. Nothing that sends you to the pits of hell with angst, but enough that readers feel along with the H[ero] and H[eroine].
Devils on Horseback made me step off the edge a bit. (No panicking now, I’m safe in a chair on my cushy butt.) The edge of what I felt was my standard writing style – not my voice, per se, but the style in which I wrote.
With Nate, I dove into a touchy era in American history, post-Civil War, and into areas of the human mind not generally explored in romance novels. When I mention the heroes are ex-Confederate soldiers, some folks ask me why I chose that past for them since they not only lost the war, but they stood for some unpopular ideals. The answer is, the men who fought in the war were just that–men. They had hopes, dreams, and lives they left behind and many came home to nothing but ash and death. This is true of my Devils – their town was razed by Sherman’s March to Atlanta. Everything they’ve known, loved and valued is completely gone. They have to start from less than nothing, along with carrying the horrors of war on their backs.
Now the human mind aspects of the Devils series is about what people can and do endure, and the consequences that result. For example, in Nate’s book, he’s become what we would refer to as obsessive-compulsive. He’s got to have everything in order, in its place, or he loses control. He’s rigid, unbending and trapped by it. It’s a hard-fought battle to maintain who he is and our heroine, Elisa, makes him hang by his fingernails (not literally of course – that’s not my style).
While the Devils are dealing with and discovering who they are, they face adversity in each of their stories. Nate struggles with his conscience as he and his friends try to evict Elisa and her family from their land. When do you draw the line between self-sacrifice and need? He also fights the idea that he can give control over to someone else – namely Elisa.
Devils on Horseback: Nate is a powerful story, IMHO, with plenty of action, hot sex (of course), and a gritty, sometimes not pretty, view of the Devils’ world. There’s guns, blood, sex, twists and hopefully some unforgettable men you’ll come to love as much as I do.
Jakeâ€™s story is in the works, to be published next March ['08]. He surprised me quite a bit while I was writingâ€”heâ€™s suffering from what weâ€™d call post-traumatic stress disorder. The woman who captures his heart is caught in the sticky web of prejudice and deceit.
Wow!Â Thanks, Beth!Â I’ve always thought the period immediately before thru immediately after the American Civil War to be the most interesting part of our history, myself.Â
What about you folks?Â Ever wanted to put on a hoop skirt?Â Be a Yankee or a Reb spy?Â How many of you go to Civil War battle re-enactments or have toured the battlefields?