Yesterday’s Promise

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Yesterday’s Promise is here at last! And when I say at last, I mean it. This story has been in the works for years.

Way back in 2000 when I first started attending the most amazing critique group ever (with nursing baby in tow) I was working on a historical romance set in 12th century Scotland. To make a painful and months-long story short, I spent a couple of years bringing that manuscript to our group, learning how truly awful it was, and going home to rewrite and revise. It did get better, but never to the point of being publishable. And finally I got smart, set it aside, and moved on. It was my training book, the one I learned on–mostly what NOT to do. And though it possibly has potential still, I think it’s better left on the jump drive forever.

But oh, Scotland. Just because that story did not end up published did not mean my fascination with Scotland’s history, land, and people lessened any. I made a promise to myself that someday I would publish a story (at least one) about this beautiful country and its rich history.

Ten books later, it was finally time. I had the seeds of an idea and was off and running when life threw me a curve ball (see my last post), and this story was delayed again. It was during those months that my interest and abilities in family history work really took off. I’ve known I have Scottish ancestry for quite a while, but something finally clicked for me in the past half year, and now I can’t get enough of researching my ancestors and their stories. I’m in love with the past in a whole new way, and it’s wonderful.

One of the documents precious to me is a handwritten chart tracing the Campbell line. Written in tiny print with some of the names are brief descriptions–“twins, was a hunchback, drowned in Lake Erie enroute Scotland to Milwaukee.” So many stories lie beneath those words. I’d love to know them all. One in particular that caught my attention some time ago–a more detailed note on another document–stated that that an ancestor had been exiled to the colonies after being on the wrong side of the war.  That one line spoke volumes to me and started a chain of thought that trailed through my mind for weeks.

What a life-altering course that must have been, to be forced from one’s country. And what of the events that led up to such drastic action? Why had he been on the wrong side?  And why, again in 1745, did the Campbells choose not to side with many of the other clans during the Jacobite uprising?  If they had, would the outcome have been different?

I couldn’t stop thinking of these questions and the scenarios that propagated such important, history making decisions. And so, the story I’d begun was suddenly more complicated, and I knew it was going to take more than one book to tell what I imagined might be the reasoning behind Clan Campbell’s decision to go against the other clans, to side with the English and end up on the right side of that particular war, yet despised by the other Highland clans for it.  I wanted to show the why as well as the what happened.

Yesterday’s Promise is about the promises we make that really matter, the ones we keep even when years and incredible obstacles separate us. I hope you’ll love this story as much as I loved writing it. And when you come to the end, know that you’ve really just reached the beginning. Book Two A Promise for Tomorrow will be out later this year, and The Promise of Home will be released in 2018.

Though Katie and Collin are fictitious characters, there is the ring of truth in the difficulties they faced during that time period–the aftermath of the failed Jacobite uprising and the strict injunctions to the clans which followed. As their story builds, so do the circumstances leading to what some consider the greatest tragedy in Scotland’s history–the Highland Clearances. Yet among the intense suffering and sorrows of that time–as proven by the records of my ancestors–there was still love and marriage, children born, and families reunited. That is the story these next three Hearthfire Historicals strive to tell. Promises made that were kept and love that triumphed over all.

Happy reading.  Yesterday’s Promise