Saratoga Letters by Elaine Marie Cooper is one of the best historical novels I have read in a while. With history, modern suspense, and tender, touching romance, it draws the reader in and satisfies in every area. I have introduced Elaine to you previously, through the story of her daughter’s battle with cancer, Bethany’s Calendar. I know you will enjoy discovering the historical author in her as well! Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a print copy and sign in on the Rafflecopter at the end for even more chances!
Welcome back, Elaine! I enjoyed Saratoga Letters so much that I’m excited for my readers to hear about it. Please introduce yourself, your family, and your other books!
Hi Norma Gail! You are such a gem for having me as your guest and I am honored to be here. I’m so pleased you enjoyed Saratoga Letters. It was an unusual book for me to write as the plots take place in both 1777 and 1977. That made it a definite research challenge but, when it all came together with the final ending, it was with great satisfaction and gratitude to the Lord for helping me to get the facts that I needed. Saratoga Letters is my 6th book. I’ve written a three-book saga that includes Road to Deer Run, Promise of Deer Run, and Legacy of Deer Run. My only Young Adult novel is Fields of the Fatherless and I’ve written a memoir of my daughter’s battle with brain cancer called Bethany’s Calendar. I love to write, but the main joys in my life are my faith and my family. I have two adult sons, 6-year-old triplet grandchildren, plus another grandchild on the way this September. My husband and I love being grandparents, and there is nothing like being called “GiGi!”
Other than Bethany’s Calendar, your books revolve around Revolutionary War themes. Share what sparked your interest in that time period and events?
When you grow up in Massachusetts, you can’t help but be surrounded by monuments and historic homes of the American Revolution. I soaked up the history of our country like someone in the desert guzzles water! Even after leaving Massachusetts, the fascination for our country’s history stayed alive in my heart and, as an adult, poured itself onto the pages of my novels. I was also intrigued as a child to find out that one of my ancestors fought in the American Revolution—as a British redcoat! I guess I won’t be joining the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution… LOL!
How did you come up with the idea for Saratoga Letters?
My husband and I went to Saratoga National Historical Park in 2014. I kept waiting for the writer’s muse to click and it definitely snapped to attention when I lost my motel key (literally a key since the motel was a 1970’s vintage). Then one of the Park Rangers mentioned the Bicentennial Celebration in 1977 and my imagination went wild! I can’t explain how it works—only that, as a fictional writer, I know to pursue an idea when it takes root in my thoughts and won’t leave me alone until I’ve typed up the story. It’s a fun process but when you have to research two completely different centuries, the task can be daunting.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Abigail Adams. She had such wit and such love for her husband and children. She spent so many years apart from her family at various times and the separation must have been so painful. I would love to visit with her and hear firsthand what it was like and how she survived it all.
What your favorite historical location you’ve visited? And how do you do your research?
I love most of the historical locations I’ve been to but one of my favorites is the Plimoth Plantation (actual spelling). I visited there with my younger son and so enjoyed seeing the type of life led by our ancestors, John and Priscilla Alden. When I research, I read, and interview many knowledgeable contacts. I visit as many historical sites as I can and I pick the brains of historians who love to share their knowledge.
How much of yourself you write into your characters?
There is often a glimmer of myself in some of my characters but many are purely made up. I’d say the character of Sarah Thomsen in Promise of Deer Run is the closest to my personality.
What do you find to be the most effective way to keep the readers involved when you’re writing the next book?
I let myself be accessible to my readers and love to visit with them in person at book signings. I also like to get feedback on sequels to see if readers would truly be interested in visiting those characters again. Often the answer is yes. I also like to post snippets on Facebook while writing a work in progress, to instill excitement in a forthcoming release.
How would you like to inspire your readers?
Through my characters, who endure bad times as well as good, the theme in my books is forgiveness and faith that God will see you through even the most painful trials.
Tell us one thing about yourself that your readers might never suspect?
Because I have permanent nerve damage in my left hand, I type one handed.
Please share a favorite passage from Saratoga Letters with us.
“She knew she caressed his hair far too long, but he didn’t seem to notice—or maybe he didn’t mind. She reveled in the feel of him and wished she could indulge herself longer. After tying the ribbon around the folded hair, she released the club with regret. “There, I believe that should hold.”
He turned to her with seductive eyes that threatened to make her reveal her feelings for him. “Are you done so soon?” He visibly swallowed.
“Aye. I fear ‘tis so.” She pushed herself to her feet.
William reached out and took her hand. “I am grateful for your tender care, Mrs. Gillingham. I shall never forget you.”
Abigail knew she could never withhold her tears now. “Nor I you, Corporal Carpenter.”
She nearly spilled the basin of water as she hurried to leave. When she got outside, she went several feet from the tent and poured the contents onto the ground. She observed the puddle of water as it slowly soaked into the sparse grass, then watched her tears spill silently into the fading pool of moisture.”
Love and war become intertwined, as romance blooms between enemies during the American Revolution. Two hundred years later, descendants wage a similar battle as ancient hostilities stir danger for an unsuspecting woman whose heart is attracted to an adversary from long ago.
Award winning author Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of Fields of the Fatherless, Bethany’s Calendar, and the Deer Run Saga. Her passions are her faith, her family, and the history of the American Revolution. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels. Her work has also been published in magazines and newspapers.
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