Behind the scenes: where ideas come from
As I sat in Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon in France, I thought of one of my readers, Linda Mordell Letsom. We connected over my third novel, Scrap Everything. I wrote about Linda in my e-newsletter about a year ago. You can read the account here. (She has an incredible story!)
In the fall of 2012 I talked with Linda on the phone to make sure I had the details of her story right. At the end of our conversation we discussed my Courtships of Lancaster County series, and then she told me about her Huguenot ancestors—the Ferree family—who fled France toward the end of the 17th century and later settled in Lancaster County. “You should write a story about them,” she said.
I started researching the Huguenots (French Calvinists) and found fascinating after fascinating story, all the way through World War II. I shared the idea with Mindy Starns Clark, my co-author on The Women of Lancaster County series, and she was interested in co-authoring again. We pitched a four-book series, called Cousins of the Dove, to our publisher (Harvest House). Thankfully they were interested too.
Soon I was communicating with friends in France and planning a research trip. My hubby and I traveled in June—and had an amazing trip that totally exceeded our expectations. Step after step of the way, thanks to our friends, I found just the right information that I needed.
I’ll blog more in the coming weeks about our trip, but I just want to mention one more thing in this post. I chose the name Catherine for our French heroine, circa 1685, who lives in Lyon. After hubby and I got home from our trip, in doing more research about the Huguenots in general, I found that the Ferree family originated in Lyon and had a daughter named Catherine.
Mindy and I won’t be telling the story of Linda’s family—our story is absolutely fictitious and our Huguenots end up settling in Virginia, not Pennsylvania, when they come to America. But I’ve definitely been inspired, once again, by Linda and her story.
On the first day of our trip as I sat in the back row of the cathedral, I imagined our character Catherine and what her life would have been like…and then I thought of Linda and how this wonderful idea started with her. (Thank you, Linda!)