Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Value of Research and Persistence in Writing

by Susan F Craft

I’m happy to announce that my post-Revolutionary War Inspirational suspense, Laurel, was released last week by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. But I have to say, it took a lot of work, rejection, and persistence.

About Laurel
Searching for their toddler and her Cherokee aunt kidnapped by slavers, Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos trek from their North Carolina vineyard, through South Carolina backcountry to Charleston, a tinderbox of post-Revolutionary War passions. There, Lilyan, a former patriot spy, faces a grand jury on charges of murdering a British officer. Once free, they follow Laurel’s trail by sea and are shipwrecked on Ocracoke Island. Will they be reunited with their dear child or is Laurel lost to them forever?

Researching for Laurel
Since I want my history to be right in my novels, I do extensive research and try to travel to the locations of my novels to absorb everything I can: sights, sounds, smells.  Thank goodness my husband drives us, because I have no sense of direction and can get lost in my driveway.

The most fun research trip was one we took to the North Carolina Outer Banks to research for Laurel and its sequel, Cassia that’s coming out this September. In Laurel, which takes place in 1783, my characters are shipwrecked on an Outer Banks island.  Cassia, which takes place in 1799, has pirates.

Between the two books, I knew I needed to learn more about ships that sailed at that time, some nautical terms, and seafaring jargon. In Beaufort, NC, I visited a maritime museum (are real gem) where I spent hours in the library that still uses a card catalogue system (at my age, I felt right at home).

I learned about the wild ponies that have roamed Ocracoke Island for hundreds of years and I became fascinated by pirate lore of the area. A local restaurant owner pointed out an area for us to visit that still looks the same as it did in the late 1700s.

On my website,,  I have published interesting historical tidbits, little nuggets of information that were new to me and which I included in my novels. Most of the material, not all, is about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. There’s lots of information about colonial dress and everyday living, and even some tips for writers, which I gleaned from conferences I attended over the years.

The Long Road to Getting Published
I could be the poster child for persistence (some might call it hard-headedness). I’ve been writing for 35 years, honing my craft at more writing conferences and reading more books about writing than I can remember. I simply refused to give up until I found someone interested in representing and publishing my novels. All those years I worked fulltime, took care of my family, and made time for writing—sometimes into the early morning hours. And praying … I should have said that first.

My advice to aspiring authors – keep on keeping on and surround yourself with others passionate about writing. When you’re discouraged by rejection, other writers can inspire you to continue. My writers’ critique group, The Inkplots, kept me from giving up and gave me the kick in the pants I needed.

As always, I give the glory to God from whom all blessings flow.
The Amazon link for Laurel is:

Susan F. Craft writes historical romantic suspense. Her Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile, won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick.  Susan recently retired after a 45-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader.  To assist authors to “get it right about horses in their works,” Susan worked with the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation to compile A Writer's Guide to Horses (also known as An Equestrian Writer’s Guide) that can be found at Forty-five years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd, she enjoys researching for her novels, painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her porch watching the rabbits and geese eat her daylilies.

1 comment:

  1. Susan, thank you for your interesting and informative blogs! I am sharing on Twitter and FB.
    Hugs, Elva Cobb Martin, President, ACFW-SC