Round Robin: Favorite Time Period

Round Robin logoThe Round Robin topic for this month is: In what time period do you prefer to set your stories – past, present, or future? What are the problems and advantages of that choice? Would you like to change?

So far, the books I’ve written have taken place in the first half of the twentieth century. My three novels, Cowgirl Dreams, Follow the Dream, and Dare to Dream are all based on my grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos during the 1920s and take place in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s. My new novel, Seeking the American Dream, is based on my mother who emigrated from Germany after WWII in 1948.

3 book covers

I enjoy writing historical fiction based on family history, because it brings them to life for me. Some of it I remember, but doing research on the era is also an enjoyable endeavor for me.

Life in the early 1900s was difficult in many ways, especially when compared to our modern conveniences of today. They had no electricity and no running water, so part of my ancestors’ day was spent carrying water from a well or reservoir, chopping wood or gathering coal for heating, and cooking everything “from scratch.” My grandmother and mother were not able to grab a cake mix from the shelf and whip up a cake in 30 minutes or less. Ingredients, such as flour and sugar, were purchased in bulk a couple of times a year, and eggs were gathered from the hen house. The wood or coal-burning stove had to be fired up, fed, and stoked and then the timing had to be perfect to judge the right temperature to bake the cake or bread or roast the meat.

SeekingAmericanDream_1.5x2It was a simpler and more peaceful time, however, with no TVs or computers or cell phones blaring the bad news of the day. Family was foremost, but neighbors helped each other with work and food and camaraderie during harvest, branding calves, or shipping time. Evenings were spent with family, reading, mending, listening to music or radio programs, and planning the next day.

While we live in exciting times, sometimes I miss the “good old days,” even though life was hard at times.

I am working on novels now that are more contemporary, and I’m having fun with those as well. In some ways, they’re easier to write because I know more about the period, but also because these are pure fiction, not based on family history.

Which are your favorite eras to read?

Please visit the following blogs to find out what time period other authors enjoy writing about:

Marie Laval
Anne de Gruchy
Skye Taylor
Dr. Bob Rich
Anne Stenhouse
A.J. Maguire
Judith Copek
Victoria Chatham
Beverley Bateman
Marci Baun
Helena Fairfax
Diane Bator
Rhobin L Courtright


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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love Regency romance, but I read a lot of genres. If it’s well-written, I will enjoy it. I love the premise of your novels. Being a woman in a male-dominated field must have been exciting and challenging.

    • That’s why I love writing these books about my strong, independent female ancestors!

  2. Wow! Your grandmother set a great example for her time. I’m glad you’ve written about her, and now you mother. And you’re right about the dinner difference and making things from scratch.

  3. Love the periods you are writing about. History really comes alive when we populate it with interesting and believable characters. My mom taught in a one-room school in south central Kansas. Our female ancestors are to be admired for their fortitude.

  4. It was a better time in many ways. In spite of our modern conveniences, I agree that family time was more precious and central in the lives of our grandparents and their parents. And we are writing fiction so we can most of the time gloss over the ugly aspects of those times, like reeking outhouses, bodies that hadn’t been washed in weeks etc.

    • You’re right about the smell, the hardships etc. I really would not want to go back to laundry & cooking the way they did!!

  5. How wonderful to have access to such a family history, Heidi. anne

  6. I too, sometimes miss the ‘good old days’. I’ve never thought of writing historicals using my family members. It’s an interesting concept. Thanks, Heidi.

  7. What a wonderful wealth of family history you have to draw on. My own family history is a bit sketchy and I envy those who have letters, journals and photographs to look back on. Enjoyed your pots.

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