Today I'm happy to be hosting Sibelle Stone, who also writes under the name Deborah Schneider. In her latest novel, Whistle Down the Wind, a 17th-century witch travels from England to Virginia. I asked Sibelle to tell us a little about the historical facts that inspired her book.
I’m delighted to be here to talk about writing romance and history—several of my favorite subjects. Thank you, Tasha, for the kind invitation.
When people ask me why I choose to write historical romance instead of contemporary, the answer is usually simple. As a former American History teacher, with a degree in Secondary Education Social Studies, I’ve long been drawn to the stories of people, places and events that helped to shape this country. My favorite time periods are from the Colonial era to just after the American Civil War. They are years that shaped our nation, helped the United States forge a world identity, and were filled with leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln, (prior to his re-invention as a vampire slayer).
But, as much as I love writing stories set in America, the sad truth is that these are not the books that traditional publishers want to buy. When I shopped my recent release, “Whistle Down the Wind” around to agents and editors, I was told repeatedly that “colonial” stories and witches in America would not sell.
It was suggested several times that I reconsider my destination setting. If the couple had to sail off someplace, “why not make it Scotland?” But, in my heart I knew what needed to happen in the story, how long Catlin and Griffin needed to be on board ship, and that Jamestown, Virginia as a setting was important.
I had put this book away, sad that I’d never have the opportunity to write about Catlin’s sisters, all elemental witches just like her. I had such wonderful plans for those sisters, and incredible heroes for them to meet and fall in love with. But, you can’t fight the trends.
Or can you? When I successfully released a backlist title as an eBook last fall, it was just to learn about the process of digital publishing. I was pleasantly surprised when I starting seeing statements from distributers that showed the books was selling. Then it hit the Amazon Top 100 Westerns list, and stayed there for several months.
When I attended the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention in April, I had the opportunity to listen to panel after panel of “Indie Publishing” experts. I was sold, and came home, dusted off that manuscript, revised it and sent it to my editor.
I’m pleased that I have been able to release a book I loved writing for other people to read. That’s the purpose of becoming a writer, to share your world, your characters and your story. I can honestly say that Indie publishing has been an exciting venture for me. But, it isn’t for everyone. You must enjoy the business side of writing as much as the creative side.
But for those who love adventure, it could be an interesting journey.