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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guest blog by author Peggy L. Henderson

Today we are absolutely delighted to welcome western and time-travel author Peggy L. Henderson with us!  

Inspiration and story ideas
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how do I come up with ideas for my stories. I’m sure that’s a common thing authors get asked.  I’ve heard other authors say they can draw inspiration from anywhere, be it in the line at the supermarket checkout and overhearing a bit of conversation between two people, or looking at a certain photo or painting that might strike their creative juices for a story. A lot of times, songs inspire a novel. My story ideas come mainly from country music and also straight from the history books.

 When I wrote my first book, Yellowstone Heart Song, the inspiration was the easy part. Yellowstone National Park has always been my passion, my love, and I wanted to showcase the wonders of the area in my book. I’ve also always had a fascination with early American history, primarily the Indians and the fur trappers and mountain men. Next, I wondered what it would be like to travel back in time and experience the natural beauty of Yellowstone the way it was before the influx of modern life. 

When I decided to write a sequel to the book, I drew from some of the mountain man stories, and included a famous incident that happened to the man who was considered the first European to have set foot in what is now Yellowstone. By the time I was finished writing the book, I knew I was going to be writing several more, and the series has become my fictional account of Yellowstone’s journey to become the world’s first national park. My focus in the series was not only the romance stories in each book, but also to showcase the park and its history. Much of my inspiration for the romance aspect of the book came from country music.

After the Yellowstone series was completed, I knew I wanted to write another western-themed time travel, and the Oregon Trail sounded like a fascinating subject to explore. I was at a loss for an idea for my characters, however, until I came across a song by Eric Church, called Home Boy. From that song, my hero for the first book in the Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series was born.

As I write more historical and time travel romance novels, I know I’ll continue to draw on the beauty of our western landscape for inspiration, along with country music and  historical accounts of the mountain men who carved out a living in the rugged Rocky Mountains of years gone by.

Excerpt from Yellowstone Heart Song:

For the better part of the morning, Daniel led her through the forest, showing her how to read different tracks, other signs to look out for that an animal had been in the area, where to look for edible roots and plants, and how to watch the skies for changes in the weather. Along with the berries, she filled her backpack with mint, wild onions, licorice, and various other roots and plants.

She had listened attentively as she tried to absorb everything Daniel told her. Some things she already knew, others were completely new to her. The subtle animal signs he picked up on astounded her. Silently, he had pointed out a black bear sow and her twin cubs in the distance, a moose in the thickets that she would have completely overlooked, and countless other smaller animals. He knew which critter made every track they came upon. He read the forest for information as someone in her time would read a newspaper. It was most refreshing to get a glimpse of this wilderness that she loved so much in her time from this man who carved out a living here.

Aimee savored the beauty of her surroundings. Aspen trees grew in abundance. Beaver lodges could be seen all along the streams, and countless otters played in the waters. With the coming of the fur trappers to these mountains within a decade of this time, the beaver would be trapped to near extinction. Wolves would be hunted until none remained, and without this predator, the elk would take over, causing the destruction of the aspen from overgrazing. This was a Yellowstone unfamiliar to her, but it was as nature had intended before the encroachment of man.

You can find out more about Peggy at her website and please make sure to like her FB page!

Peggy L Henderson is a laboratory technologist by night, and writes during the day. She has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for twenty years. Along with her husband and two teenage sons, she makes her home in Southern California. They dream of moving to Montana some day.
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  1. Welcome, Peggy!

    I love the idea of this series! Inspiration can come from anywhere, you just have to listen...

  2. Peggy,
    Thanks so much for being with us today. What a great idea for a series! That must have been fascinating research. I've never been to Yellowstone, but I know people who go there year after year because they are so in love with the area. I hope to visit it some day.

  3. I've never been to Yellowstone, Peggy, but it's on my list. I draw a lot of inspiration from song lyrics, too. :)

  4. Welcome Peggy! I've loved the series so far! I only have books one and two so far but I'm working on getting the rest. It's a fascinating series and she blends the setting with the storyline so well.

    Thanks for joining us and I love that Yellowstone was your inspiration. So often the history here in our own country gets overlooked for the mounds of history we find overseas, so it's refreshing to see there are others who love this countries history as I do. I haven't been to Yellowstone yet but it's always been on my wishlist. I hope to someday make it out that way but until then I'll have to live vicariously through your books and your FB postings which are awesome! Thanks for joining us again!

  5. What a wonderful series idea, Peggy! I love the idea of time-travel involving our country's own history--so many colorful worlds to explore!

  6. Thanks, Suzie, for inviting me to blog with you ladies today. When Suzie asked me if I'd like to do a guest post, I knew I had to talk about my favorite setting somehow. Yellowstone is a wonderful place for inspiration for all kinds of artist. I've just returned from an annual trip, and there is a place called Artist Point that looks out at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone. It's so named because a lot of artists through history have been inspired by that particular view.This year, I had the privilege of watching a plein air oil painter work at his craft. It was awesome to watch him paint, to see his interpretation of what he was seeing.

  7. Peggy,
    The way you describe the settings, I feel as though I've already been to Yellowstone. I know when I go, I'll feel as though I'm seeing everything for the second time.

  8. Good blog, Peggy.

  9. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Peggy! I've never been to Yellowstone but would love to go! Beautiful!

  10. Sounds like you all need to take a vacation to Yellowstone! You won't be disappointed!

  11. Peggy, I really enjoyed how you find inspiration from places and what you come across in country music. :)