My First Novel: The Ultimate Road Trip

dirt road with trees

As a lifelong reader and longtime journalist, a part of me secretly always wanted to be a novelist. Finally, I decided why not. Why not write a novel. So, I decided to give it a go. Of course, I quickly discovered it wasn’t that easy. First, I needed to select a genre. Would I write mystery, international intrigue, science fiction or romance? I’ve always been drawn to love stories (my favorite movies are romantic comedies – it’s even better if they’re also musicals). So, the obvious answer was romance.

But what kind? Contemporary? Paranormal? Romantic suspense? Historical? Since I have always been fascinated by history (I was a history major in college) historical romance was the obvious choice. Next came plot. Far from easy, a deep study of the craft of fiction revealed how difficult it is to craft a compelling, multi-layered plot. So, I decided to write my first book as a road trip story. That way, the journey itself helped form the plot structure. I wanted to base the story in the United States. What was the ultimate road trip in American history? And the answer came to me: the Oregon Trail, the path that opened the Western Frontier to courageous and enterprising men and women.

So that’s why my first novel, the historical romance, “Mercy’s Way,” takes place in 1845 along the Oregon Trail. I’ve never traveled the Oregon Trail. I knew as much about it as the average person. So, I embarked on several months of research, incorporating the Trail and its perilous history and landscape into my story with fictional characters, making it one of the characters, too. I hope you enjoy love the story. And while whisked back in time — to where love is part of the adventure — I hope you enjoy learning about the Oregon Trail along the way.

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