Every month I’ll be interviewing an author who writes historically-influenced fiction, and introducing you to some fantastic new writing talent. Their genres vary, but all of them are writing stories set in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
This month we’re talking to historical romance author Angela Christina Archer. Angela’s most recent book is A Road Paved in Copper, and she can be contacted via her website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or you can follow her on BookBub.
I started writing in September of 2009. I had been laid off from a job, and while I thought I would find something else fast, two weeks into having zero calls on any of my resumes, I needed an outlet before I went crazy. I had always wanted to write a book, but I never thought I had any talent so I never tried. One morning I just sat down at my computer and started. It wasn’t researched or thought out. I didn’t have an outline and worst of all, it was awful. SO AWFUL! I cringe now when I think that people actually read that first draft. I’ve often thought about sending them an apology gift for subjecting them to such torture.
What are the best and worst things about being an author?
The best thing probably is just the writing itself, like when your fingers are flying across the keyboard and the scene just unfolds. Whether it’s in the way you planned or not, it just turns into everything you pictured, or becomes even more than you had hoped. The worst thing is the doubt. Wondering if you’re good enough, wondering if your books are good enough. You go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, wanting to bang your head against the desk or worse, set your computer on fire. Bad reviews tend to make those days even worse. Good reviews help, but they don’t erase the full sting.
What’s your favourite historical time period to write about and why?
I try to pick time periods that interest me simply because of all the research that is involved. No one wants to research about things they aren’t interested in. While I have a few that I love, I’ve always gone back to somewhere between 1860 and 1900 – that forty years seems to be my sweet spot.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched in relation to your writing?
While I was researching my book set during the Salem Witch Trials, I came across the story of one accused who was sentenced to peine forte et dure. In this process, a heavy board is laid on the body then rocks and boulders are laid on the plank of wood. They pressed him with weight until he either confessed or suffocated. I remember thinking at that point that nothing better happen to my husband, because my computer search history is a hotbed of things cops would have a field day with. Hahaha.
If you could travel anywhere in time and space, when and where would it be?
I’ve often thought that I was born in the wrong era. Which one I do belong to, I’m not really sure, but it would have to fall somewhere between 1850-1910. I know that’s a pretty big span of time, but those are my favourite years. I know those were also rough years. Years spent with many hardships that I probably would not survive. Hahaha. But I would still love to try. I think it’s mostly because that was the era where things were happening. Railroads were built, land was abundant for those who wanted to work it. People panned for gold, made fortunes in cattle, headed out onto the frontier for adventures (even if they were fraught with danger). Of course, they were also without creature comforts that I’ve grown to love, so . . . again, I have to wonder if I would have survived.
Where do you find creative inspiration?
Instrumental music, and oddly enough, soundtrack CDs. Braveheart, The Last of the Mohicans, How to Train Your Dragon, and Divergent (which isn’t instrumental) are my four go-to ones. I have a handful of other songs by various artists that can get my fingers going too.
What’s your favourite historical resource?
My go-to one is always the internet because it’s easy and right at my fingertips. But my second is actually non-fiction books. I have stacks of them on each of the time periods of my novels (1861 Civil War, 1897 Klondike Gold Rush, 1692 Salem Witch Trials, 1929 Great Depression, and 1903 Nevada Gold Rush. I also have a current time period Contemporary.). I also love to research odd historical stories that most people don’t know about. Those are the best.
The best place in the world to write is…
Okay, this one might be weird, but for me, my favourite movie theatre. The one near my house has an upstairs balcony area that is closed off to anyone younger than 21. There are two places to dine, one is more out in the open and is fine to write in, but the other is around a corner and is secluded and for the most part library quiet. I order food that is brought to me (I have a few favourite dishes), and I could sit there all day.
When you’re not writing, what do you get up to?
I live on a small farm in the middle of Oklahoma, so I wake up to farm animals. So far just horses and chickens, but I do want to add a cow or two to the mix. I have two young daughters that I homeschool too, and I’m the Financial Controller for a company back in Nevada (I work from home). I like to say that I don’t have a full plate, I have a platter. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What are you currently working on?
A book that is seriously kicking my derriere. Hahaha. My current work-in-progress is about 60,000 words longer and has more subplots and characters than any other I have done. While it’s a historical romance, this one has more history than romance, and is set during the year before and the actually days of the Battle of Little Bighorn. My heroine . . . well . . . she kills Custer. And that’s all I’m going to say. Hahaha. I hope to have the novel finished and off to agents and publishers by the end of the year. While I went through a small house for my first three and self-published my last three, I’m trying something new with this one. It is my hope that I can sell it and that people will love it.