We asked Nancy and Patti a question about their new book, Gambling On Love, and they have joined us today to answer it!
Question: Researching the civil war; Was there a specific moment or place in history while researching that really touched you?
While doing our research for Gambling on Love, we knew we intended the movement of the Beaumont slaves to be not so much a history lesson, but a means for our hero and heroine to meet. It also served a unique purpose in developing both of the main characters’ best traits.
Felicity, our heroine, is young but has an overwhelming sense of compassion and understanding. She takes it upon herself to teach her father’s slaves how to read and write and prepares them for a life of freedom in the north. She even goes to the extreme of selling off her late mother’s heirlooms in order to raise the money for their passage. She’s gone from being a privileged, rich-man’s daughter to a woman who is willing to do whatever necessary to set things right.
Jake, our hero, is a strong believer in freeing the slaves and has taken it upon himself to use his family’s business, the gambling boat River Maiden to transport human cargo during the off-season. It isn’t long into their journey when he realizes the young woman who’d snuck onto his boat disguised as a farm hand, doesn’t have the entire price of passage. If Jake had been a hardened businessman, he’d have put them off the boat at the first stop. However, he doesn’t. He agrees to continue north because it’s the right and honorable thing to do.
All of that said, we still felt we needed to research the after-effects of the Civil War, and how it impacted all classes of people as well as the movement of the slaves. What we found was a very interesting piece of history right in our characters’ backyard. Vicksburg, Mississippi was the location of one of the most devastating battles during the Civil War, and is one of the three towns in which the Legacy takes place. We felt we needed to know as much about the area as possible in order to make our book realistic. What we found, was heart-wrenching.
The book we used most was called, Don’t Know Much About the Civil War, by Kenneth C. Davis, 1996. While not the newest of our research materials, a good portion of the book was made up of diary entries from the people who actually lived through the Union siege.
What we wanted to share today is a few of the more moving passages. During the siege by Union troops, a young woman wrote in her diary:
I think all the dogs and cats must be killed or starved. We don’t see any more pitiful animals prowling around.
The confinement in these underground caves where we hide is dreadful …
…This place has two large underground cisterns of good cool water, and every night in my subterranean dressing-room a tub of cold water is the nerve-calmer that sends me to sleep in spite of the roar.
The churches are a great resort for those who own no caves. People fancy they are not shelled so much, and they are substantial and the pews good to sleep in.
Vicksburg surrendered to General Grant’s troops on July 4, 1863. As the Union troops marched in, a young lady diarist reported:
What a contrast to the suffering creatures we had seen were these stalwart, well-fed men, so splendidly set up and accoutred! Sleek horses, polished arms, bright plumes ….
The heart turns with throbs of added pity to the worn men in gray who are being blindly dashed against this embodiment of modern power.
What we took away from our research was not only the need to believe in what our characters were doing, but also to develop a compassionate way for them to accomplish their goal. We hope that the readers of Gambling on Love will agree that we’ve met that task.
*This is a giveaway sponsored & administered by the author and/or blog tour company. Please see our OFFICIAL GIVEAWAY RULES.
Name the Hotel!
As part of a tour-wide giveaway the authors are offering one lucky winner the chance to not only name the hotel which will appear in the second McCade Legacy novel, but will also have their name used as a character in the book as well! The winner will also receive a copy of Gambling on Love and a copy of the second book when it becomes available.