Guest Post: The Art Of Writing Historical Romances By Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
If it wasn’t for Amelia Earhart, I might not have written Guy’s Angel. As a child, I read often and one summer I discovered biographies. I devoured life stories faster than I did candy from the neighborhood candy store and one of my favorites became Amelia’s. Although I don’t remember just when my interest in flight began, I do know why Amelia Earhart caught my fancy – she grew up in Atchison, Kansas, just a little more than twenty miles and thirty minutes away from my hometown.
As a kid, I’d visited Atchison several times. Sometimes, after my dad became a route salesman, one of our greatest summer treats was to ride along with him and my favorite destination was Atchison. When I read about the great aviatrix Amelia Earhart and delighted in stories about how she grew up in a nearby, familiar place, my interest piqued.
Eventually my interest expanded to reading about every aviatrix I could track down and long before I grew up, I enjoyed flying in several small aircraft. In one of them, the pilot – a woman by the way – allowed me to take the controls and “fly”. A few years later I talked my dad into going up in a sea plane at Lake of the Ozarks on a vacation trip. By then, I’d been bit by the flying bug. In high school I signed up for Air Force Junior ROTC and worked up to the cadet rank of Major. My favorite thing was the annual trips to the nearest Air Force Base to fly.
Years later I married one of my fellow cadets who shares my love for flight. Early in our marriage, we paid a local pilot and friend of my husband’s to take us up in his small aircraft. I still fly whenever possible and love it.
So when I sat down to write a romance novel set in the 1920’s and in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri, it wasn’t hard to pick a heroine who wants to fly. The rest of the story grew from there.
When a young woman really believes the sky is the limit, amazing things can happen…
Lorraine Ryan wants to fly airplanes so she heads for the local airstrip in 1925 to make her dream come true. Most of the flyboys think she’s cute but a woman’s place is in the home, not the cockpit. When Guy Richter steps up and offers to teach her to fly, she’s captivated with both Guy and flight. He nicknames her “Angel” and takes her up into that wild blue yonder. Before long, they’re deep in love.
Love, however, isn’t always enough……
Guy, a former World War I flying ace, is haunted by his past. His demons include his war service, the death of his only brother in an accident the previous year, and the Valkyries that he evaded in France who trail him in the hopes that they can complete his destiny. But his dreams lie with Angel and as they grow closer and closer, he soon realizes that if anyone can save him, it’s his Angel.
Guy flew down over the river and swooped low over the Lake Contrary Amusement Park. She could see the open mouths, the surprised faces, and the pointing fingers of the crowds there and giggled. Angel lifted one hand to wave and when a woman waved back, she grinned. Life would never be the same after this. Without warning her first, he did a loop and although for a few seconds, she gripped the edge of the seat with taut fingers, when she relaxed, she realized this was fun too.
On the way back to the airfield, Guy yelled to point out a few of the St. Joe landmarks, places like King Hill and Krug Park. When they came in for the landing, she braced herself but although they bounced a little, it went smoother than she thought.
She waited for him to undo the strap and help her out of the rear seat. He lifted her down to the ground and still holding her, swung her in a wide circle before he put her down with easy hands.
“That was the elephant’s eyebrows!” she said, laughing as she raised her goggles. “Guy, it was so grand.”
“I’m glad you liked it, Angel.”
Back on the ground, Pop and Charlie stood outside the hanger beside several others who arrived while they were up. Teddy and Stan surged forward toward Guy who paused, shaking hands and lighting up a smoke. The babble of their voices filled her ears as they pointed at her. Some laughed but others just smiled. She wanted to dance but she knew they’d make sport so she started to strip off the leather helmet instead.
Guy caught up with her. “So, Angel, you still want to learn to fly?”
“Ab-so-lutely and how!”
“Okay, then, you’ll learn. If you got any dough, you can pay me a buck a lesson but if not, hell, I’ll teach you for free. Do you have to be on your knees in the morning or can you come out here?”
“I can skip out on church,” Angel said, with a wicked grin. “I got a few clams to pay my way. What time?”
“Be here early as you can, beat the drug store cowboys here and we’ll have some fun.”
“I’ll be here,” she told him and then, on impulse, she grasped the collars of his jacket in her hands. “Thank you, Guy.”
He leaned closer, so near she thought he might kiss her but then he didn’t.
“You’re welcome, toots. I’ll see you in the morning, then, unless you have time to stay awhile.”
His invitation pleased her but she shook her head.
“I hafta to go work by noon or I’ll be out of a job,” she told him. “I wish I could, though.”
Guy’s eyes met hers and she noticed for the first time they were a soft hazel shade with a hint of green. He gazed at her as if he wanted to say something more and then he offered her a soft smile,
“Yeah? Well, beat it for now, Angel and go get all spiffy for work.”
“Okay, Guy. I’ll see you,” she said and then noticed she still wore his brother’s gear. “Oh, wait. I gotta give you back the aviator stuff till tomorrow.”
Angel removed the jacket, pulled off the helmet and the goggles. She handed them to him and he accepted them without a word. Her lilac scent wafted between them, sweet in the May wind coming off the river with a little chill. She reached up to touch his face without knowing why but he put his hand over hers.
“Take care, kid.”
Something electric passed between them, a stray spark threatening to burst into flame. He gazed at her and then, with graceful speed, he bent to kiss her. Her lips parted just enough and she kissed him back, his lips warm against hers. Angel could taste gin but she also inhaled the essence of his smell, simple and masculine. The kiss was sweet but too short.
About The Author:
Why romance? I’m often asked this question and all I can say is I believe in the power of love.
I write romance that lives and breathes the power of love. I am a full-time author and writer, making my home in the rustic, unspoiled beauty of the Missouri Ozark region. I live in what passes for the suburbs in the small town of Neosho, famous for being the home of noted artist Thomas Hart Benton and the home of Camp Crowder, the inspiration for Camp Swampy of Beetle Bailey fame.
I grew up in the historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, a former frontier jumping off point for wagon trains headed West. The Pony Express began its’ short lived run in St. Joseph and outlaw Jesse James came to his end (or so the story goes). In its’ heyday St. Joe was known for its stockyards, once third largest in the nation and railroads. My family worked in both.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America, the Missouri Writers Guild, Paranormal Authors League, EPIC, and the Ozark Writers League.
Connect With Her Online:
A Page In The Life: http://leannsontheimermurphyblogspotwriterauthor.blogspot.com
Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: http://leeannsontheimermurphy.blogspot
Seanachie Stories: Tuesday Tales And More: http://seanachiestories-tuesdaytalesandmore.blogspot.com