Author Guest Post | Historical Fiction debut author’s novel is inspired by real-life events; thus inspiring Jorie to select a topic befitting the story’s heart! Lindsay Ferguson responds generously to my enquiry discussing “By the Stars”!

Posted Sunday, 20 March, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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As a regular reader of Jorie Loves A Story you will readily observe, one of my favourite niches of literature is Historical Fiction (view the stories threaded on this tag) and of the wicked lovely diversity of choices inside the gateway of History are ‘war dramas’ which I have a natural inclination towards devouring every sweet chance I have at consuming their scope of heart, depth and strong will to surmount life’s hardships against the tumultuous backdrop of war.
The main draw for me as a reader is the humanistic instinct to rise above circumstances outside our own control and to find a way to thread Hope into a state of chaotic uncertainty. War dramas curate a wide expanse of History – as the four corners of the world have dealt with war and the after effects of how war affects the ordinary stasis of life and the peace which resumes after the battles are concluded. I have the tendency to focus on the World War Eras – moving between America, Great Britain and Europe, however, I am expanding outside of this niche of time this week as I resume where I left off reading The Bridges of Constantine by Ahlem Mosteghanemi as a precursor of concentrating on a variety of war dramas across both mainstream and inspirational markets. The lyrical prose of Mosteghanemi’s classic work of a trilogy rooted in the humanity behind the war and the pursuit of love against the harshness of that reality is what drew me into it’s narrative heart.
The last war dramas which evoked such a heart-centred story-line of full immersion were The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley (read my ruminative thoughts) and The Silver Locket (read my ruminative thoughts) wherein each author took a different approach to telling a guttingly realistic impression on the drama spinning out of the war era they chose to highlight through their character’s journey. Picking up from whence I left off with these stirringly brilliant observations on the human condition and the anguish of living within a reality of hard choices, I turnt my eye towards a story rooted inside an IRL inspiration! This story, By the Stars was one of a handful of selections I personally sought from the catalogues of Cedar Fort via Edelweiss a few moons ago as the conclusion of one year started to shift forward into a New Year.
I was truly inspired by the proposition of how this story was augmented out of a living history of someone’s past and thus, I created a topic for the author to respond too which would knit out the back-story to give us an inside glimpse of how Ms Ferguson approached writing the bones of her war drama.
If you are curious about where my readerly heart has wandered within this branch of #HistFic you’ll be happily ensconced into my archives! (previously read war dramas are collected via this tag)

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By the Stars by Lindsay B. Ferguson

Deep in the alcoves of 93-year-old Cal Morgan’s mind is an unexpected and intriguing past. Recollections of growing up a farm boy during the Great Depression, learning to foxtrot in the largest ballroom in America, and serving as an infantry soldier in World War II are fragments of his memories. But perhaps above all, a once in a lifetime love story is seared in his soul, reminding us that some things in life are meant to be.

When Cal finally gets a chance with Kate, the girl he’s loved since grade school, their easy friendship quickly blossoms into a meaningful romance. Spirited and independent, Kate keeps a guarded heart due to a painful past, and Cal wants nothing more than to gain her trust. But the WWII draft calls him to the war in the Pacific and with no way of knowing when and if he will return, Cal prepares to part from her for good. After he’s gone, what Kate does next changes everything.

In the suffocating jungles of the Philippines Cal encounters the chilling life of a soldier and deadly battles of war. But with Kate’s memory always near and willing him on he puts his trust in God, ultimately driven to return to her. Inspired by a true story, By the Stars shows that love, faith, and perseverance can overcome insurmountable obstacles.

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Proposed Topic for Ms Ferguson:
You’ve crafted an enduring romance set against WWII involving two strong characters whose will to not only survive the war but to believe in the hope of reunion after it concludes is at the heart of the story. It was referenced this is based on a true story – was this one from your family’s ancestral past or a story you discovered whilst you were researching the era? How did your penchant for historical fiction encourage you to write a war drama with such a convicting note of Hope?

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First off, I want to say thank you to Jorie for inviting me on to do a guest post on her fabulous blog! I’m excited to have an opportunity to share about some of the backstory of By the Stars with readers and how the novel came to be.

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By the Stars was indeed based on a true story. I hope that readers will find it intriguing that this love story really happened, and inspiring that true love can blossom even during difficult times and circumstances, and can withstand great obstacles.

The way I came to discover this story is fairly ordinary and simple. I feel this reflects the story well as it starts out about a simple farm boy, Cal, but develops into something much more.

I remember the exact day I first heard about Cal’s story. My parents, my husband and I were sitting in my family room entertaining my two young children. My parents began telling us about how they had recently visited with an old man that lived up the street from them. They told us what an interesting life this man had had growing up a farm boy during the Great Depression, serving in WWII, and also that he had quite the love story to tell. Always having had a fascination with history, especially the WWII era, I was instantly intrigued with this old gentleman and his life. I asked my parents if they thought he would mind if I visited with him so I could hear about his experiences first-hand.  My mom said she was sure he would enjoy a visit as he had recently began welcoming more visitors and sharing about his experiences. So we arranged for me to go and visit with him.

I’d like to mention that I went into the visit not thinking I would end up writing a novel inspired by this man’s story. Writing a novel had always been a far-off goal of mine but it wasn’t something I thought I would do at this point in my life being a busy mom of young children and working part-time in marketing for a computer software company. At the time I didn’t have much experience writing beyond the writing I had done in my job and occasional lifestyle articles I had contributed to local news outlets. Although, like I said, my eventual goal was to write a novel.

Now, back to the visit. My first visit with this man is actually described in the prologue of the novel. I was fascinated with this 93-year-old man and instantly fell in love with his story. I was at his house for around four hours that day, hearing all about his life experiences. As I drove away from our visit I couldn’t stop thinking about all I had just heard. I began thinking about how I wished everyone could have a chance to hear this incredible and inspiring tale of love, faith and hope. I began imagining images and conversations and details of the tidbits of his life, and my mind naturally began filling in the gaps of his story.  Then a thought popped into my mind – what a wonderful novel this story would make!

From then on the thought of writing a novel inspired by this story kept entering my mind, but in the beginning I wasn’t sure if I had the confidence or ability to attempt it. Although I’ve always loved reading historical fiction and had a fascination with history, I felt intimidated by writing something based on a true story and worried if I could do it justice. I also knew if I was to write it, I would really have to delve into history, especially the war. Writing an exciting and compelling love story was daunting enough, but I had no idea how I would be able to attempt writing war scenes. I worried if I would be able to make it believable and compelling.

I wrote the first few chapters, but then got stuck for a number of months, thinking through things, writing outlines, researching tidbits of the war, and jotting down notes for specific scenes, but I hadn’t done much in actually moving forward with writing the novel. Then, finally, I realized I had been overthinking it. I knew the only way I would be able to write this novel was if I just began and took it a chapter at a time and not let myself get too overwhelmed with the end result or what was coming up next. I decided to just begin plugging away at it, and research as I went. Of course, I obtained permission from the man and through countless interviews, began writing his story. In just under a year, with a couple breaks of a month or so in-between, I had finished the novel.

As to the question about writing a novel of hope, the fact that Cal’s story is one of hope is probably a large part of why I was so drawn to it in the first place. I am a realistic person but I also like to focus on the good of situations and people, and I strongly believe that there is always reason to have hope in any circumstance. I hope that if I were to be placed in a difficult situation like Cal was that I would react the way he did. That I would face it with faith and hope, and treat others around me with love and respect, no matter the circumstance.

Also, I am a bit of a hopeless romantic at heart. The love story that goes along with Cal’s story, and the beacon of hope and light it is to Cal during his dark and difficult times really touched me. I felt like Cal’s story of love and hope was one that should be shared with others. Feeling this way, I am extremely pleased that the story I was in awe of and instantly fell in love with will be able to be shared with others through this novel.

Converse via: #histfic, and #ByTheStars

About Lindsay B. Ferguson

Lindsay B. Ferguson

LINDSAY FERGUSON has been immersing herself in stories since her childhood days of sneaking a flashlight into her room and staying up reading The Babysitters Club series way past her bedtime, writing spinoffs of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and imagining herself in fascinating, far-off places.

She still dreams of traveling the world one day, and finds getting lost in a good book almost as absorbing as penning her own stories and experiencing them unfold.

A Communication graduate from the University of Utah, she worked as a PR and marketing writer for a computer software company for several years before resigning to focus on raising her family. She has also contributed lifestyle articles to various media outlets.

When she felt the itch to attempt novel writing a fascination with history created a natural inclination toward historical fiction, with a romantic flare, of course. She lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City with her husband and four children. By the Stars is her first novel.

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I’m a romantic optimist myself, and I loved how one man’s personal story of love and romance backlit by war and circumstance resulted in a debut novel where the writer found the wings to fly and embrace her writerly soul. I love backstories such as these, as they not only continue to paint the picture of the larger well of inspiration all writers experience, they deepen the connection we share with the writers who write convicting fiction – the stories everyman can relate too as they touch us on a level of humanity and heart truths about how we individually approach how to live our lives.
There are so many obstacles facing couples even during peacetime but one cardinal truth about reading wartime romances is how nothing is ever fully outside the Hope of surmounting circumstance with the championing will of love enduring through the difficult bits to step through into the promise of tomorrow. And, perhaps this is the greater truth of why historical fiction and by default, war dramas encourage us as much as they do; they give us a bridge to the past but a willfulness to remain resolute and hearty to greet our hardships with an attitude that isn’t defeating but rather, grounded in strength through faith.
I am so very blessed I am going to be reading this novel for the blog tour, but moreso, that this is another wonderful release by Cedar Fort within the niche of war dramas. I was originally touched by the sincerity and the depth of heart as presented through Paul Mark Tag’s How Much Do You Love Me? (read my ruminative thoughts) and had hoped even then, I’d find more releases like his coming out of this Indie publisher. If you visit my review, be sure to visit the lovely conversation I had with him about the novel as well!
Very happy to be at the starting point of Ms Ferguson’s historical fiction career, as I personally love finding writers who are inspired by History and find their own personal niche for drawing out character centred stories full of heart and soul which resonate with us long after we put down their chapters! I am also thankful her fear of ‘beginning’ did not circumvent her ‘will to write’ the story which was itching to be told!

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour:

On the 29th of April my review went live after the blog tour.

By the Stars blog tour by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.

Visit this #blogtour #guestpost about #HistFic inspired by real-life by @lb_ferguson! Click To Tweet

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Kindly leave your comments, thoughts and musings about this guest post topic for Ms Ferguson in the comment threads below! I welcome your commentary on this topic! Esp if you are a regular reader of historical fiction with a concentration on war dramas!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

{SOURCES: Book Cover Art for “By the Stars”, author photo, author biography and book synopsis were provided by the author Lindsay B. Ferguson and used with permission. Blog tour badge and the badge for Cedar Fort Publishing & Media were provided by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media and used with permission. Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment banner created by Jorie in Canva. Tweets are embedded due to codes via Twitter.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 20 March, 2016 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, The World Wars, War Drama

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