historical fiction books | historical romance books

Q & A What is Your Protagonist’s Dream Job?

By Anne Beggs
January 19, 2024

Protagonists go through so much. They strive, struggle, and suffer at the hands of writers as they take us on amazing journeys. Sometimes a journey of miles, sometimes of the spirit, often both. What are their aspirations? What is the protagonist’s dream job? Five Paper Lantern Writers answer this question, and the responses are as diverse as their extraordinary characters.

Linda Ulleseit:

In my new novel, Innocents At Home, coming out Fall 2024, Nina Larrowe longs to be an actress. It’s New York in 1870, and actresses are just beginning to be accepted by society. She starts reading lines with actors to practice their scenes, then gets a part in a short run play. Following that, she tours in a Buffalo Bill show up the Hudson River. Her dream job is a starring role on Broadway. This novel is based on a real person, daughter of Samantha Lockwood in my novel The River Remembers.

Nina Larrowe

Alina Rubin:

In Abigail’s Song, Abigail dreams of a simple life. She wants to use her musical talents to give piano and singing lessons to the local children. Outside of that, she wants to be a wife and a mother in a large Jewish family. A fellow musician, however, recognizes her extraordinary gift and encourages her to perform in front of an audience of wealthy people. This musical evening may take Abigail’s journey in a new direction.

Abilgail’s Song


Jillianne Hamilton:

The protagonist in The Seamstress on Cider Lane technically has her dream job… to a point. At the beginning of the book, Nora opens a sewing shop just as clothing rationing begins in the UK in 1941. Nora enjoys sewing and mending all sorts of garments, but her strongest talent is dressmaking. There was a major shortage of all kinds of fabric during World War II (and even for a few years after the war ended) so fashion designers during this time had to be super creative, always keeping in mind what fabric was available and what wasn’t. It became common and encouraged for the government to reuse old, unused garments and adapt them to be used again. Nora’s clients bring her old and unloved clothing, and she brilliantly reconfigures them to create stylish and new. It was a unique time for British fashion houses since they didn’t have to compete with chic fashions coming out of France for several years—they just had other challenges to contend with.

Michal Strutin:

Here’s a description of one of my two protagonists in my Late Renaissance mystery trilogy. Book 1 is now through all rewrites, completed this past week, vetted by my wonderful editor. I start querying this month.

Jacob, twenty-four, has his dream job, he just doesn’t know it. He thinks he wants only to study with famed Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria in the mystical city of Safed, high above the Sea of Galilee.

Luria’s full-time students are supported by their wealthy fathers, and Jacob is jealous of them. To pay for his studies, Jacob must also serve as Luria’s tradesman, sailing to Venice, Istanbul, and other ports around the eastern Mediterranean selling Safed’s woolens. He is slowly learning that meeting people from East and West, solving mysteries they are caught up in, saving lives, and discovering the technology of the Late Renaissance–everything from clocks to pistols–is what makes his heart race.

Safed, by Lenny Ben-David, 2017


Ana Brazil:

Viola Vermillion, the heroine of my mystery The Red-Hot Blues Chanteuse, dreams of making the vaudeville Big Time. Which means, in 1919, she dreams of being booked as a headliner in the Palace Theatre in New York City.

Viola wants to perform in the twelve spot (the next-to-last performance) on the entire stage (aka “working in four”). She wants the spacious headliner’s dressing room and costumes that shimmer, sparkle, and flutter when she moves. She wants a talented orchestra to follow her lead and a bouquet of flowers at the end of each performance.

But really, Viola just wants to sing the blues, ballads, and novelties that both bring the audience to tears and make them stomp with joy. There are three-thousand people sitting in the Palace Theatre, eagerly waiting to be entertained, and Viola wants to take them on a tour de force musical emotional roller-coaster.

Red-Hot Blues Chanteuse


Stars of stage, musician, fashion designer and sleuth – such aspirations for these unique, adventurous characters, taking on life’s challenges, from the 1870s New York, 1810 England, 1919 San Francisco, World War II England to Middle Eastern Renaissance. We all need to read the books to find out what happens to Nina, Abigail, Viola, Nora, and Luria.


Anne Beggs

Written by Anne Beggs

Anne M. Beggs writes adventure romance and family saga set in Medieval Ireland. She is a member of Paper Lantern Writers and Historical Novel Society. For more about her books, mounted archery, and horses, please contact her on Facebook or Instagram @annitbella72

View Anne’s PLW Profile

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