Samantha Wilcoxson -writing emotive historical fiction
What was the inspiration for your most recent book?
I became inspired to write about Nathan Hale during my research for a nonfiction book that I have coming out later this year. His name is one that is often familiar, but many people can’t remember who he was or what exactly it was that he did. The more I learned about his life, the more I wanted to write about it and help my readers experience what it was like to come of age at the time of the American Revolution. Nathan’s story is poignant and helps us remember those who sacrificed everything they had to secure the liberties we enjoy today. I enjoyed portraying him, his brother, Enoch, and good friend, Benjamin Tallmadge, especially during their teen years at Yale. They were very different teen years than what I or my children experienced! Despite their youth, these boys discussed current events and how they would respond to them as the colonies moved toward revolution. I wanted to explore those dilemmas and emotions in But One Life.
What is the first book that made you cry?
I used to cry reading books like Where the Red Fern Grows and Black Beauty. I don’t write about animals, but I do try to create similarly emotional stories. Many dear readers have told me that my books require a box of tissues.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
At least two half-finished books sit in my files, waiting to see if I will decide to revisit them. One of them is a novel about Isabel de Warenne. I freeze up a bit when historical facts become scarce, so I couldn’t decide what to do about not knowing enough about her children – when they were born, what they were like, what became of them. I would love to finish this book, because I think Isabel is a woman my readers would connect with. Another project I began was a novel about the wives of President Woodrow Wilson. I find the Wilsons interesting for several reasons, not least of which because there is strong evidence that Woodrow’s second wife, Edith, secretly served as president when he was incapacitated. Unfortunately, I’m not sure readers are as interested in this particular family as I am, so I might never finish it. I have many new ideas floating around in my mind as well, so it’s difficult to return to stalled projects.
If you could write any other genre, what would it be?
I would love to be able to write mysteries. Besides history, I read lots of mysteries and true crime. The creativity and talent that it takes to conceive a mystery and write it in a compelling and convincing way never ceases to amaze me. I may be a bit too dependent on preexisting historical timelines!
Do you tend to write about places you’ve been to, or places you wish you could go to?
Although I haven’t visited every place I’ve written about, I try to travel as much as possible. I believe settings can be more realistically recreated when one has experienced what it is like to physically be there – to see what a town might have looked like when a person lived there, to sit in the church where they were married, to realize that the river carries the smell of waste, or to see that railroad tracks ran nearby. Speaking to people who live in those areas always offers interesting tidbits of information that I would never have found online. Even when I am not traveling for research, my family always visits at least one historic place on every trip we take. You can learn so many interesting things by seeking out local history.
Samantha Wilcoxson is a writer of historical fiction and sufferer of wanderlust. She strives to reveal the deep emotions and motivations of historical figures, enabling readers to connect with them in a unique way. Samantha is an American writer with British roots and proud mother of three amazing young adults. She can frequently be found lakeside with a book in one hand and glass of wine in the other.
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Linda Ulleseit writes award-winning heritage fiction set in the United States. She is a member of Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Women Writing the West as well as a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. Get in touch with her on Instagram (lulleseit) and Facebook (Linda Ulleseit or SHINE with Paper Lantern Writers).