Welcome, Anne. Please tell us a little about your book.
Trail of Tears relives a heartrending chapter in American history as the U.S. Government relocates the self-governing, Cherokee nation from their ancestral homeland to hostile Indian Territory. The Georgia militia forces John Ross, a wealthy landowner with Cherokee ancestors, to make the thousand-mile trek. Caught between the love of two beautiful women, which will he choose, and will any of them survive?
Did anything in particular inspire you to write this book?
I love history, but I know many people do not because, while in school, they were subjected to memorizing dates and prominent events. My desire is to create a love for real history in my readers. My historical novels feature fictional characters with real lives as they relive real events.
A missionary at church mentioned the Trail of Tears one morning. I, being from the North, had never heard of the Trail. Never seen the event mentioned in history books. I was fascinated with the exciting historical event and immediately thought, This is a story that needs to be told.
The story sounds as if it might be sad … and there are tragic events portrayed, but my book, Trail of Tears, is about hope, overcoming, and finding a new way of life. I think from the first page to the last, you will find Trail of Tears difficult to put down. It’s one of my favorite books!
What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
Researching the history of the Trail, traveling the Trail, watching reenactments of the Trail, I developed great respect for the Moravian Missionary who accompaniedthe prisoners and soldiers over the 4,000-mile journey. During the horrendous trip, many, many, many Cherokee, the full-bloods as well as those with minute amounts of Cherokee blood, turned to Christ as their only hope. God used their suffering to bring an entire Nation to Himself. This is a book of love, hope, excitement, and overcoming which I hope will inspire my readers.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
My characters share their Christian experiences with the reader, I don’t. I’m what is known as a Pantser—a writer who does not plot. I create the characters, put them in the situation, time, and place where I set my book, then let them go. I watch how they react and what they do. They encounter love, trials, heartache, all the problems of life. Some turn to Christ and find Him in unique ways. Some are already Christians at the story’s beginning, and they grow in their spiritual life. Others reject Christ. My part is to record what they do.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
Great question. I have a sister two years my senior. My dad was a reader. When my sister was in first grade, Dad helped teach her to read. I loved to sit beside her as she struggled to read, and I so easily learned to read as she did. I was four years old. Back then schools didn’t teach phonics, they taught whole word recognition. As a result, I can’t spell. Almost from the first book I read, I knew I wanted to write books. But did God want me to write books?
The answer came years later. My children were both in school, and I faced what to do next. I prayed. I investigated. I asked friends what they thought I should do. Although I never mention writing to my psychiatrist friend, after answering a series of questions, he suggested I should be a writer. Then my dear husband told me of a two-week writing conference offered by Moody Bible Institute. I attended. At the end of the conference, I had an appointment with the publisher. He told me Moody liked the three chapters I had submitted in order to join the conference, and could I write the entire book in nine months. I said yes—not having ever written a book. Long story short, Moody published that book. I believe that was God telling me He wanted me to be a writer.
What other ministries do you participate in?
I sing in a 150-member choir at Stonebriar Community Church where Chuck Swindoll is Pastor. This is a big commitment, and the choir is like a mini–Sunday School class for me as well. We have close fellowship. Since our church is so large, my husband and I also head a small group ministry for a number of other couples. At different times I also serve different positions in our Sunday School class of about 200 members. I try to be available to my children and grandchildren for activities and spend much time in prayer for them. These ministries along with my writing keep me busy.
Do you have hobbies, activities, or passions outside of writing?
I enjoy many hobbies. I love to travel and have been blessed to visit every State in the U.S. as well as 16 foreign countries. The most exotic country, in which I spent three months exploring, is Turkey, with its seven churches of Revelation, Antioch where they were first called Christians, Paul’s home, and so many other Christian sites as well as where Alexander the Great ruled, and the Crusaders built castles. I wrote of many of these interesting sites in my book, Shadow of the Dagger.I also enjoy sailing, games of any sort, hiking, biking, swimming, escaping the city for the country or the lake, and of course spending time with family and friends.
Tell us about your next project.
I’m working on the second book in The Ross Family Saga, For Such A Time As This, The Story of Jarrett Ross. This noveltakes the reader into the life of John’s younger son born in the wild Oklahoma territory where the Cherokees have been relocated. This exciting sequel covers a large span of history with Jarrett smack in the middle of buffalo hunts, pony express rides, and as a pacifist inducted into the Union army while his older brother fights for the Confederate side. From the beginning, Jarrett strives to win the hand of the daughter of the Ross family’s arch enemy – an historical feud between the Ross and the Watie factions that continued for decades.
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