by Susan F. Craft
They track Laurel to the port of Charleston as post-Revolutionary War passions reach fever pitch. There, Lilyan, a former patriot spy, is charged for the murder of a British officer. She is thrown into the Exchange Building dungeon and chained alongside prostitutes, thieves, and murderers. Separated from her husband, she digs deep inside to re-ignite the courage and faith that helped her survive the war. Determined to free his wife at any cost, Nicholas finds himself forced back into a life of violence he thought he’d left behind.
Following a rumor that Laurel may be aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore, Lilyan and Nicholas secure passage on a departing schooner, but two days into the voyage, a storm blows their ship aground on Diamond Shoals. As the ship founders, both are swept overboard.
Will their love for each other and their faith sustain them as they await word of their missing child? Or is Laurel lost to them forever?
An interview with Susan F. Craft
Since I want my history to be right in my novels, I do extensive research and travel to the locations of my novels to absorb, to breathe in, everything I can: sights, sounds, smells. Thank goodness my husband drives us, because I have no sense of direction and can get lost in my driveway.
The most fun trip was one we took to the North Carolina Outer Banks to research for my upcoming books, Laurel and its sequel, Cassia. In Laurel, which takes place in 1783, my characters are shipwrecked on an Outer Banks island.
Cassia, which takes place in 1799, has pirates. Between the two books, I knew I needed to learn more about the ships that sailed at that time, some of the nautical terms, and seafaring jargon. In Beaufort, NC, I spent hours in the library of the Maritime Museum that still uses a card catalogue system (at my age, I felt right at home). I learned about the wild ponies that have roamed Ocracoke Island for hundreds of years and I became fascinated by the pirate lore of the area. A local restaurant owner pointed out an area for us to visit that still looks the same today as it did in the late 1700s.
I’d have dinner with Nicholas Xanthakos. I have a place in my heart for this gorgeous Greek who embodies all the traits you want in a hero—bravery, gentleness, honor, faith. (No need to tell my husband of 45 years—he knows already ☺)
Here’s how Lilyan describes her husband in Laurel:
She turned over and watched her husband’s chest rise and fall in his slumber, observing him as he lay in a partial shadow cast from the moonlight. His hands that could wield a knife with deadly accuracy—and yet gently rock a cradle. His arms that could sling an axe for hours—but also encircle his child and wife in a tender embrace. His broad shoulders that could bear the weight of a felled tree, and yet they provided a nestling place for his wife’s head. His firm chin that jutted out in moments of white-hot anger—but also nuzzled into his daughter’s feathery curls. Lips that shouted orders so harshly grown men cringed but also whispered endearments to his wife in their most intimate moments. She regretted the furrow that creased his brow, the only outward sign of how much he missed his koukla—his little doll.
I could be the poster child for persistence (some might call it hard-headedness). I’ve been writing for 35 years, honing my craft at more writing conferences and reading more books about writing than I can remember. I simply refused to give up until I found someone interested in representing and publishing my novels. For all those years I worked fulltime, took care of my family, and made time for writing—sometimes into the early morning hours. I’m sentimental and cry at Hallmark commercials. I love the Lord with all my heart and strive daily to please Him, though I fail miserably at times.
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Susan F. Craft, who writes inspirational historical romantic suspense, recently retired after a 45-year career as a communications director, editor, and proofreader. To assist authors to “get it right about horses in their works,” Susan worked with the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation to compile A Writer's Guide to Horses (also known as An Equestrian Writer’s Guide) that can be found at www.lrgaf.org. Forty-five years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, and they have two adult children, one granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd, she enjoys researching for her novels, painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her porch watching the rabbits and geese eat her daylilies. She has two post-Revolutionary War novels being released in 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas--Laurel, was released January 15, and its sequel Cassia will be in September. Her Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile, won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick.
A copy of Laurel by Susan F. Craft
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