Today Meredith Allard, author of the "Loving Husband" Trilogy is here to answer a few questions as part of her book tour. Everyone give Meredith a big welcome!
1. Did you set out to create a trilogy or did the story grow as you wrote the first book?
I knew fairly early into writing that the story as I saw it would be too long for one book. Readers have shorter attention spans these days, and I didn’t want to write something that would end up being about 900 pages so I decided three books would be about right. That was a good guess because three books will cover the whole story. I’m glad I knew from the beginning that it would turn out to be three books because I was able to start laying the ground work for each of the subsequent stories in book one. While I hope readers can’t guess where the story is going, I do hope that as they discover how the pieces fit together they’ll think the conclusion makes sense.
2. What was you inspiration for the trilogy?
The original inspiration came when a student of mine gave me Twilight to read. I had never read anything about vampires before, and I certainly never thought about vampire-human relationships before. Twilight prompted my interest in other vampire stories, and I also watched True Blood on HBO. After an episode of True Blood during Season 1, I started thinking about how vampires feel about the humans they’ve loved because their humans will have died at some point. What if a vampire was really in love with his wife and she died? How would he deal with that? Would he move on? Would he mourn? What if he found someone new to love again? And that’s where the original story idea came from. Everything else grew from there.
3. Vampires and witches seem to be the most popular paranormal entities, why do you think that is the case?
Paranormal entities like vampires and witches are more than human. They have magic powers and vampires can live forever, things we mere mortals are fascinated by—probably because we can’t do them. There’s also something fun about using our imagination and pressing beyond the boundaries of what we think is possible. One of the things I learned writing Her Loving Husband’s Curse is that people have been telling vampire stories for as long as there have been people to tell stories, so this fascination with vampires is nothing new. People have always been trying to explain things that defy explanation, and supernatural creatures like witches and vampires are part of the way people have made sense of strange happenings.
4. How much research did you do on the Salem Witch Trials for the books? What was the most interesting thing you learned?
I knew virtually nothing about the Salem Witch Trials before I started writing the book. I remembered the trials were about prosecuting witches (which I learned years ago in school), but that was it. I had a lot of research to do, but I love learning about history so I enjoy doing the research. In fact, I get a lot of story ideas through what I learn from the research. I read a lot of books, took a lot of notes, checked a few Internet sites, and looked at a lot of maps of present-day Salem. For book two, I was able to take a trip to Salem and see it for myself, which I loved. I went to see some of the witch trial museums, as well as some of the sites from the trials. The most interesting thing I learned was that the people accused weren’t witches at all but regular people like you and me who were accused of witchcraft for mean-spirited reasons. When something is called the Salem Witch Trials, you expect the people involved to be witches, but they weren’t.
5. Past life regression plays a huge part in Sarah and James' story. Who do you think you were in a past life?
Great question! I had this discussion with a friend of mine who strongly believes in past-life regression. I had a funny thing happen to me where for years I thought I was part Native American from the Mohegan tribe. I was told when I was younger that I was part Mohegan, and I always connected with that side of my heritage more than any other. Then about a year ago I was researching my family tree and I discovered that in fact there’s nothing Native in my blood, and I was able to trace my family as far back as 1533. My friend suggested that maybe the reason I so strongly related to the Native Americans was because I was Native American in a previous life. Hey, you never know. I haven’t tried a past-life regression yet, but maybe one day…
6. Can you give us a little teaser of what to expect in book three?
It’s not that easy to talk about my books because so much depends on how the pieces of the plot tie together, so almost everything I want to say would be a spoiler, which I definitely don’t want to do! I will say that James and Sarah are separated (not by choice) and they each have their own problems to overcome in their separation. There’s a new historical background as well, but I don’t want to say what it is just yet. I hope readers will find the ending of the trilogy satisfying even if it’s not the ending they were expecting.
Thank you so much. I enjoyed answering these questions!
Book Two of The Loving Husband Trilogy
By Meredith Allard
How far will you go to protect the one you love?
Finally, after many long and lonely years, James Wentworth’s life is falling into place. Together with his wife, Sarah, the only woman he has ever loved, he has found the meaning behind her nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and now they are rebuilding the life they began together so long ago.
But the past is never far behind for the Wentworths. While Sarah is haunted by new visions, now about the baby she carried over three hundred years before, James is confronted with painful memories from his time with the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. Through it all, the persistent reporter Kenneth Hempel reappears, still determined to prove that the undead walk the earth. If Hempel succeeds in his quest, James and Sarah will suffer. Will the curse of the vampire prevent James and Sarah from living their happily ever after?
Book One of The Loving Husband Trilogy
By Meredith Allard
James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties with anyone. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on.
Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?
Part historical fiction, part romance, part paranormal fantasy, Her Dear & Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.
Meredith Allard is the Executive Editor of The Copperfield Review, an award-winning literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from California State University, Northridge. She has taught writing to students aged 10 to 60, and she has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction workshops at Learning Tree University, UNLV, and the Las Vegas Writers Conference. Her writing has appeared in journals such as The Paumanok Review, Moondance, Wild Mind,Muse Apprentice Guild, The Maxwell Digest, CarbLite, Writer’s Weekly, and ViewsHound. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.