20 Questions About “Lighthouse Loyalty” (Part 2)

Continuing and finishing the “interview” started last week, sharing about my 2017 historical fiction novel, Lighthouse Loyalty, as we wrap up this series of author’s notes. I hope you’ll chime in with your own opinions about the book or your own writing in the comments!

Now, let’s finish this “interview”…

11. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

That’s a hard question. I have a lot of favorites. Perhaps the final scene and lines are some of the most memorable, though. I was struggling with the plot and story, but one night I had an idea, scribbled down the scene and knew that in the whole messy project (at that moment) I had a little gem that I had to use. With the ending thoughts written and tucked away, it was a little motivation to finish, and it was the first time I’d written an ending while still working on the middle of the story.

12. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

Re-writing sometimes has to happen. Don’t be afraid of it.

Along with that, though, write a strong plot outline.

13. Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?

Three things I’d definitely like readers to take-away:

  • An interest in American lighthouses and maritime history
  • Encouragement to appreciate the values of hard-work, courage, and loyalty
  • To see how families made a difference throughout history

14. How long did it take you write Lighthouse Loyalty?

Two years.

Definitely longer than I wanted it to. Throughout the process, I got distracted by some real life situations which slowed my creative writing process. You can read more about the writing process of Lighthouse Loyalty HERE.

15. When did you know you would write this novel?

In the spring of 2015. Blue, Gray & Crimson was in the publishing process, and Robert Munson shared about his search for a lighthouse historical fiction novel to highlight American lighthouses, keepers, and families. By autumn of that year, I definitely knew I would write the book.

16. Who did you dedicate Lighthouse Loyalty to?

My grandmothers. Grandma Barbara and Grandma Katherine.

I spent several days at the beach with Grandma Katherine and jotted down ideas that eventually appeared in the book while sitting with her by the waves. She loves the beach and some of my best memories from childhood include trips to the seashore with her!

Grandma Barbara knew quite a bit about Lighthouse Loyalty because we talked about it quite frequently. She wasn’t in good health while I was writing this novel; I spent lots of time with her, and I’d make her promise to keep it a secret and tell her about the book. Sadly, she passed away just a couple months before the book published, but I’m glad I have good memories of sharing parts of the writing process with her during our conversations.

17. What did you edit out of this book?

I had written little vignettes about Uncle Richard. These sections were supposed to go between the chapters and give clues about his life before he arrived at the lighthouse. The writing was nice and slightly modern in style, but it just wasn’t working with the rest of the story. So, these sections got edited out, and some of the details were worked into the narrative – one way or another.

18. If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

(Laughs) I don’t know if I’d call writing a “career” yet, but hopefully soon! If I stayed single and stayed in the history field of study, I think it would be really neat to be a historic tour guide or tour host. Preferably at historic sites or battlefields.

19. This is your third book. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Each book stands alone. There’s not a common character or a series at this point. Someday, I might write a historical fiction series, but even that series will be stand-alone and won’t have ties to the previously written books.

Common denominators do exist in my historical fiction, though. It’s always family-friendly. It’s always a book I actually want to read.

20. What are your future project(s)?

When this blog post publishes, I’ll be in Virginia, doing research for a non-fiction book and new historical fiction. I’m very excited about the non-fiction book; it focuses on the Battle of New Market in the Shenandoah Valley in May 1864.

There might be a historical fiction short story collection coming soon at Gazette665 and definitely some more novels coming up in the future!

And that’s the wrap-up of the interview and the four month series Authors Notes on Lighthouse Loyalty. It’s been fun to share historical notes and details behind this historical novel and I hope you’ve enjoyed the Wednesday blog series.

And coming join us next week for some photos and historical stories discovered on a research trip to Virginia and Maryland!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. I’d love to hear which character in Lighthouse Loyalty is your favorite?

About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, editor, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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