Fellow Wild Rose Press author, Doris Lemcke, is visiting today to share a glimpse at her historical romances, Passion’s Secret and Passion’s Spirit, the first two novels in her Passion’s Legacy Series from The Wild Rose Press.
Hi, Doris, so glad to have you visit here today. What inspired these stories?
The inspiration for this series stems from my love of historical fiction that began in the 4th grade. There was, of course, “Gone with the Wind”, that made me wild about romance and the War of the Rebellion. And through John Jakes’ Bi-Centennial series, “The Americans”, I fell in love with the Family Saga, and favorite authors too numerous to name.
Passion’s Secret was actually sparked by a pile of old books my grandfather bought at an unclaimed freight sale back in the ‘30s and I discovered in an old trunk in our garage. The book, “Seven and Nine Years among the Comanche and Apache” was a first-hand account of a husband and wife kidnapped and held prisoner in two different tribes. I put that together with my love for Scarlett O’Hara, and real stories of Yankees who partnered with Southern Planters after the Civil War (Or War of the Rebellion). And everyone loves hidden treasure. Voila
Passion’s Spirit was inspired by Passion’s Secret. The O’Grady family just wasn’t finished yet. Every secret needs to be told—eventually. To say the story practically wrote itself isn’t too far-fetched. I knew everything about Sean O’Grady already and learned so much from Elena. She is my favorite character in the series—so far.
2. What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
I’m busily working on Champagne Promises, Book three of the series featuring Camilla’s daughter, Lily O’Grady. Lily is a musical prodigy with the dream of becoming the next Lily Langtry in the theater. She falls under the spell of Richard Champagne, a theatrical con man running guns to Cuba on Eve of the Spanish American War. When Richard disappears after the Battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, she’s arrested and her only hope to escape back to Tampa is former Army doctor, Colin Winfield, the man who’s sworn to send Richard to the gallows.
As a new resident of Florida, I’m having fun researching the important roles this state played in Teddy Roosevelt’s “Splendid Little War.”
3. What are your writing goals for this year?
With a busy full-time job, I’m happy to write a book a year. Passion’s Spirit came out in 2011, followed by the prequel, Passion’s Secret in 2012. My plan is to complete Book three, Passion’s Promise for acceptance and release in 2013. I’m also shopping a contemporary/with historical elements, Women’s Fiction project set in my home state of Michigan called, “Legacy of Lies”.
4. How do you come up with ideas?
Like most authors, I find ideas in real life and history. I love reading old diaries and letters in faded leather-bound books hiding in the dusty corners of local libraries. For the Passion’s Legacy Series, it was my grandfather’s old books. For Legacy of Lies, it was his pocket watch, given to him by his Ojibwa Indian mother in 1903—and an offhand discussion of “unforgivable sins”.
I also keep of list of ideas for future books, inspired by song lyrics, letters, my own past, and even incidents and people I come across in my work as a Human Resources professional. The ideas just keep coming. It’s turning them into stories that take the time.
5. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Editing.Time, to-do lists, work stresses, obligations, all disappear as I become—everyone in my books. I love editing because the hard work has already been done. The characters are alive, the plot complete and the ending satisfying (I hope). Re-writing is the polishing cloth to a story, and the harder I rub, the more times I go over it, the more it shines, until I really can see myself in it, hear my voice saying what the story means. The hard part is to know when to stop polishing and when to send your baby out into the world.
6. Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I’m a pantser. Usually, I start with a character. I have to work from the beginning through to the end rather than scattered chapters, so I do a lot of re-writing while I’m writing. I also research as I go along and it’s a lot easier now. I find that if I have a solid beginning and some kind of ending in mind, everything in the middle takes care of itself and I’m constantly surprised how new characters come into the plot and at the new people who come into the plot and how others become develop in the story.
7. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
I love them all for different reasons, but have the most fun with the ones who need to grow the most, like Camilla and her son Sean. I love Patrick O’Grady because, well…he’s Patrick. So far in the series, I’m most proud of Elena Santiago in Passion’s Spirit. A young girl of mixed race who travels across a hostile country out of love for her guardian, she is the wisest, most spiritual of my characters—with only one nearly fatal flaw. We may see more of her later.
8. How do you balance writing and everyday life?
My job as a Human Resources professional that demands about 60 hours a week of my attention, but I’ve always worked best under a deadline. My mind is very good at being in two worlds (fictional and real) at once. I originally wrote Passion’s Secret while running a grocery store in Michigan, and selling real estate, and Passion’s Spirit while selling moving services and going to night school. I’m inspired by the quote, “Energy flows where the attention goes”. Even during the years when the time to write was limited, I kept the dream alive, taking a notebook with me to work, even if I never touched it. Never quitting is, and always has been the key to my success.
9. Where is your favorite place in the world?
It may sound cliché but my favorite place is always “home”. We’ve move 14 times in our 42 year marriage, three of them inter-state moves. I’m not a traveler and need to have all my “stuff” around me in order to feel “at home”. So when I have time off, I like to sit in my favorite chair, look at my favorite books, have a drink, nap and simply “chill”. What place could be better than that?
10. What do you like to read?
For my work and my own personal growth, I read a lot of non-fiction relating to interpersonal relationships and corporate business dynamics (great for building plots too). For fun, I love to learn from historical or period fiction of any kind, but favor American settings and stories.
11. Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My parents were “doers”, not readers, constantly working. Reading was reserved for the times when there was nothing else to do—which was rare. Then one summer I discovered “Gone with the Wind”. The rest is history.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. I LOVE cruising hobby stores and fabric stores. Roaming the isles stocked with the raw material for original art projects relaxes and inspires me. And during stressful times, I love to cut up pieces of fabric and sew them back together again into lap quilts. Like a story, no two are ever the same.
2. Another favorite pastime is just plain sitting in my yard, looking at the lake. I feel a child-like rush of every time a fish jumps or an elegant egret or heron lands near me. The musical splash of the fountain, sound of the hawk screeching from an old Georgia pine tree and the light breeze make me wonder why I waited so long to move to Florida. It is indeed paradise, the ideal place for a writer.
3. And then there’s writing books.
The Series: One man’s unforgivable sin and one woman’s sacrifice in the name of love haunt generations of Georgia’s founding, Langesford family. From the heart of New Orleans’ Vieux Carré, to Georgia’s rich cotton fields, New Mexico’s sacred Taos Pueblos, and into the jungles of Cuba, this amazing family takes life and love to the limit …and never looks back.
Book One – Passion’s Secret
1866 -Langesford Plantation – Georgia
She’d never give in…Camilla Langesford has no intention of letting her ailing father’s new Yankee partner steal their plantation. But Patrick O’Grady isn’t like other carpetbaggers. His pewter-gray eyes speak of a dangerous past. And his soul-searing kisses melt her frozen heart—until a deadly secret shatters them both.
He’d never give up…Langesford Plantation is the former Pinkerton agent’s last chance to solve a mystery that’s haunted him for four years. But he didn’t plan on the chestnut-haired virgin with smoldering, green eyes and a fiery temper, who dogs his every step. And after a secret tryst in a hot-spring grotto, he discovers a treasure worth more than a cache of gold bars—until one night changes everything.
Patrick talked to her from the other end of the pool as he bathed, his deep voice young and carefree. “I’ve heard of hot spring pools, but never thought I’d enjoy one in private with a beautiful woman washing my clothes,” he chuckled.
“Just your shirt, Mr. O’Grady, and this is an emergency situation.” But Camilla couldn’t forget the sight of his bare chest, the corded muscles defining his strong arms, or his soft voice when he’d called her beautiful. Suddenly, she ached to reach out to something, or someone.
But certainly not a Yankee! She shouldn’t have brought him to her secret haven where she could lay on the fresh grass and dream of far away places. Now, the position of the sun told her it was well past luncheon.
“You better hurry,” she called. “Or we’ll be late and my honor will be severely compromised.”
“We wouldn’t want to do that, would we Camilla?” warmed her ear, and her neck tingled from the caress of his breath. She turned to meet his smoldering gray gaze and wide smile. A heartbeat later, she was in his arms, her palms resting against the still-damp, curling hairs on his chest.
Her heartbeat quickened at the feel of his warm, moist skin against her fingers, his strong thighs pressing against hers through the thin, cotton dress. And when he kissed her, his lips suckled hers, top lip first, then the bottom, while his tongue tickled them into a smile.
She knew she should stop him, but the heat that spread though her body wouldn’t be denied. She’d never felt anything so…right. With her eyes closed, the curves of her body molding against the sharp angles of his, her hands slid up the rugged landscape of his chest and her arms wrapped around his broad, sinewy shoulders. Then her lips parted to taste him.
Book Two – Passion’s Spirit
Untamed Hearts, Worlds Apart
1892 Santa Fe, New Mexico
Raised by Santa Fe missionaries, half-Apache orphan Elena Santiago has vowed to avenge their murders the Apache way. But first, she must masquerade as a white woman to deliver a dangerous message across the country, into the land of her enemies. But more dangerous than the warning she carries, is her heart’s response to the untamed spirit behind Sean O’Grady’s smoky grey eyes in a body that reminds her more of an Apache warrior than a soft, white “gentleman”.
Sean O’Grady has always dreamed of exploring the Wild West, but at 25, he’s put aside his dreams to run his family’s Georgia plantation and wed his neighbor. When Elena arrives looking and speaking more like a Spanish lady than an Indian mission girl, he wonders if she’s really who she say she is. Is she a virgin or a vixen? the question taunts him as he struggles with feelings he’s never felt for a woman before.
Feelings that could get them both killed.
When Sean pulled away, Elena looked into his eyes wondering, is this what love feels like, or is it only lust? She decided that nothing as beautiful as the moment they’d just shared could be evil. But it could never be love, either. She had felt his passion press against her and ached for him to fill her. Now she was grateful that he hadn’t. They were from different worlds that still warred against with each other. He could never survive in her world and she refused to live in his.
As if he read her thoughts, he leaned into her, whispering so close to her ear that it could have been a kiss, “Why can’t you be Mary Louise? And I the Apache brave who will eventually claim you?” Then he turned to stare at the stream that patiently followed the course nature had carved out for it.
The question echoed in Elena’s mind. For a moment, his heart had beat to the rhythm of hers. The curves of her body had melted into the angles of his as they breathed the same breath and tasted each other’s souls. For a moment, they had truly been one body and one soul.
Now separated, the chilly breeze that stirred the pine needles at their feet told her that when she was with him, even angry, she was whole. And though he changed his moods faster than the mountain gods and was promised to marry a weak and silly white woman, part of her would always belong to this loco Gringo.
She also turned her gaze toward the river. “We can only be who we are.”
Bio: A Michigan native, Doris’ love for Historical Romance dates back to her first viewing of Gone With the Wind as a child. While running a rural grocery store and selling real estate in tiny Omer, Michigan her first book was published by Zebra Books. She holds a certificate from the Newspaper Institute of America and an MSA in Business Administration. She’s been a member of RWA since 2000 and has achieved recognition in several chapter contests. She and her husband John are recent transplants to sunny Southwest Florida, where Doris is a member of the Southwest Florida Romance Writers (SWFRW) chapter of RWA.