What made you interested in writing Christian Historical Fiction?
Aaron has loved this genre since reading Gilbert Morris’s The Honorable Imposter when it first released. Diane grew up reading Regency stories and Grace Livingston Hill. We just combined these loves into a shared interest.
Do you write any other genres?
While all of our co-written works are historical, Diane’s first published work was a contemporary novella, “Santa’s Prayer,” in the collection, A Connecticut Christmas. We do have stories lurking in the backs of our minds that are in other genres, and we hope to tell them someday.
Are there any other Christian Historical Fiction authors that you think your readers would enjoy?
Oh my, there are so many we love. Tracie Peterson is of course fantastic. We love Janet Lee Barton, Rhonda Gibson, and Sylvia Barnes, also. To mention a couple of newer ones that your readers may not be familiar with…watch for Erica Vetsch and Marcia Gruver. Erica’s characters jump off the page, and Marcia has a very distinct and fresh voice for this genre.
Are there bits and pieces that were cut in editing that you might ever share with your readers?
Our editor, Becky Fish, is fantastic and we trust her expertise. Anything she deletes from our works needs to stay that way…
How would you relate your writing experience and research to some Creative Madness?
Actually we are very methodical in our writing approach. We plan our stories out in a rough outline before writing. We know where our stories and characters are going. The only thing we might relate in this way is through our spiritual messages. Sometimes we see that God through the Spirit has been working in us to bring out a message we had not originally intended, and we are thankful for these times of inspiration from Him!
What is something that you have never told anyone in an author interview?
When eating chocolate, we both prefer dark chocolate.
How do we relate to God and how do we see His relating to us? Do we see Him as just an authority figure we try to please or our Heavenly Father who wants to draw us to Him in salvation and hold us in a loving relationship?
Instead of showing commerce on the Mississippi River, it’s showing the struggle between the North and the South as it is played out on the river. The spiritual issues dealt with in Lily are characters trying to reconcile with their earthly fathers in conjunction with their Heavenly Father. In Camellia the characters are seeking to discover God’s will for their lives and how to use the talents He gave them in ministering to others for Him.
What type of research did you have to do for Camellia?
We did a lot of research about the Civil War, particularly the importance of the Mississippi River during that time period. We looked into all the battles that took place on or near the river, specifically the siege at Vicksburg.
This book is set during the time of the Civil War. What action scenes will readers experience?
There are so many action scenes we could not tell you all of them. The book starts with a battle in Boonville, Missouri, told by the hero. The heroine has to escape New Orleans after it is captured by the Union. The hero is nearly killed during the naval battle near Memphis, Tennessee. The characters’ lives are at risk each time they take to the river.
How is the main character in Camellia different from the main character in Lily?
Lily loves the river and is not interested in balls, fashions, or anything that typically concerned ladies of that time. Even though Lily has her own spiritual struggles, from the beginning, she does want to follow God’s will. Camellia is almost exactly the opposite. She is only concerned about balls, parties, a rich husband, and having the finest plantation. God is not a part of her daily thoughts and decisions—spirituality is for Sunday when one attends church.
Will any of the characters from the first book in the series be in this second installment?
Yes, almost everyone we introduced will appear in Camellia since it deals with the same family, less than two years after the end of Lily.
Please, please tell us about your next planned project…
Our current series chronicles the riverboat era in the 1800s. Book one, Lily, begins the story right before the Civil War. Camellia, book two, continues the saga of this family through the Civil War years. It is complete and will release around December 1, 2012. The final book of the series, Jasmine, will pick up with the showboat era after the War. We are currently writing this one, and it is scheduled to release around June 1, 2013.
Tell us about your blog and participation in other blogs…
Diane T. Ashley, a “town girl” born and raised in Mississippi, has worked more than twenty years for the House of Representatives. She rediscovered a thirst for writing, was led to a class taught by Aaron McCarver, and became a founding member of the Bards of Faith.
Aaron McCarver is a transplanted Mississippian who was raised in the mountains near Dunlap, Tennessee. He loves his jobs of teaching at Belhaven University and editing for Barbour Publishing and Summerside Press. A member of ACFW, he is coauthor with Gilbert Morris of the bestselling series, The Spirit of Appalachia. He now coauthors with Diane Ashley on several historical series.