Margaret Mitchell’s Long Shadow

I didn’t mean to write an American Civil War romance. Indeed, I didn’t mean to write a historical romance at all. My first book was a contemporary and so was my third. If I had sat down and decided to write something historical, surely I would have chosen another period, a more commercially-viable one, than I did. A nice Regency involving a brooding duke perhaps. (And for the record, I love a good Regency with a brooding duke as much as the next girl. In fact, probably more than the next girl.)

But writing Brave in Heart (which will be out in 2.5 weeks, if I hadn’t mentioned it lately) just sort of happened. I wanted to write a novella to experiment with different plotting, but the subject unfurled without consulting me. The first 20,000 words appeared very quickly — honestly, I could really use that sort of inspiration with the two creative writing projects sitting on my harddrive now, not to mention my still-unfinished dissertation — though the second half was more of a march. It was only when I had finished that I realize what I had done, which was to enter a very specific subgenre and one that has an almost inescapable Ur-text.

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