My third novel, Lovelier than Daylight, is based on the Westerville Whiskey Wars of the 1870s.
I'm working on it right now, and it will be released in November 2012.
Because the novel is about temperance crusaders fighting a saloon (among other things), it must inevitably deal with the subject of alcoholic beverages and their abuses.
A couple of years ago, I told my dad that I had some concerns about writing this novel, even though it was part of my series proposal.
"How can you not want to write a novel about people blowing up a saloon?" he asked.
"Because handling the alcohol issue is going to be tricky," I said. "People have very strong feelings about it. But I don't write polemics, and I'm not going to portray the temperance crusaders as completely right and the saloon owner as completely in the wrong. I'm going to show all sides of the issue."
After all, I thought, this is a real story from history, and trying to paint it as a black-and-white situation would do a grave disservice to the actual historical account. In real life, it's often hard to tell the heroes from the villains, and the Westerville Whiskey Wars are particularly ambiguous in that respect.
Flash forward two years. Now that I'm embarking on the edits for this novel, I'm really enjoying the complexity of the novel's depiction of alcohol and the conflict surrounding the saloon.
CBA novels have a reputation for being preachy, which is sometimes deserved and sometimes not. More and more, CBA novelists are developing the craft and finesse to address even controversial topics in non-preachy ways. In fact, when a novel deals with a hot button topic, it is even MORE important to write it with a very light hand.
If you want to see the beautiful cover for this third novel, it will receive its grand unveiling at my Facebook party this Tuesday night, February 28th, at 5pm Pacific, 6pm Mountain, 7pm Central, 8pm Eastern! Just click on my author page and we'll be having all kinds of fun conversations, plus GIVEAWAYS! An Ipod Nano and a Downton Abbey prize pack could be yours, plus gift certificates and free books.
Facebook Author Page for party Tuesday night!
Question for you: do you prefer historical novels to address complex real-life issues about morality and conduct, or would you prefer a lighter read that's more of a nostalgic portrait of a historical era?