Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Behind the Scenes of "Surprised By Love"

Solid Research is Historical Fiction Author Sandra Merville Hart's Hallmark. As she is one of the Nine authors in the Buckeye Christian Fiction Anthology 2018, I asked her to give us a glimpse into her research and crafting of the story, Surprised by Love.  
Better Yet, Visit All Around Books in 
Troy, Ohio to meet Sandra and other Authors from 
the Buckeye Christian Fiction Anthology 2018
On Saturday, October 6th!

Researching the Flood of 1913 for Surprised by Love
by Sandra Merville Hart

A school event for my daughter took us to Troy. The quaint city captivated me from the first visit. It felt like something ought to happen there—and that was before I was writing!
A few years later, fellow authors discussed a novella collection set in Ohio locations. My mind raced back to Troy. What could I write about? My husband and I drove there on a mission of discovery.
While at the Museum of Troy History, I learned about a terrible flood that displaced many Troy citizens and even took the lives of a few. The way the townspeople pulled together to meet the tragedy inspired me and led to the writing of this story.
I purchased Images of America: Troy and the Great Flood of 1913 to aid in my research. Then we walked around the town square, visiting shops. We discovered a bookstore near the square. Around About Books is a treasure. In fact, my fellow authors in this book will participate in a booksigning event there on October 6th—so this has become such a special place to me.
We ate at a lovely diner, K’s Hamburger Shop, that has been on Troy’s Main Street since 1935. My story is set in 1913 so it wasn’t there during the flood, but the whole place gave me a feeling of historic nostalgia. 
After reading the book and doing online research, I was ready to write the story. My imagination soared from all the information I’d learned—the first draft of the novella, Surprised by Love, was written in two weeks! That remains the record for me.
Researching The Flood of 1913—Ohio’s greatest natural disaster—inspired me to write the story. Visiting the location, museums, shops, and diners added atmosphere to my story. Yet without written research sources about the flood, I couldn’t have added wonderful historical details that add depth to the story.
Research is an integral part of writing historical novels.

Sandra’s bio: Award-winning author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover little-known, yet fascinating facts about our American history to include in her stories. Her debut Civil War Romance, A Stranger on My Land was a IRCA Finalist 2015. A Rebel in My House, set during the Battle of Gettysburg, won the 2018 Silver Illumination Award and second place in 2018 FHL Readers' Choice Award. A Musket in My Hands, where two sisters join the Confederate army with the men they love, releases November of 2018. Her novella, Surprised by Love in “From the Lake to the River” released in September of 2018. Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” releases in August of 2019.

Sandra would also love to connect with readers on:

Here’s a blurb about Surprised by Love:
Lottie’s feelings for an old school crush blossom again during the worst flood her town has endured in years.

Lottie shoulders the burden for her siblings after their mother’s death. Her seventeen-year-old brother’s disobedience troubles her, especially since she also cares for the boarders in their home. When the flooding river invades not only the town of Troy but also her home, Lottie and her family need to be rescued. 

Desperate circumstances throw Lottie and Joe, her schoolgirl crush, together. Can tragedy unite the couple to make her long-buried dream of winning his love come true?

Troy Today


  1. Sandra I love little towns and I could see Troy through your words. I also love knowing historical background. Though I’m currently writing contemporary I have a historical romance that God put on my heart several years ago and he reminded me of that on Tuesday when I needed to hear from Him.

    Thanks for sharing and best wishes for your upcoming event!

  2. Thank you, Daphne! Yes, I love to highlight small cities and towns in my stories. How fun that you will write a historical romance next! Writing is a lot of work, isn't it? Good luck with writing both novels!

  3. What a great post. I love digging into the history of the places we visit. Sometimes a town strikes a special chord, doesn't it? That happened to me in Arizona and I ended up writing a story about The Harvey Girls. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Linda for stopping by! There is indeed something special about small towns...ala Mayberry!

  4. That's it exactly. I wrote my story several years after the first visit.


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