Saturday, August 25, 2018

Why I Write Historical Romance by A.M.Westerling

It’s pretty simple, actually – I love history and I love romance. The love of romance is a slam dunk – who doesn’t love a Happily Ever After?! But what is it about history that’s so appealing to me?

I suppose my appreciation of history started with the fact I grew up on the Alberta prairies where most of the cities and towns are new by historical standards and were built within the last 150 years. Certainly there are native artifacts ie teepee rings, buffalo jumps and petroglyphs and pictographs that date from thousands of years ago but other than that, there simply isn’t anything old here.

Then the summer I turned 15, my family and I visited Europe. My grandmother’s 80th birthday plus visiting other relatives in the Netherlands were the main reasons for the trip but my parents made sure we did a fair bit of touring. What an eye opening experience it turned out to be! I loved visiting the museums and old churches and it amazed me as I stood in these buildings that hundreds of years ago, people stood in the very same spot. What did they do? What did they think? How did they live their daily lives? I really felt a connection to the past.

We saw some glorious sights that trip like the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Sacre Couer in Paris, and the palace in Versailles. One of the places we visited that really stands out for me, though, was the Castle of Vianden in Luxembourg.

There’s an opening in the middle of the solar floor that looks down into the main hall. I remember standing there while visions of beautiful maidens and gallant knights on horse back swirled through my mind. How romantic!

But let’s face it, there’s a lot to be said for modern plumbing, central heating and modern health practices. (Me visit a dentist one hundred years ago? No thanks!) However, you can visit times past through the pages of a book or a website and imagine how it used to be. 
I still love visiting historical sites. My long suffering sweetie has come along with me while I’ve checked out fur trading forts like Fort St. James in northern B.C, Fort Whoop Up in southern Alberta, and the hills of Custer’s Last Stand in Montana. We’ve visited Brigham Young's summer house in St. George, Utah, driven to old pueblos in New Mexico and visited Indian ruins in Arizona. 

Custer's Last Stand, the hill where he died.
Brigham Young's summer home

We've visited places in Europe too numerous to name, although I will share a couple. We spent a lovely day wandering through the Viking village of Ribe plus spent two nights in Falsled Kro in Denmark, a 16th century inn (!) all in the name of research. Haha, now that was a tough job, let me tell you. *wink*

Falsled Kro

Researching my novels for me is a fun past time and I love how it gives me story ideas. For example, in A Heart Enslaved, the hero Thorvald plans to sell his slave Gisela and use the money to clear his name of a crime he didn’t commit. Through my research I discovered that in Viking society, criminals could pay restitution to their victims and therefore be cleared of any wrong doing. For The Countess’ Lucky Charm, I learned a bit about the North West Company and the early fur trade in Canada. In Her Proper Scoundrel, I discovered Bristol and its place in the slave trade. 

Find A Heart Enslaved HERE, Her Proper Scoundrel HERE and The Countess' Lucky Charm HERE  , all at your favorite online store.

Barkerville Beginnings was more personal for me as I’ve visited Barkerville a couple of times and I could really picture it in my head. As a living museum, the gold rush town really came to life and as I researched, I could place people and shops, hotels, etc. within the actual setting. 

Here I am on Barkerville's Main Street

Find Barkerville Beginnings at your favourite online store HERE.


  1. You've had some interesting travels and I love the photos.

  2. I admit I take way too many pictures, especially now that I have a digital camera and a smart phone.... :)