Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A Generation Touched by Fire

By Lorrie Farrelly

Touched by fire was Oliver Wendell Holmes’ description of the three million men – many of them scarcely more than boys – who fought in the War Between the States. Over 600,000 of them would die; nearly all those who survived found their lives changed forever. At the war’s end, veterans poured into the west; some sought adventure, some sought fortune, some wanted only to outrun their demons and find a reason to go on living. Most could scarcely remember peace; many had no choice but to try to start over.

I’ve always been interested in the Civil War, and I love Westerns. My dad used to say he’d always dreamed of riding shotgun with Wild Bill Hickok. True, Wild Bill was a bit before his time, but those Old West stories lived vividly in his imagination, as they do in mine.

Sorting through a box of old family papers, I came across two I’d never seen before. One was a parole pass, and the other, an oath of allegiance. Both had been signed in 1865 by my great-grandfather, William McClain, who had fought in the 42nd Georgia Infantry. In signing, he swore he would never again bear arms against the United States, and he would abide by all new laws, including the emancipation of slaves, So Help Him God. In return, he would be paroled (as a prisoner of war) to go home – assuming he still had any home.

I stared at that young man’s signature for a long time. I had so many questions: Why had he fought for a new country founded on terrible injustice? Had he feared for his home and family? Had he expected excitement and glory? And what had he felt as he signed those papers? Humiliation? Bitterness? Exhaustion? Relief? What would he make of his life now?

And there it was: the inspiration for Western historical romance Terms of Surrender, the story of former Confederate cavalry Captain Michael Cantrell, a young man who has lost everyone and everything he loved. He roams the Western frontier, seeking peace and some purpose to his life. When a violent encounter in Wyoming Territory lands him in the middle of Annie Devlin's war, Cantrell chooses to make a stand with the young rancher, testing the limits of his courage, his mettle – and his passion.

From Readers’ Favorite: “Filled with sweet emotion, but also heart wrenching hurt, Terms of Surrender is exactly why I am such a fan of historical fiction! It…had my emotions all over the place. From the harshness of the West, to the birth of a new baby. Tenderness at one turn, but heartbreak could be right around the corner. The storytelling is done with such amazing clarity that I found myself easily transported into the characters’ lives…each literally jumps off the pages…Great characters, a touching romance with a bit of sizzle, and a plot that provides danger and suspense make Terms of Surrender a stand out historical romance.”

Lorrie Farrelly is the author of a Western historical romance trilogy, contemporary romantic suspense novels, and sci fi/paranomal romantic suspense novels. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Northwestern University, she's been a Renaissance nominee for Teacher of the Year, a ranch hand at Disneyland’s Circle D Ranch, and a “Jeopardy!” television quiz show champion. Her novels have earned Reader’s Favorite 5 Star Awards, and Terms of Surrender is an Orange Rose Award finalist. Lorrie and her family live in Southern California.

Lorrie’s books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks on Amazon and YouTube.


Heidiwriter said...

It's always fascinating to learn where the inspiration for novels comes from. Thanks for sharing your experience, Lorrie!

Mary E. Trimble said...

What an intriguing story! It sure makes me want to read the book.

Lorrie Farrelly said...

Thank you! Of all my novels, this is truly the one closest to my heart!

Marsha Ward said...

What a poignant inspiration for a novel! Thanks for sharing this, Lorrie. I'm heading over to Amazon now.

Velda Brotherton said...

Just my kind of story. I shared it to FB and will definitely get the book. Love your family story that inspired this book.