Friday, September 13, 2013

Guest Post: Meredith Allard, author of Her Dear & Loving Husband

Today I have Meredith Allard here discussing the wicked topic about Researching the Salem Witch Trials. Meredith's Her Dear & Loving Husband is on tour this month check out the details on this magical paranormal love story. Please welcome Meredith!

Researching the Salem Witch Trials 
Leave it to me to decide to write paranormal/romance/historical novels—The Loving Husband Trilabiogy—that were set in a New England town I had never been to.  In fact, I decided to set the stories in Salem, Massachusetts by accident.  When deciding on a setting, I stayed away from the Pacific Northwest and Louisiana in the U.S. since other well-known literary vampires live there.  Then I decided that if I wasn’t going Northwest how about Northeast?  I pulled up a map of the U.S., looked at the Northeast, saw Massachusetts, and there in a little dot near Boston was Salem.  And I knew I found the location I had been looking for.

Being the historical fiction person I am, when I settled on Salem as my location I knew I had to incorporate the Salem Witch Trials somehow.  I did a few Internet searches and read some general information.  Then I went to my local university library at UNLV and found books about the witch hunts.  One of the most important books I found about the era, one that helped me a lot with understanding the era, was The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege by Marilynne K. Roach.  When I’m researching for a historical novel, I take a lot of notes, and I take them by hand because I absorb the information better that way. While I’m taking notes I imagine my characters in that time and place so I could get some sense of what would happen to them in that era.  What would a conversation between James and his father look like in 1692?  How would Elizabeth feel when the constable showed up at her door ready to arrest her as a witch during the hunts?  As I write the scenes I have my notes right next to me so if I need to recheck some facts the information is handy.

I hadn’t visited Salem when I wrote Book One in the trilogy, Her Dear & Loving Husband. But by the time I started writing Book Two, Her Loving Husband’s Curse, I thought it was time I saw the town for myself.  I’m so glad I went. Being in Salem gave me an understanding of the place I couldn’t get over the Internet. It’s a small, walkable place, Salem, but being there gave me extra insights—a Salem FYI. There is a quietness, a calm in Salem that I can’t associate with any other place I’ve been.  It might be a New England thing, or a Massachusetts thing, or a seaside thing. But people are different there. They smile at you.  Say hello.  The coastline along the bay is beautiful, scenic, the bay stretching out into the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, the trees along the coast adding green to the blue of the water. There are the little boats chugging and bobbing in the waves, caught in the mud at low tide. Those are things I wouldn’t have been able to write about without visiting Salem. 

One of the reasons I love writing historical fiction is because I enjoy the research. I’m fascinated by history, the Salem Witch Trials in particular, and researching is my opportunity to learn about these important times in more depth. 

About Meredith Allard
Meredith Allard has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction workshops at Learning Tree University, UNLV, and the Las Vegas Writers Conference. Her short fiction and articles have appeared in journals such as The Paumanok Review, Wild Mind, Moondance, Muse Apprentice Guild, The Maxwell Digest, CarbLite, Writer's Weekly, and ViewsHound. She is the author of the Loving Husband Trilogy, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother's Battle (Copperfield Press). She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at

Find Meredith on Facebook Twitter & Google+

About Her Dear & Loving Husband

James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties with anyone. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on.
Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Do vampires and witches live in Salem? Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?

Part historical fiction, part romance, part paranormal fantasy, Her Dear and Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.

Get your copy on Amazon here!  Want to read an excerpt? Click here!

Thanks for stopping by!

Mina B.


Michelle Wallace said...

It makes sense to actually visit a place if you are writing about it. You get a chance to soak in the atmosphere... experience it 'in the moment'...
I saw the word Trilabiogy? Off to visit Google...
Writer In Transit

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Obviously the Salem of today is different from back then. Cool you got to explore the town.
Congratulations and good luck, Meredith!

Meredith Allard said...

I agree, Michelle. It does make sense to visit the place you're writing about. I loved being in Salem. And you're right, Alex. Salem is very different now. They have Pioneer Village near the shore in Salem with reconstructions of houses the way they would have looked in colonial times, so that helped a lot. Thank you for your comments!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Mina & Meredith,
I have a lot of admiration for people who write historical anything. I'd get stuck with the research and forget to write the book.

Mark Murata said...

I looked at The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege in a bookstore. It's a massive tome, and reading the entries out of context, most of them seem rather banal. It's a matter of knowing that these entries are building up to something.