Inspiration, Writing Angels and Research by Jessica James #ghoststory #historicalfiction #civilwarromance

The story behind Lacewood…

I often get asked how a story comes about, so I thought I’d share a little bit about the sometimes painful, always unpredictable, process with you.

The inspiration for this novel began very innocently. I started noticing sycamore trees while driving to work. Suddenly they were everywhere…along the road, dotting the creeks, stretching their ivory white limbs up to the sky in the distant fields. Most people would ignore this sudden fascination, but being an author, I knew it was the prodding of my writing angel (that’s what I call her)—and I don’t ignore the writing angel.

After doing some research, I discovered that sycamores have quite a history—all the way from the Bible through the American Civil War. I also stumbled across a reference that referred to sycamore trees as lacewood.

Lacewood sounded beautiful…like the title of a novel. This was wonderful news, because I usually struggle with a book’s title long after it is completed. The bad news was…that’s all I had.

Staring at a blank computer screen brought to mind the image of a house beyond a gate that was deserted for some reason. I decided the house must have secrets—but I had no idea what they were. From the beginning, I envisioned a portrait on the wall with a second portrait missing. Unfortunately my writing angel didn’t tell me who the portraits were of or why one was missing.

As I began to create the main character, I knew she also had secrets—but, of course, it would be too easy if I actually knew what they were. Right?

There are two others things I’d like to share with you. Number one, I’m a tree hugger—or more accurately, a tree toucher. Meaning, that when I see a grand, old tree, I have to touch it. I have to put my palm on the bark, close my eyes, and let its energy, its history, soak into me.

Number two, I bought a 200-year-old house when I was in my 30s, after searching for years for the right property. After doing some research, I discovered it was owned by a Revolutionary War captain, whose family was among the original founders of the town of Gettysburg and surrounding county.

Many years later, while visiting a local cemetery, I noticed the last name of the former owner listed as a middle name of one of my ancestors. I eventually learned that my grandmother’s kin married this man’s kin so that this wonderful house that took me so long to find, belonged to someone in my own past.

Random chance? Or grand design?

Lacewood gives readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what took place in an old neglected Southern mansion before two people from the modern world stumble across it and into each other.

The novel is a story of roots. Of home. Of belonging.

If walls could talk, would they share their ageless secrets of love and loss?

Title: Lacewood

Author: Jessica James

Publisher: Patriot Press

Release Date: June 18, 2019

Cover Designer: Historical Fiction Book Covers

Genre: Women’s Fiction with elements of Historical Fiction

Pages: 410

A love story that spans centuries…

Two people trying to escape their pasts find a connection through an old house—and fulfill a destiny through the secrets it shares. Part love story, part ghost story, Lacewood is a timeless novel about trusting in fate, letting of the past, and believing in things that can’t be seen.

MOVING TO A SMALL TOWN in Virginia is a big change for New York socialite Katie McCain. But when she stumbles across an abandoned 200-year-old mansion, she’s enthralled by the enduring beauty of the neglected estate—and captivated by the haunting portrait of a woman in mourning.

Purchasing the property on a whim, Katie attempts to fit in with the colorful characters in the town of New Hope, while trying to unravel the mystery of the “widow of Lacewood.” As she pieces together the previous owner’s heartrending story, Katie uncovers secrets the house has held for centuries, and discovers the key to coming to terms with her own sense of loss.

The past and present converge when hometown hero Will Durham returns and begins his own healing process by helping the “city girl” restore the place that holds so many memories. As the mystic web of destiny is woven, a love story that might have been lost forever is exposed, and a destiny that has been waiting in the shadows for centuries is fulfilled.

A powerful and poignant tale that vividly conveys the heartache of war, the tragedy of loss, and the fulfillment of destiny…even when souls are separated by centuries. Lacewood takes readers on a journey that connects the past with the present—and the present with eternity.

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Excerpt

Turning in a circle, Katie studied the room again. Faded wallpaper curled and peeled above the dusty wainscoting, but the walls themselves appeared sturdy. On the far side of the entryway, and dominating the wall, stood a mammoth fireplace with an ornately carved hearth. Her attention was immediately drawn to a painting of a woman in nineteenth century dress that hung prominently over the mantel.

“Who is she?”

The sheriff turned to the dusty, sun-bleached portrait in the heavy carved guilt frame. “One of the previous owners, they say.” He shrugged. “The family history kind of got lost with the house. Everyone around here calls her the Widow of Lacewood.”

Katie stood spellbound. The woman was clothed completely in black, but the magnificence of the gown gave the impression of sophistication and class. Her chin was slightly elevated as if to project strength, yet there was more than a hint of sorrow and pain in her eyes.

“She looks so sad.” Katie spoke without removing her gaze. “And so young. How could she be a widow?”

The sheriff had already started to walk away, but he turned back and glanced at the painting. “Not sure, but they say she never remarried.”

Katie’s heart suddenly struggled to beat. The anguish in the woman’s eyes kept her riveted. She could see the pain. Feel a heart ripped apart. Something was missing that could never be replaced. Katie had felt such loss before. In a way, that’s why she was here.

 Meet

Jessica James believes in honor, duty, and true love—and that’s what she writes about in her award-winning novels that span the ages from the Revolutionary War to modern day.

She is a three-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.

You can stalk Jessica here:

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Backlist:

Award-winning Historical Fiction

Shades of Gray

Noble Cause

Above and Beyond

Liberty and Destiny

Award-winning Suspense

Meant To Be

Deadline

Fine Line

Front Line

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