Christian author Lisa M. Prysock writes historical romance and contemporary romance books. Many of her books have fun, interesting characters and they often shine a spotlight on influential evangelicals in history. Her historical romance Lottie’s True Love is the first book in her Brides of Pelican Rapids series: Southern belle Miss Charlotte Kennedy has been waiting for her fiancé to return from the Civil War since it ended three years ago. Deciding to move on with her life, she contacts a mail-order bride agency hoping for a suitable match. The last thing Lottie expects is to be matched with a handsome Yankee, Captain Caleb Brooks. When her fiance turns up alive, Caleb has to enlist the help of some unlikely company to bring his bride safely home again. In this interview, Lisa talks to FamilyFiction about what inspired the story, explains how she does her historical research, and reveals the hope behind the book.
What inspired the story in Lottie’s True Love?
I love mail-order bride and matchmaker stories in historical settings and couldn’t help but noticed many readers do as well. I wanted to combine the two ideas so readers could enjoy both matchmaker and mail-order themes in a series that would leave lots of room for future books. What if a matchmaker brought brides and grooms together, but they were also able to correspond by mail for a time before meeting each other?
I’m also in love with the Victorian Era. I wanted to see lots of hats and eventually bustles on the covers of these books. During the Civil War Era, many hats were small. Bustles and big hats became popular after the war in the 1870s. This gave me an era to focus on as a starting point.
My husband helped me decide on a town. I wanted a small town setting in Minnesota, my birthplace state. I studied a map of Minnesota for days, looking over all of the towns for exactly the right one. My husband would come home from work and I’d ask him to vote on all of my favorite town names. We settled on Pelican Rapids because I loved the way the name sounded and found rich history was available about the town.
Since I’d also been writing a number of Civil War and Antebellum Era stories, I brainstormed with an author friend, Danni Roan, to develop the concept into a multi-author series. We came up with the idea that the brides would generally be escaping the devastation of the south, post-Civil War. From there, we decided the brides would all come through the town of Pelican Rapids to meet the matchmaker and then settle in the area or move to other heartland states once they were married.
What were your goals writing Lottie’s True Love?
My main goal about these novels is to keep them Christ-centered, heartwarming, romantic, lighthearted, interesting, filled with humor, well-crafted, as historically accurate as possible, and suspenseful.
What does it take to research the period where and when your novel takes place?
Because the town of Pelican Rapids has so much history available on its own website, our job as authors in the series has been made much easier. However, one does have to have a general knowledge of the Civil War Era, the Pioneer Era, and the Victorian Era to do the series justice.
It also helps to research characters from that time period. In Lottie’s True Love, General Ulysses Grant makes an appearance. On the cusp of running as a candidate for President, he was a fun character to write about in the story. I had to put myself into his shoes. What would he have said and done if he’d encountered the situation in my fictional storyline in real life? Readers have told me they really love his character and lines in the book.
What’s an example of how your storytelling is impacted by your Christian faith?
I think the Lord has given me a great deal of joy, an active imagination, and a passion for history. It shows up in many of my stories in the form of humor and happy endings. He’s also rescued me from any number of situations in real life, and I love to have grand rescues in my stories that show how faithful the Lord is to those who love Him. I’m also committed to sharing how wonderful He is in my novels. Readers will find a few Bible verses do make their way into my books, and many characters with the same level of passion for faith in the Lord as I carry in my own heart.
What do you want readers to take away after reading this novel?
It is my hope that readers will feel a sense of deep wonder and joy for the Lord and the life He has given us. I also hope they find encouragement on the journey of following Christ. Not only do I want my stories to be entertaining, but uplifting, heartwarming, and inspirational. I try to write realistic stories with humor, faith, and interesting storylines while keeping them sweet and generally wholesome.
Visit Lisa Prysock’s author page:
Lottie’s True Love
Brides of Pelican Rapids #1
Lisa M. Prysock
Buy the book! (affiliate link)