In the historical romance The Rightful Heir (Love Inspired Historical), reporter Mary Lou made a promise to her father figure—that she would take care of his newspaper the Record after his passing. When Jared shows up to claim the business that was left to him, the woman he finds in charge surprises him. Will they quit sparring long enough to get to the bottom of a story they are investigating, and will they find something else entirely—perhaps even love? In this Q&A, author Angel Moore talks about researching her books online, gives us the scoop on her main characters, and explains how her faith informs her fiction…
Q: WHAT INSPIRED THE RIGHTFUL HEIR?
I like strong characters who struggle against seemingly insurmountable challenges and win. Mary Lou was a minor character in one scene in another book I’d written. When I was trying to decide what story to write next, she was a natural choice. A woman in a man’s world in the 19th century was bound to have a lot of opposition. All I needed was a good reason for Jared to come into her life and turn it upside down.
Q: HOW DID YOU RESEARCH THE HISTORICAL PERIOD WHERE YOUR BOOK TAKES PLACE?
I laughingly call myself the Google Queen. If it can be found, I’m going to find it. I’ve spent countless hours searching for just the right fashion, phrase, weather, laws, food, and even popular names from the time period for my characters. I’ve interviewed ranchers and brainstormed with other authors. The library can be a big help, too.
Q: WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MAIN CHARACTERS?
Mary Lou is editor, reporter, typesetter and printer of the Pine Haven Record. She’s confident, feisty and loyal. Being an orphan taught her to be compassionate, as well.
Jared is a rancher who talks like a school teacher. Well educated and determined to protect the legacy of his grandfather’s paper, he doesn’t want to hurt Mary Lou, but believes the paper is rightfully his.
Q: IN THE RIGHTFUL HEIR MARY LOU IS A REPORTER, WHICH MUST HAVE BEEN AN UNCOMMON JOB FOR A SINGLE YOUNG LADY AT THE TIME. WERE YOU ABLE TO FIND ANY FEMALES REPORTERS TO USE AS INSPIRATION FOR HER CHARACTER?
I came across an article about Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative reporters, who was born in the 19th century. Her life was fascinating, including a trip around the world in 72 days with only a handbag for luggage, and her undercover time, pretending to be a patient in an asylum to expose poor care. Laws were changed because of her work there. Reading about her independence and boldness helped me shape Mary Lou’s character.
Q: HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE HOW YOU APPROACH WRITING STORIES?
My faith is such a part of me that it flows naturally onto the page in all of my books. I write stories of faith and hope. My faith doesn’t keep me from having problems; it gets me through them. I want to share that with readers.
Q: WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES – OR BENEFITS – OF WRITING ROMANCE STORIES AS A CHRISTIAN?
One of the challenges can be that sometimes people don’t realize Christians can read romance. We fall in love just like everyone else. Another obstacle can be getting our stories into the hands of the readers. Many Christians don’t know there are books out there that will entertain – and inspire – them. The Love Inspired lines have broken through the barriers of distribution and are widely available. As a Christian, I’ve read the lines from the very beginning. I enjoy reading about Christians who struggle with real life problems and find their happily ever after.
Somewhere along the line, the differences between romance and sex got blurred by society. Writing about love and romance can be sweet and endearing. Remembering that God is the one who created us as loving creatures is important. I love hearing from readers who are comforted by the spiritual or emotional successes of my characters. The reader who wrote to share that Conveniently Wed, a story I’d written about a widow, had helped her with her personal grief inspires me to keep writing.
And to be relevant – even when I’m writing a story set in the 1880’s. Those people had the same problems and heartbreak that we face. Helping people see how God can get us through anything is my goal. There are a lot of choices for reading today. Writing something that can be shared with young and old alike, with no shame over the content, and honoring God gives me hope for the future.