Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Whatcha Talkin' About Willis? Only Ginger Simpson Can Explain.

Happy New Year, Everyone!  As we start another attempt at dieting, saving money or whatever resolutions you made, I've decided that better promotion of my work is going to be my goal...so, to that end, I'm sharing a post from my own blog with you.  I love Ellie and Ty and the tension they create between themselves.  I hope you'll want to find out more...in the meantime, here's a little history:

With the help of Books We Love, I decided to re-release the book that was voted best historical romance of 2009 by Love Romance Cafe.  What debuted as Sparta Rose has now become Ellie's Legacy because I definitely thought the story was worth an attempt to garner more readership.  The one thing that surprised me the most when I promoted the book as a "Western" historical romance, was finding out that anything on the east side of the Mississippi river is not considered a western.  Dang!

But then, I was recently reading this wonderful book The Politically Incorrect Guide to The South (and Why It Will Rise Again) by Clint Johnson, and I pretty much felt vindicated in having my story take place in Tennessee and still consider Ellie's Legacy a western-themed novel.

Now please note that all of my references here are attributed to Mr. Johnson who, I must say, wrote a very compelling and moving history of the South.  I learned a lot from this book, especially discovering that the western expansion of the United States is due largely to 140 southerners who had "adopted" God's will that the United States spread from ocean to ocean.  The period of time was between 1830 and 1850, and of the six presidents who served during this period, five were from the south.  The following details were provided by Mr. Johnson's research:

In the mid 1840s - Georgia-born John C. Fremont and Kentucky-born Kit Carson headed explorations of the west, mapping and exploring routes to encourage settlers to travel of California and Oregon.

The Mexican War (1846-1848) was led by Virginia-born generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott.  The president at the time was James K. Polk who hailed from North Carolina and Tennessee.

After the Mexican War, The Gadsden Purchase, made by South Carolinian, James Gadsden, acquired portions of Arizona and New Mexico to hopefully allow for a cross-country railroad stretching from the south to California.

Had not these brave souls from the south had the chutzpah to explore uncharted lands, unlike New Englanders who wanted to limit the size of the Union, we might never have realized life in the old west as we know it.  As Mr. Johnson states, in this case,"we would not have been a United States stretching from 'sea to shining sea.'"

So, I'm quite proud my ranch foreman, Tyler Bishop is patterned after the Stetson-wearing, rope-tossing cowboys of the west.  I can guarantee, if you read the book, you won't see much difference between Tennessee pride and that of those who settled in the areas we recognize from TV cowboy and Indian sagas.  In fact, if you read a lot of historical novels, you might recall that the lion's share of wagon trains began in Missouri with folks headed for Oregon and California.  They don't call "it" the "Oregon trail" for nothin'. 

There are so many things I didn't know about the south...  Little things like: Fourteen of the nation's top Ivy League schools are in the south, and since the inception of the Miss America pageant in 1921, one-third of the winners have been southern. Slavery was not legalized in the south, and the Confederate battle flag is symbolic of Christianity, modeled after St. Andrew's Cross (seen in Scotland's national flag and in the Union Jack of Great Britain.)

 I was born and raised in California, but since moving to Tennessee, I've come to the conclusion I was meant to be here.  Pride, honor and faith is alive and well in the south.

By the way, if you'd like to check out my work, please visit my website where I have all my books featured, along with videos/blurbs. I'm happy to say I'm still alive and kicking, and as long as I am, I'll keep pumping out western historical novels. I'm currently working on two historicals...Yellow Moon and The Well.  Yep...it means a lot of research, but I'm learning as I go.  Oh, and my BWL page is http://www.bookswelove.com/gingersimpson.php.  Note from Ginger....I finished Yellow Moon and will be submitting it soon.

Special thanks to my friend Ronnie Brown who loaned me The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South by Clint Johnson, and again to Mr. Johnson for letting me in on his southern knowledge.  Loved it!