I have walked that lonely field, stood where my father fell. I have felt his presence, and his valiant heart beats in me.
My father, Benjamin Willson the First, was liberty’s son. Because of his love for my mother and his extraordinary sacrifice, I came to be.
Because of Jacob Cooper, the man who raised me, I became the man I am supposed to be. The son Benjamin Willson would be proud to call his own.
Jacob taught me that someone must shine a light in the darkness. Even if I am only one candle amongst thousands, I will do my part to live up to the expectations of the men who went before me, born up by the love of a mother who was willing to fight the British and defy the bottomless pit of her grief to bring me into this world.
The drums of Madison’s war are beating again, and I must answer the call.
Like my father before me. Like the man who raised me as his own.
I am liberty’s legacy.
The Liberty series has been a big part of my life for the past three years, a story that wrapped around my heart and my head…and it still won’t let go. It all started with a mini-series, The Sons of Liberty, bringing to life the birth of the nation and the brink of the war. It was a thrill ride that pulled the whole family in for three nights in a row. And then my story came to me. About a young woman in Johnstown who loved history, falling into her personal history, and the arms of a Patriot from Boston who would need saving. It took her on an incredible journey. I went with her.
Standing outside the Colonial Cemetery on a bitter cold morning, watching my breath form clouds in the air, taking pictures of the marker, the graves. Stepping over the fence around Sir William’s grave, brushing off the snow, kneeling down to learn more about the founder of our town. People probably thought I was crazy…and I was. About the characters and story playing out in my head like a movie. I started paying attention to all the signs and historical sites in Johnstown, a town so rich in history, and the threads wove their way into my novel, tying it together. I wrapped it up, dressed the part, thought I was all done. Until a reader walked up to me in Mysteries on Main Street, our local bookstore, told me she loved my story, read it in a night, and, “When’s the next one?”
I hadn’t planned a next story, but the thoughts started perking–couldn’t let my readers down, right?–and Liberty’s Promise came to be. I realized I wasn’t finished yet. Those characters wouldn’t leave me alone. The conclusion is coming, due out July 4th…I think it’s my favorite. I’m in love with Liberty’s Legacy and these characters. It’s really hard to let them go…but they live on. In my heart and in my soul. Every time I walk the grounds at Sir William Johnson’s estate, pass the marker for the Battle of Johnstown, or wander amongst the stones in the Colonial Cemetery where patriots have been sleeping over 230 years ago, my characters are with me. Benjamin, Charlotte, and Jacob live on and my imagination runs, wondering what they would do next…
I hope they fire up your imagination as well.