I love discovering new authors who write in my favorite time period, and I had to interview Apollonia Lord about her debut, Seduced by the Outlaw.
It’s 1896, and Tamar Freeman is a respectable citizen of Kansas City, maintaining her family legacy, running the local newspaper, and caring for her sisters. The last thing she expects is to fall for an outlaw. But the lonely hearts ads that Deadwood Dick takes out in The Advocate stir something unexpected deep within.
Lawman Amos Tanner went deep undercover for the Pinkertons months ago to bust a burglary ring on the lam, wreaking havoc across the Western states. The coded ads he’s been placing with his Pinkerton boss in local newspapers have laid the trap expertly for the gang’s capture, and soon he’ll pull off his last heist as Deadwood Dick and be free to return home to Oklahoma. But a wildfire of an attraction has roared to life between him and Tamar. Walking away from her will be the hardest thing he’s ever done.
When the final heist doesn’t quite go off as planned, a shocking turn of events threatens to split Amos and Tamar forever. Will she find the strength to give up her safe world and risk a chance at the life she’s long desired?
Congratulations on the publication of your novel! How long was your journey from writing your first novel to now?
Thank you so much. It’s an honor to be interviewed for your blog. I started writing in high school and actually entered a competition with Arabesque Press for publishing. I nursed that novel for years until I quit in 2002. I stopped writing for 3 or 4 years and once I started again I sent out a novella to be included in an anthology. That was 6 years ago, and I haven’t stopped writing and submitting since then.
What inspired Seduced by the Outlaw?
I love historical novels, and Beverly Jenkins is one of my favorite authors who chronicles the stories of diverse characters in the West. And there is such a great multicultural history that is ignored in most movies. Another inspiration was how ads were used to look for love, loved ones, or employees. This database of ads catalogs the quests of former slaves to find loved ones and that piqued my interest. There is another story buried in here.
What are some little known facts you uncovered while researching your novel?
1. This book was inspired by the work of pioneering female journalists in the 19th century. In particular, Ida B. Wells has been a personal inspiration for me as I wrote this. She was a pioneering journalist and anti-lynching crusader. In my opinion, you can’t write a black female journalist in that time period without crafting her in the courageous and bold mold of Wells.
2. My family is from Kansas City, and it was fun digging into the city’s history of this book. I spent a lot of time looking at historical photographs and reading about the city
3. Deadwood Dick is the name of a real-life person and was used in an old serial novel. The former slave and cowboy Nat Love was nicknamed Deadwood Dick. My critique partners laughed every time I said it, but the character’s name was based on real research.
Is there any historical research you didn’t have space to include in the novel? If so, what was it and why didn’t you include it?
I tend to write short, so I try to thread all the historical research needed through the story. Now, I wish I had put in more about the Pinkertons.
Drawing from the Proust Questionnaire:
Your favourite occupation.
Writer or engineer. Scratch that: bakers who make a properly balanced chocolate chip cookie.
Your heroines in World history.
Politician Shirley Chisholm. Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell. Warrior Queen Nzingha. Entertainer/spy Josephine Baker. Any woman in history who decided to go her own way, challenge the status quo, and make a real change for people is my heroine.
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with.
The ability to like shopping.
Which of your characters did you enjoy writing the most?
Tamar. She’s unmoved and headstrong. She’s a passionate advocate yet has never felt real passion with a lover. She has so many contradictions.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading a lot of exams right now. Besides that, I am listening to Cal Newport’s Deep Work and Jonah Berger’s Invisible Influence, both nonfiction but can help writers pivot into deeper success. I’m reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, a book on African American spies, Priya in Heels, Perv, The Gazillionaire and the Virgin, and Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating.
In 2016, I have another contemporary romance coming out for Christmas. I am working on other historical novels and novellas ranging from a WWII spy romance in Europe to a story about Exodusters to a jewel thief in 1880s London.
Apollonia Lord has devoured historical romance novels since she was a toddler. (Seriously. She nibbled on the edges of her mother’s paperbacks as a baby. Now she is a bit more conventional in her reading experiences.) Based in Texas, she is a teacher by day and a writer at night.
Twitter: @writelovely / @apollonia_lord
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