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My favorite part about writing a series is that the family involved becomes real. And because I have five children of my own, I know how very different people can be. How they can have their own passionate opinions and still love one another very much, and be ready to jump to battle for one another despite their differences in opinion. The McKenzies have become to me very much like my own childrenquirky, eccentric, passionate, stubborn, sometimes right and sometimes wrongand always very independent with their own thoughts, dreams and determinations.
GLORY continues the saga of the McKenzies of Florida as the Civil War rages on. Runaway and Captive told about the first generation of McKenzie brothers to settle in the state, while Rebel and Surrender began to tell the tale of their children, who were caught up in a struggle that rippedapart a state, a nation and its people.
The Civil War remains one of my favorite periods of history for just that fact. There was a great deal that was tragic and a great deal that was very wrong. Often, especially in the Kansas/Nebraska area, there was much that was heinously cruel and totally without honor. But the majority of individuals involved North, South, black and whitewere extraordinary human beings. They chose their paths with tremendous honor and integrity, willing to give their lives for their beliefs.
The stories of the Civil War are different depending on the perspective of the people involved, and so it is with the McKenzies. GLORY is mainly the story of Julian McKenzie, a doctor who sees the war from the perspective of the lives it destroys. A man who has chosen loyalty to Florida, he is forced to rely on the help of a beautiful Unionist, Rhiannon Tremaine, to save the life of a friend. For her the war is nothing but a terrorist rebellionone that has taken the life of the husband she adored. A woman with a gift for healing, she is labeled a witch, for she has what her neighbors call the sightthe ability, at times, to foresee the future. To her, it is a curse, but not as much a curse as Julian, who tears her away from her grief-related opium addiction she acquired after her husbands deathto fight again for the lives of others. Yet with a renewed spirit, she realizes both her own passionate belief in the right of the Union and her ability to love again. Except that this time, she has fallen in love with the enemy, and she will face him again and again, from both sides of the battlefield.
Naturally, the other McKenzies are also involved in this book. Sydney finds herself married to the enemy and discovering, through the eyes of a black friend, that it just might be wrong to believe in a cause that supports the institution of slavery. Brent, desperate to serve the men on the battlefield, is dismayed to find that he is fighting a different enemydisease, and one disease in particular that ravages the soldiers of the Civil War, syphilis.
The last book in this six-part series, which is currently called SOUTHERN COMFORT, is scheduled for release next year. To all of my readers, I hope you enjoy my Florida, and thank you so very much.
Write to me c/o Penguin Books, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.
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