Through the years, I have developed a long list of favorite authors. One of the women will always stay near the top of my list, partially because she has set many of her books in Nebraska but partially because she knows how tell a great story that resonates truth. Recently I was privileged to have a phone conversation with this lovely woman, Stephanie Grace Whitson, about her path as an author. Although they have not kept in close contact, Stephanie and my mom have been friends for years. Through online interactions, Stephanie has become my friend as well. Currently I happen to be giving away a book (or possibly two) of Stephanie’s on my other blog. That post features just her Nebraska related books. Please read the rest of this post to learn more about Stephanie and ALL of her books.
Learning Nebraska History Through Fiction: Featuring Nebraska Author, Stephanie Grace Whitson (and a Giveaway!)
Stephanie Grace Whitson never envisioned herself as an author. Although growing up she thought through problems by writing about them, letting other people read her stories was not her goal.She also loved words and been a prolific reader. Not just in one particular genre but widely read, although she particularly enjoys history portrayed west of the Mississippi. perhaps the fact that many of the books she writes are based on historical fact discovered in those very settings.
Because her primary genre is inspirational historical fiction, she tends to not read very many titles with that focus. For fiction reads, she tends toward genres and settings almost opposite of her focus: mysteries, high concept thrillers, even some regency titles. Recommending other authors is a challenge for her. Now that she has been a part of the Christian publishing world for 20 years, she knows many of the authors personally and has a hard time picking favorites. At least out loud. Recommending secular authors is even more difficult since she knows that every reader has a particular tolerance level for potentially offensive material such as strong language or detailed crime scenes. Personally I just appreciate the fact that she is willing to admit that she reads a variety of authors – more than just Christian fiction.
Over the past twenty years, Stephanie has published 29 different titles that include two non-fiction selections as well as two novellas. Three of her titles are “modern,” with the remaining twenty-one titles being historical Christian fiction. She garners those book ideas from a situation or setting from real history.
As far as which of her titles are her favorites, Stephanie said that they all mean something to her for different reasons. Yet a few do stand out. Walks the Fire, her first novel, will always have a perennial place in her heart. Because of fiction reflecting some of her own personal experiences with “The City of Lights,” a Garden in Paris will also be a favorite from the craft perspective. As for her book characters that she would most like “become real,” she admits that getting to have lunch with the ladies from Sixteen Brides would be quite enjoyable.
The biggest lesson from writing historical fiction is acknowledging what occurred in real life to inspire the story. Stephanie notes that “many of the scenarios are what you would not expect and are not typical. What really happened is far more amazing than anything I could ever make up.” Thank you, Stephanie, for writing wonderfully inspiring stories that will capture history in our hearts!
Below is a list of all of Stephanie’s titles with a brief synopsis. Many of her books are a part of a series – you will definitely want to read them in order.
Her latest book is Messenger in the Moonlight. That is one that that I am planning on ordering soon. This one is set in Nebraska, so I will be writing a column on just this book on my “Odyssey Through Nebraska blog.
Christmas Fiction: A Basket Brigade Christmas and A Patchwork Christmas, both novellas written with additional titles included by Judith Miller and Nancy Moser (More on these titles in December …)
Daughter of the Regiment Civil War from a woman’s perspective based on historical research of those women who served in vital support roles
A Captain for Laura Rose Steamboat travel.
The Quilt Chronicles Series: The Message on the Quilt, The Shadow on the Quilt, and The Key on the Quilt all focus on pioneer life with a particular quilt playing an integral part
A Most Unsuitable Match A new beginning for one woman in a region far from her home.
Sixteen Brides What happens when many widows arrive in one town ready to wed again? An adventure.
A Claim of Her Own Head to Deadwood, South Dakota, to see what life might have been like in a pioneer gold mining town.
Unbridled Dreams Experience life in Buffalo Bill’s “Wild West Show” with the perspective of someone who was a part of the experience.
Through the years, Stephanie has only published three contemporary fiction titles: Jacob’s List (stand-alone) A Garden in Paris and the sequel, A Hilltop in Tuscany
Pine Ridge Portraits Series Secrets on the Wind, Watchers on the Hill and Footprints on the Horizon are all set in the Fort Robinson area of Nebraska over about a fifty year period.
Dakota Moons Series (3 books originally published by Thomas Nelson) Valley of the Shadow, Edge of the Wilderness and Heart of the Sandhills From Minnesota to the Dakotas to Nebraska – this sad season of Native American life is still fraught with hope.
Keepsake Legacies Series: (3 books originally published by Thomas Nelson) Sarah’s Patchwork, Karyn’s Memory Box, Nora’s Ribbon of Memories continues the “Praire Winds Series” with new characters and talks about the settling of Lincoln and other parts of Nebraska.
Prairie Winds Series: Walks the Fire, Soaring Eagle, Red Bird Her first three books are set primarily in Nebraska and deal with the life of Native Americans and the white settlers.
Stephanie does have two Non-Fiction titles as well, How to Help a Grieving Friend: A Candid Guide for those who Care and Home on the Plains: Quilts and the Sod House Experience. The 2nd title is an excellent one to reference for pioneer history, and I wrote about this specific book on my other website.
Friday Flashback: Using Quilts to Interpret Nebraska History
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