Sunday, May 1, 2011

Home in the Woods ~ Thomas Cole (Hudson River School)


Welcome to Dwellings, where the Cross and Quill come together to create a sampler of faith, folklore, and New York's early history. Please be sure to check the links for more information about early American life and colonial history, too.

Each month, one of the beautiful paintings done by an artist of the Hudson River School will be featured on the Dwellings blog.

The Hudson River School was a nineteenth century American Art Movement made up of landscape painters influenced by romanticism and luminism.

Thomas Cole was considered the founder of the group, when, in the autumn of 1825 he took a trip up the Hudson River to the Catskill Mountains, and inspired by the breathtaking colors in nature, painted the first landscapes of the area. Cole's friend, Asher Durand, soon joined him in developing the movement.

After Cole's death in 1848, a "second generation" of painters carried on Cole's vision, depicting not only the matchless beauty of the Catskills and Adirondacks, but the rest of America.

These masterpieces, created by such artists as Cole, Cropsey, Durand, Church and others, are based on a combination of their deep faith in God, respect for the stewardship of the land, and an awe of the wild beauty and majesty of this country.

Not only were the members of the Hudson River School founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, but their movement encouraged wilderness preservation and inspired the establishment of national and city parks throughout the country.

The Hudson River School of painters shared a reverence for America's natural beauty as God's creation with writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Fenimore Cooper, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Dwellings also presents books by Christian authors who are led by the Lord to write about characters and stories set in America's past; exciting tales of romance, adventure and suspense, written to inspire and encourage.

If you're looking for a book for yourself, a loved one, or those who may need an uplifting message woven through an entertaining story, please consider new monthly releases in inspirational historical fiction found here--the kind that take you on a journey into our country's past (from early colonial times through the American Revolution) and illuminate the trials, beauty and blessings of those early days -- and its people as they forged ahead in building our great nation.

By Cross and Quill

This week it's my pleasure to interview Louise Gouge, an historical writer I like to think of as the American "Jane Austen"--at least her writing 'voice' reminds me of Jane! Louise is here to offer some insights about her writing journey, and her latest releases for 2011. The first, a story set in the Florida colony, is called At the Captain's Command.

Title: At the Captain's Command
Author: Louise Gouge
Publisher: Love Inspired Historical

~When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

In 1984 when my children were in middle and high school, I decided to start writing down the stories that had churned around in my mind since I was a child. Before that, my fantasies had been my own private world to escape to just for fun. At a friend’s suggestion (well, really, she shoved me, thank you, Pat Bickers), I wrote down my most recent fantasy. I expected it to be a short story, but it grew into two novels.

~How did you prepare? College courses? Workshops? Books on Craft?

Once I finished those novels, I wanted to see if they were worthy of being published, so I returned to college to take a creative writing class. That grew into a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, and later I expanded my worldview by earning a master’s degree in liberal studies. I started attending the Florida Christian Writers Conference, and later joined American Christian Fiction Writers and attended its conferences.

While I’m glad I earned my degrees, I learned more about contemporary writing styles at the conferences and through ACFW than I ever did in college. If you read my first published books or my master’s thesis novel, Ahab’s Bride (David C. Cook 2004), you can see the difference in style from my subsequent books. One thing I would suggest, though, is that new writers should work hard to grasp grammar rules. I believe a writer must know the rules before breaking them for the sake of story and style. This is another thing that ACFW can help with.

~Why do you enjoy writing historicals? (and anything more you want to add to this--anything special about time/settings etc.)

I always like to joke that I prefer to live in the past. Actually, I always loved movies set in times gone by, the so-called costume dramas or comedies. Who can account for tastes? One thing I’m certain of is that I admire the high moral standards of the past. Not the prejudices, of course, or the cruel social structures. But then, those provide wonderful conflict for my characters. History is a high hill from which we can see both the progress and the failures of humankind. No one would want to see us revert to the days when a man could beat his wife with impunity or people could own slaves. But our culture would do well to reclaim a strong sense of decency and morality that held societies together in the past.

~Do you have other work besides writing; and if so, how do you manage to balance both?

Yes, and this is where those college degrees come in handy. I am a part time college instructor teaching English composition and humanities. I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays and write on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Somehow it all works out. That is, until I have to grade a stack of essays or research papers. To do right by my students, I have to be diligent in my grading. It’s not always easy, especially when students today don’t always grasp those grammar rules I spoke of above.

~How many years/stories did you write before the first one was accepted? (and by who?)

Okay, please don’t throw bricks at me, but those first two books were published after I spruced them up after getting that creative writing degree. Once There Was a Way Back Home and The Homecoming were published by Crossway Books in 1994 and 1998 respectively. They’re out of print now, but I may e-pub them one day in the future after I bring them up to date. So far, only two books I’ve written have failed to find a publisher, but I’m not giving up on them because I truly believe in both stories.

~What's your next book/release date we can look forward to?

My current release is At the Captain’s Command (April 2011), the third book in my Revolutionary War trilogy about the Moberly siblings, the offspring of a British earl who is a member of George III’s Privy Council. ATCC tells the story of the earl’s third son, Thomas Moberly, a captain in His Majesty’s Royal Navy, who falls in love with a Dinah Templeton, a colonial miss who is loyal to the Crown.

My next book is a novella, The Gentleman Takes a Bride in the anthology The Wedding Season (June 2011), both from Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historicals. It moves into the Regency era when Elizabeth Moberly, Thomas and Dinah’s youngest daughter, reaches marriageable age determined to marry a peer (an aristocrat with a title). Then she meets Philip Lindsey, an untitled gentleman who has just interrupted Elizabeth’s dear cousin’s wedding with some scandalous news...

At the Captain's Command, Love Inspired Historical, April 2011 - RT 4-Star Review

The Gentleman Takes a Bride, in The Wedding Season, LIH, June 2011

The Captain's Lady, Love Inspired Historical, March 2010 - RT 4-Star Review

Thank you for stopping in, Louise, and Blessings on your future writing endeavors! Louise has graciously offered a giveaway of At the Captain's Command, so be sure to leave a comment with your e-mail address. More information about Louise and her books can be found at her address below:

Louise M. Gouge--

Have we spent too much time in the reality of the here and now, and forgotten our ideals, both personal and national? The early artists and writers of this nation once dwelt on this country's ideals; so with the help of God, let us do the same. Let us make every attempt to dwell on our ideals. ~Pat Iacuzzi~

"May the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: may the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." Num.6:25-26 (KJV)