Spain is in turmoil. In the 17th century, Inquisitor Sarmiento is zealously continuing the Inquisition, ridding Spain of those he considers infidels and also increasing his own land holdings at others' expense. A victim of the Inquisition, Isabela and her mother are incarcerated in one of Sarmiento's dungeons. Her father has been killed. She is rescued when Don Carlos, Duque de Malagón, breaks into the castle to rescue his brother. He is too late to help his brother but Don Carlos takes Isabela and her mother to safety. Since he, too, must now flee the Inquisitor's long arm, he and his retinue leave Spain and sail for the New World to face a stark yet lovely land that brings the promise of new beginnings...if they can survive the many challenges ahead.
Why does DAUGHTER OF SPAIN fall into the category of Unusual Historicals?
Daughter of Spain is set in the early 1600s in Spain, the Canary Islands, Mexico and New Mexico. Not many stories that have that criterion, which sets the story as unusual.
How did you come to choose the early 1600s for your story's setting?
I think the setting chose me. I lived in New Mexico for many years and love the state, the scenery, the people and the climate. One day the dungeon scene entered my brain. Isabela and Señora Fresquez had always been pampered noblewomen and now they were in a rat-infested nasty place. The Inquisition ran for many years so I was at liberty to chose any of those years. I decided the time of the settling of Santa Fe, before the revolt of the Native Americans against the Spanish oppressors, would be the best time. I don’t know of any other novels set at that particular time and place.
Did you need to do research on the period?
Yes, I already knew some of the history but did delve into books of New Mexico history and also of the architecture of the time. I also needed to read up on the Canary Islands and Mexico as Carlos and Isabela's trip takes them to those places before they come to Santa Fe.
Does the Duc de Malagon settle in Santa Fe?
There is a valley not too far from Santa Fe that produces apples that I, and almost everyone in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, love, so I decided I would place the couple's new home in such a valley. So the answer is no, he doesn’t, but some in his retinue do settle there, and Isabela must reside there until Don Carlos can provide a home for her.
Why doesn't Carlos settle in Santa Fe proper?
Don Carlos is used to having large estates. He persuades the New Mexico governor to grant him lands, and with those lands he will produce food and wool that the populace will need. In turn, the governor may call upon him for military service when needed to quell riots at various pueblos.
Don Carlos and Isabela's marriage is one of convenience. Do you care to elaborate?
Isabela is very young when they meet, only fifteen. Though it is true some women did marry that young, Don Carlos judges her too young and innocent to be a 'real' wife. Isabela feels that her husband will never love her. As innocent as she is, she believes she is his truly his wife in all ways. Just when Isabela starts to think he may care for her, she sees Don Carlos with beautiful Doña Eleanora, his best friend's wife. Isabela thinks the worst and another barrier rises between them.
What is the hardest part of setting a story in this time period?
I hope I got the ship right. I have been on a few old ships such as the Victory and I know they were very cramped for space, and I had seen and visited a replica of the Santa Maria. I keep thinking how remarkable it is that such small ships made such voyages. I'm sure I would have been quite stir-crazy cooped up like those passengers and sailors were.
Have you written any other stories with unusual time settings?
Yes, I have several that I guess people would say are unusual settings. CHILDLREN OF ST. YVES takes place in the 1940-1950s in a small village in France; LILA'S PROTÉGÉ is a sequel and is set in the 1950s through the late 1970s in France and the USA, and that is followed by BEFORE THE STAR FADES, primarily set in the 1970s and 1980s but also in many other times, such as ancient Egypt, through reincarnation flashbacks. Though a trilogy, each book can stand alone.
TRAIL TO BLISS is a historical western set in Arizona in the 1890s. It is sort of a tongue-in-cheek, at times humorous story. At least I think so! It features a self-proclaimed woman preacher who is out to tame the "wickedest city in the west," Contention City, the ruins of which, by the way, abut my nephew's ranch. It's published by Awe-Struck and has garnered quite a few good reviews.
ACCORDING TO THE RULES is set from about 1937 to the late 1940s again in France and also Switzerland and its background is the world of ballet.
ROSE OF THE RIO GRANDE will be published sometime later this year and it is set in New Mexico during the time of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Also, YOU CAN BANK ON IT, also to be released this year, is set in the 1950s. Both of these are from Wings ePress.
WYDECOMBE MANOR is a romance set in Cornwall, England, that goes back and forth from 1494 to the present. This book will be published in July by Whiskey Creek Press. It seems I use unusual years for most of my books. I do write some straight contemporary settings, too.
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