Saturday, February 25, 2017

Photograph of a Hero

Like many authors, I often use photographs to inspire my writing.

Who better to inspire a fictional hero, than a handsome true-to-life hero?

Captain Robert Gibson, was born in 1886 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Intelligent, well-educated, uncommonly bright, and patriotic, he gave his life as a military war hero in WWI.

Captain Robert Gibson, Scottish scholar and WWI soldier killed in 1915. Inspiration for Chadwick Hughes.

The first time I saw his image, I was astounded--handsome! Loyal, brave, bright, strong.

In my mind's eye, at least, I patterned Chadwick Charles "C.C." Hughes, hero of Sophia'sLeap-Year Courtship after this handsome war hero, with utmost respect.

Cover model on book cover, inspiration for Sophia Sorensen.

The cover was ready for this new Sweet Romance (set in the winter of 1888-89) by the time I needed a visual image of my heroine, Sophia Sorensen. I already knew my heroine had to be somebody pretty amazing, because I'd borrowed my great-great-grandmother's name. Interesting, at least to me and my immediate family, the cover model strongly resembles the true-to-history Sophia on my family tree.

I've written a blog post about why and how images spark creativity in writing.

This time, I already had a story. I just needed an anchor--mental images of the characters to help readers sketch an image too. As I wrote this brand-new release, I gathered images during my research process about every component of the story: fashion, bicycles, railroad, mail-order brides (and fraudulent companies), hard winters, leap year, leap-year courtships, and more! The images are all gathered on a Pinterest Board for this title. Please, stop by and take a look.

Sophia's Leap-Year Courtship released yesterday!

Book Description:

Union Pacific Station Agent Chadwick Hughes has everything in a state of readiness to welcome his mail order bride…everything but the bride. The woman he’s corresponded with for a year didn’t change her mind or miss her train in Omaha—she never existed. Chadwick’s mortified to discover he’s been swindled by a fraudulent matrimonial agency in Chicago. He needs a lawyer if he’ll ever recover a dime of the fortune he spent on worthless membership fees and the nonexistent bride’s transportation west.

Sophia Sorensen, Attorney at Law, is a spinster on the edge of propriety. The good people of Wyoming Territory are open to a lot of things, including Lady’s Privilege during Leap Years, but some aren’t fond of her day-to-day behavior. Why, the woman rides her bicycle hither and yon, showing her petticoat ruffle and ankles. She might be the least ladylike specimen beneath Wyoming skies, but it’s entertaining to watch her court the U.P. Station Agent, Chadwick Hughes, the most-eligible bachelor in the county.

Learn lots more about this new title and the research pictured on the Pinterest board, on my website.

Hi! I'm Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author.
I write frequent articles (or view recent posts easily on my Home Page, scroll down) about the nineteenth century American West–every subject of possible interest to readers, amateur historians, authors…as all of these tidbits surfaced while researching for my books. I also blog monthly at Sweet Romance Reads, Sweet Americana Sweethearts, and Romancing the Genres.

I love to hear from readers! Please drop me a note. Or find me on Facebook.

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Copyright © 2017 Kristin Holt LC


  1. Images inspire me, also, Kristin. Your beautiful Sophia and very handsome captain will make for a wonderful read. Best wishes on your latest release!

    1. Thanks, Josie! I'm glad you're inspired by images, too. =)

  2. I like that you use images to help inspire you when you're thinking of your heroes and heroines! I wish you all the best with your new release - it's a wonderful book!

    1. Thank you so much, Melanie. Images help me keep "this hero" straight from "that hero" (as in the previous book). A few strong visuals (such as Chadwick's precise part in his brown hair--per this image) helps. Me, anyway. =)
      I'm so glad you enjoyed reading SOPHIA'S LEAP-YEAR COURTSHIP. Thanks so much for reading and for your kind feedback.