Naomi Musch is one of the authors of The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection. A Tender Siege is the second story in the collection.
Please tell us something about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.
How long? Hm…I don’t remember when I didn’t write stories. I’ve been writing since elementary school, and all my adult life, in various venues.
Is A Tender Siege your first novella? Did you find writing it more or less challenging than writing a novel?
I have written several novellas, though not all are published yet. My first published novella was Heart Not Taken, published in 2010. I wrote the story of a high school English teacher struggling with his faith and a beautiful landscaper who renovates his heart and spirit along with his cabin property as an exercise to challenge myself in shorter form, because yes, I find writing novellas to be a very unique challenge. A novel gives the writer a lot of room to develop character arc and numerous tangled story threads. In a novella, it’s challenging to show an entire character arc and to limit the use of multiple story threads. I’ve simply been at the novel-length form longer. That said, I feel pretty confident that the story and character arcs in my new novella A Tender Siege are successfully woven.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I definitely use a plot, especially when I’m plunging into that first draft. That doesn’t mean I can’t veer from it if I experience a voila moment. I often do. Occasionally I swing substantially wide of the outline. If I begin to feel like I’m floundering or can’t quite get my character to tell me what to do next, then I return to the plot—the drawing board, as it were.
Was there anything that surprised you about writing this story?
I’m most often surprised by secondary characters. They have a tendency to walk onto the screen and get involved in ways I haven’t plotted or expected. Maybe it’s because I haven’t spent as much time thinking about them (though I usually do after the fact). Maybe it’s because they help me to see my main characters better, through the eyes of someone important to them. I had at least one such surprise in A Tender Siege.
Did you determine the storyline first or the era?
I determined the era first in this particular story. I knew I wanted to write about Pontiac’s War, and I knew that there were highlanders involved (quite a bit during the French and Indian wars, in fact). I had to figure out which battle would best work for a character, and then I had to figure out the back story of that character—who turned out to be Lachlan McRea, of his Majesty’s 42nd Highlanders. Lachlan is a widower. His backstory plays into his reason for being there as well as his reasons for behaving as he does.
Please tell us what the story is about.
It’s August of 1763. Wounded in battle at Bushy Run in the American wilderness, Lachlan McRea of His Majesty’s 42nd Highlanders pleads with God, yearning to be reunited with his lost wife and child. As death hovers near, he is discovered by Wenonah, a native widow doing all she can to survive alone while avoiding the attentions of a dangerous Shawnee warrior. In aiding one another, their perils increase. If Lachlan can let go of the woman he once loved, he might find healing for both body and soul.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A Tender Siege is certainly a story of second chances. Lachlan’s deliverance demonstrates how God comforts wounded hearts and even wipes away tears in ways and places we seldom expect.
What are your social media sights?
Let’s get better acquainted! My website is easy: NaomiMusch.com Please sign up for my monthly newsletter Northwoods Faith & Fiction for non-spammy news and updates and follow on the social media platform where you most like to hang out: Bookbub, Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Naomi is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine, Lake Superior northwoods, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Lake Superior Writers. Though she has written in a variety of venues on topics ranging from homeschooling to homesteading, her great love is historical fiction. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of grandchildren. Naomi would love to meet with and speak to your group. She would also enjoy connecting around the web.