Author Interview with Myra McIlvain


Welcome Readers to another installment of our author interview series. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Myra, author of multiple historical fiction books set in Texas.

JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Myra. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

Thank you, Jeanne. I live in Austin, Texas, with my still handsome 98-year-old husband, Stroud. My brisk two-mile walk each morning is the beginning of my perfect day when I feel refreshed, and my pace allows me to forget everything and cast myself into the lives of my characters. The topper comes when my characters surprise me with new insights.

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

My favorite historical time period is Texas in the 19th century when Anglo settlers first began arriving. I am drawn to the energy and sheer determination of those pioneers who scratched from the raw earth entire communities.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

Sam Houston, you were an amazing leader with a broad understanding of human nature. You served as governor of Tennessee, led Texas in its war for independence from Mexico, served as president of the new Republic of Texas, and served in the US Senate. In your campaign for governor of Texas before the Civil War, you stood up to political powers and warned against secession. You even stepped down as governor rather than swear an oath to the Confederacy. With all those outstanding qualities, what failure caused your first bride to flee from you shortly after the wedding?

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

My path to writing historical fiction evolved from writing Texas historical markers, articles for magazines such as Texas Highways, and five guidebooks about famous and infamous people and places all over the state. The stories I discovered stirred my imagination and made me eager to explore the people behind those events. What drove them? What qualities made them fail or succeed or both? How did differing communities look at slavery and the Civil War? Historical fiction became my true love because it is the perfect vehicle for exploring and gleaning an understanding of different eras in Texas through the lives of my characters.

JMR- We are all affected by the highs and lows in our lives. How has your lived life informed your writing?

I have not framed my stories around my experiences, but my very young memories of WWII and the suffering I heard about prompted me to write Legacy, my first historical fiction. My concern about my ancestors’ ownership of slaves and all the things I learned about the German immigrants in Texas have played a role in my curiosity and writing about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the aftermath as portrayed in The Doctor’s Wife, Stein House, A German Family Saga, and Waters Plantation.

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

I love Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, and have explored the area several times and written articles about its history. The architecture rising above the former docks in Natchitoches stirs my imagination of that time when it was the jumping-off place for settlers coming into Texas. South of town, Yucca Plantation, which was built by a freed concubine who owned slaves,  never fails to challenge my thinking about our past.

JMR- Myra, tell us about your book.

The Knotted Ring is Susannah’s story. Pregnant with her slave lover’s baby, she accepts an arranged marriage to Hezekiah, a man headed to Texas for a Spanish land grant. Tangled in a series of lies about the origin of a beautiful ring woven from her red hair and the circumstances of her pregnancy, Susannah embarks on the harsh trip to Texas, grieving for her lost love and determined to control her destiny.

On the wagon train journey, Susannah admires Hezekiah’s strengths and beliefs as they are tested in his dealings with his slaves, the Native Americans, and a strange Mad Stone. He becomes a successful and respected member of Stephen F. Austin’s original colony but fails in his determination to make the best decisions for Susannah. She will have to decide if she can live with the consequences of her lies and open herself to this man who shows every form of contrition or if she allows longing for what she cannot have to destroy her life.

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I am working on a sequel to The Knotted Ring. I love the characters and want to see how they survive The Runaway Scrape, during Texas’ War for Independence from Mexico. I know that Susannah will have challenges stemming from the lies she created in her youth, and she will have to navigate the family’s and their slaves’ trek across Texas as they fear the Mexican Army is not far behind.

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.


JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

I hoped you might ask what led me to write The Knotted Ring.

JMR- Thank you, Myra, for stopping by. Your books look really great! Readers, I’ve included a link to Myra’s book below. Please be sure to check it out.





Post a Comment

Popular Posts