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Fact and Fiction


SweetRedemption_w3850_300My latest release from The Wild Rose Press is a vampire romance, but the story is based on a real Civil War battle that took place in Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862. It was a Confederate victory. Union soldiers were pinned down on a field below what the locals called, Marye’s Heights. Dead men froze and other men used the bodies to shield themselves, while the Confederates kept up their fire throughout the night.

One of the Union heroes of Gettysburg, Joshua Chamberlain, was among those lying out in the field all night. His story was chronicled in Jeff Shaara’s Civil War novel, Gods and Generals.

To quote a part of the scene where Chamberlain was pinned down on the battlefied: “He began to shiver, flexed his fingers, wrapped himself with his arms, and now shivered more. He raised his head just slightly and looked around him, saw a great field of black shapes. He began to move, slid along the hard ground, moved up alongside one of the shapes,  said in  a low, hoarse voice, “You there. Are you wounded?” He waited, then reached out a hand, touched the blue cloth, prodded harder, poked the man’s stiff body, and he understood.” Gods and Generals, Jeff Shaara.

So, this true life story inspired my fictional story of a fallen priest turned Union infantry captain, who finds himself on this same frozen battlefield. But my hero, Jonathan Hackett, is stalked, not my enemy soldiers, but by a vampire.

It’s fun to play around with possibilties. My latest release, Sweet Redemption is available now from The Wild Rose Press.


  1. Sounds like a great story…I can’t wait to read it. What a fascinating premise.


  2. Thanks, Victoria! I love to mix genres and since I’m into the Civil War era as well as vampires, I thought it would be a lot of fun!

  3. Lise says:

    I never cease to be amazed at the power generated by the use of war time conflicts in fiction. It is both a great opportunity to utilize the most supreme of all conflicts – life and death, yet at the same time to remind our readers of the horrors and sacrifice of war, as well as the valor, courage, and gallantry that occurs as well. When average men, and women, became heros.

    As I am also a supreme believer in the “what if…” scenario for writing great stories, “what if – there were vampires walking the earth all along? What more likely place for them to stalk than a battlefield….”

    Good luck with this latest endeavor and thank you for keeping the Civil War sub-genre alive!

  4. Susan,
    So interesting that you were inspired by the scene about Joshua Chamberlain on the battlefield at night. Isn’t it fascinating to brainstorm stories? Sometimes an amazing event like that affords writers a great historcal fiction book as well as a romance. Congratulations on your new release.


  5. Mary Ricksen says:

    You got me Susan I am hooked!

  6. Emma Lai says:

    Interesting what inspires us, isn’t it! Sounds like a great story.

  7. Thanks for all the comments! I’ve always thought wars and other conflicts are great catalysts for fiction, especially romance fiction.

    And it’s fun to play, what if… the possibilities are endless.

  8. Hi Susan,
    What a fascinating story, particularly more so because it is based on fact. Just goes to prove you really can’t beat the old saying – Truth is stranger than fiction.


  9. You’ve got that right, Margaret. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Kelley says:

    Hi Susan,
    This caught my attention because I am sick of contemporary vamp stories that all sound the same to me. I prefer historicals and the Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars ever and a horrible time in American history. I think it is clever of you to add a vampire to it.

  11. Thanks, Kelly! I’ve been wanting to write a vampire story for years, but didn’t want to duplicate what others were writing. So, I came up with the idea of a vampire in a Civil War camp. That story became my first sale to The Wild Rose Press. It’s called Eternity Waits and is still available at TWRP as a stand-alone short story.

    Since my other Civil War stories were all straight historicals or time travels, I wanted to do another vampire story to keep my little short company, so wrote Sweet Redemption.

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