Thursday, May 03, 2012

Setting the Scene with Love Inspied Historical Author Allie Plieter

Allie Plieter sets the scene for her latest Love Inspired Historical  Homefront Hero.

Charleston is a beautiful city.  It’s warm there in the winter, so there’s that.  It’s serious about food, which is a big plus.  It’s by the water, which makes for pretty days. 

My favorite feature of Charleston, however, is a brown-eyed college girl who happens to be my daughter.

I have set books in specific locations after doing hours of research.  Then there are books where I start with the location and find the story once I get there.  I started with Charleston for the very “academic” reason that I wanted multiple reasons to visit my daughter.

I knew I wanted to do a pair of books--one set in WWI and the other in WWII, and I knew Charleston.  Good, but still no story.  I was intrigued by the focus of the homefront rather than the battle, but that’s still not enough.  The story came together while wandering through a South Carolina military museum, when I saw the helmet of a decorated war hero from Charleston.  He had an inspiring story of bravery.  Ah, now we’ve got something:  We know war hero, Charleston, and homefront.  Every good romance needs a great heroine, and our war-hardened hero needs a soft-hearted heroine to being out the best in him.  Hmmm...

Enter a second military museum--back home in Illinois, where I uncover a hand-knit sweater made for soldiers in WWII.  Knitting as a war effort?  Now I’m intrigued.  A little digging, and I discover the WWI “Knit Your Bit” socks for soldiers campaign.  An avid knitter myself, I can feel the story brewing (or is that knitting?).  Back to South Carolina I go, to see what trouble I can get a arrogant Army Captain and a kind-hearted knitting nurse into.  Charleston is Navy, however, and I quickly realize I need Army if I’m going to utilize the crisis of the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic.  So, I need to do what every good author ought to do--ditch my personal preferences for the sake of the story.  I move our tale to Columbia, SC and Camp Jackson (or, as it’s now known, Jackson Army Base).  My sacrifice is rewarded when further research turns up the fact that the campus of the University of South Carolina at Columbia was locked down in quarantine during that epidemic.  Now there’s a crisis you can hang a romance on!  Now, instead of “pretty,” I’ve got “pretty powerful.” 

And my daughter is still only two hours away so I can meet her for dinner.

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction.  The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework.  Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois.  The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing.  Visit her website at or her knitting blog at

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