It is my pleasure to welcome Jocelyn Green to the blog this week, with her new release The Mark of the King. As way of introduction, here’s a little bit about the book:
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
Wow, what a unique time period and premise. What led you to write the book?
There are many excellent books set in the British colonies, but the French colony of Louisiana seems to be much lesser known. When I learned about the years of forced immigration, whereby Paris cleaned out its prisons to populate a floundering wilderness, it was just too rife with story potential to ignore. It’s a story of incredible hardship and courage, fear and hope, judgment and redemption. It also offered an opportunity to unlock a slice of American history most of us know little about, which appeals to me a great deal.
What was it like trying to research Louisiana during that era?
Hard! J My previous series was set during the Civil War, and there is a ton of material out there which helped with my research. But The Mark of the King was set more than a century earlier than the Civil War, and the people who lived in Louisiana at that time did not speak English. It was primarily French or native American languages. So when it came to diving into primary sources, I had to rely on those that had already been translated into English. There are a number of those, thankfully. But I also went down to New Orleans to an archives center that contains a lot of French sources. I knew enough to know which chapters I wanted to take home with me, so I made copies and brought them back to my French sister-in-law, who translated for me. That was a huge help!
You mention the king’s mark on the heroine’s shoulder. Could you explain what that is? Was something like that really used then?
The mark of the king was the fleur-de-lys symbol of the French monarchy that was branded on certain criminals during the time the novel takes place, to permanently mark them with judgment. In the novel, this mark plays a big role. But there is a spiritual layer to the phrase, as well. As believers, we serve a higher King than any authority here on earth. Our lives are marked by His grace, no matter how scarred we may have been by judgment from others—whether that judgment was deserved or not. God’s grace covers all of it. Grace covers all of us.
Which is harder when writing historical fiction – the research or the actual writing of the book?
It depends on the era. For my Civil War books, the research was easy, the writing comparatively harder. For The Mark of the King, it was the opposite. The research posed some challenges, so the actual writing was easier by comparison.
What else do you have in the works?
My next fiction release is a novella collection from Barbour releasing in March! The Message in a Bottle Romance Collection was written by five of us, including Joanne Bischof, Heather Day Gilbert, Amanda Dykes, Maureen Lang and myself.
Yay! Always love having something to look forward to.
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including Wedded to War, a Christy Award finalist in 2013, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Jocelyn lives with her husband and two children in Iowa. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com.
Jocelyn is giving away a copy of her book. Follow the easy steps below to enter.
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Thanks for being with us, Jocelyn!