Historical Research Series Guest - Beth Trissel

Today I’d like to welcome Beth Trissel to our series on historical research. Beth’s focus is near and dear to my heart as she also focuses her stories on colonial America.

Thanks for joining us today, Beth!

Thanks for interviewing me on your super blog, MJ. I’m delighted to be here and share my love of history, particularly early American.

Beth Trissel and friends
Beth, why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself.

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles, and nonfiction about gardening, herbal lore, and country life.

For more on me, my blog is the happening place: http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

Also, catch me on: Facebook, Twitter, My Website, LinkedIn, Pinterest

What is the time period/setting for your novels?

Daughter of the Moon
I’m deeply drawn to colonial America, especially the colonial frontier and the Indian Wars, but also The American Revolution and other aspects of early America. I also have historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles, so that’s another favorite, but for the purposes of this post, I will stick to colonial America. My Native American Warrior Series is loosely tied together based more on time and place and strong Native American characters than as a traditional series that follows the storyline. However, Kira, Daughter of the Moon is the actual sequel to Through the Fire, and there will be other sequels. In addition to Native Americans, hardy Scots-Irish frontiersmen and women, colonial Englishmen and ladies, and even a few Frenchmen also play an important role in this series. So far, it spans the gamut from the dramatic era of the French and Indian War, through Pontiac's War, The American Revolution and shortly thereafter. But that time period may broaden as more stories are added to this line.

Through the Fire
Do you have any special connection to the period?

Oh my, yes! I live in the beautiful, richly historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where my early American Scots-Irish ancestors were among the first settlers, and have an amazing and well documented family genealogy that has been and is an ongoing source of inspiration. I’ve also had a lot of help along the way from historians, anthologists, archeologists, reenactors, (many local) the Ohio Shawnee themselves, and been given old annals, research books, directed to sites and events, seen a frontier fort burn while war whoops sounded…

What appeals to you about this period?

What doesn’t? The drama and adventure of early America is vibrantly alive. I feel as if I lived back then. My ancestral roots reach way back into early America, including family members taken captive by The Shawnee and other Eastern woodland tribes, but my focus is on the Shawnee. Wicomechee, the hero in my historical romance novel, Red Bird’s Song, is an actual Shawnee warrior I have family ties to. I give more on his story at the end of the book, and it’s quite an account. Wicomechee was remarkable and so inspiring to an author passionate about the past. That was the first novel I ever wrote and will always be my favorite.

How much time do you spend researching each book?

Red Bird's Song
Sometimes years, definitely months. Some of it is cumulative, and I only have to brush up on the info I’ve already learned before continuing with a writing project.

Do you tend to research before you write, or more as you write?

I do a lot of research before I write but also as I go along. Often accounts I uncover are vital to the story.

Do you tend to use secondary or primary research sources?

Primary as much as possible, but also good secondary. There’s nothing like old letters, annals, journals and other original accounts.

Any favorite sources?

Way too many to name, as I hinted above. Many research books, some rare, even manuscripts copied for me by historians and other experts I’ve met. Reenactors have been a big help. I also find some of the historical online sites very worthwhile, like the colonial Williamsburg one, and others too numerous to list. The museums attached to old homes and historical sites have great books and resources unique to that region, so always check those out. I could blather endlessly about research. If a reader wants to know more, they can contact me: bctrissel@yahoo.com 

Have you ever found out after a book was published that you made an error with a historical fact?

Rarely. But it happens. Fortunately, not often.

Bear Walker's Daughter
Who/What inspires you?

The people who’ve gone before me are my greatest inspiration, and I’m more drawn to nonfiction reading and good period dramas (films) than fiction. My favorite movie is The Last of the Mohicans.

What are some of the more recent books you’ve published?

Through the Fire (The Native American Warrior Series) Kindle Link
The Bearwalker’s Daughter (The Native American Warrior Series) Kindle Link
Red Bird’s Song (The Native American Warrior Series) Kindle Link
Kira, Daughter of the Moon (The Native American Warrior Series) Kindle Link
Enemy of the King (The American Revolution) Kindle Link

***Some of these books are published by the Wild Rose Press and others are indie published now. Covers for my indie titles are by my daughter Elise. Rae Monet did the other covers.


  1. Sorry to be late popping in here. It's the first day of my herbal lore class for Savvy Authors. I really appreciate you featuring me and my love of history.

  2. The colonial period is becoming a favorite of mine as well, Beth, after recent visits to many historical sites in the East. (I'm a California girl.) I must say, the Shenandoah valley was breathtaking. Your books are such intriguing concepts, and characters. Continued good luck!