Heartland On the Side of Angels is the first novel in the Liberty & Property Legends series, by exciting new Australian Author Terri Sedmak.
Set in Wyoming in 1883, Heartland takes you on a journey of intrigue, love and loyalty, and a fight for freedom.
You will live and breathe the lives of 20-year-old Kelley Keaten, her brother Mart and her childhood nemesis Luke Taylor, and immerse yourself in the vibrant history of 19th Century Wyoming.
When twenty-year-old Kelley Keaton returns home after five years in New York, she discovers home is not the place it used to be. Her brother is behaving mysteriously. Her childhood nemesis, Luke Taylor, is now connected to her by a controlling organisation their families created and call the Alliance. And their neighbour has turned being a nuisance and a bully into something far more sinister and menacing.
When one of their own is cold-bloodedly murdered, the Alliance sets out to get justice. Who is responsible? How can they prove their suspicions? How do they cope with conflict over strategy, unexpected romance and unrequited love, the demands of loyalty, and with loss and sacrifice?
With each twist and turn of their courageous and passionate adventure it becomes clear that there are no easy answers, as the Alliance families and their friends fight for the truth, for freedom and for each other.
For Luke, restless and unsure of where his life is headed, Liberty & Property will no longer simply be his much-treasured family history; he will find the essence of his heritage come alive within him and set him on the path of his destiny.
Terri Sedmak's desire to start writing began at the age of 11 after reading Ivan Southall's 'To the Wild Sky'. It was at this time she discovered she was both musical and creative. She went on to teach choir and music to primary school children, where she also co-produced school musicals, writing scripts and arranging and directing the music.
With thoughts of publishing a novel never far from her mind, Terri left teaching to concentrate on full time writing, eight years ago.
Given her life long passion and profound interest in American history and culture it was an obvious choice for Terri to research and write an historical novel set in Wyoming. Broad travels across the USA allowed her to walk in the footsteps of her characters and conduct further research.
Heartland On the Side of Angels is Terri's first novel and the first volume in The Liberty & Property Legends saga, which will span six novels.
Terri lives in Sydney, Australia. She is married with three children.
Heartland On the Side of Angels
Author: Terri Sedmak
Question: Where did you get the idea for the Liberty & Property Legends series?
Terri Sedmak: The catch phrase 'Liberty & Property' first came to my attention when I was researching the story's protagonist's back-story. His name is Luke. At this stage I hadn't planned a series, this was a stand alone novel, although I started to look at a sequel. Anyway, the catch phrase is from the revolutionary era in US history, when the American colonials were protesting against British taxes and ultimately fought for and won independence from Great Britain and the King. I began to realise that this story I had written actually had a lot more to it, that there was quite a bit more story to be told, and that the American Revolution was part of it. How does Luke, a young man living and working as a rancher in 1880's Wyoming, get to be connected to the birth of his nation? This is what the series is about, how Luke carries it with him every day in his belief in liberty and property. What Luke is able to do is take 'liberty & property' beyond that revolutionary context and apply it to whatever situation he happens to be in. And of course he and his friends and family live very adventurous lives.
John Locke was the great English philosopher who defined liberty and property in works such as Two Treatises of Government in the 1600's. His work profoundly influenced the founding fathers of America to create 'life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness'. Of course this series meant to be a universally entertaining read, so these philosophies are threads interwoven through the life and times, adventures and romances of characters that live in another of my favourite eras in American history, the Wild West frontier.
Question: What research went into Heartland On the Side of Angels?
Terri Sedmak: Research involved reading a score of books on American history, viewing documentaries, and hours and hours on the web, where you can travel the world and have access to the world's libraries and archives. One website leads to another and before you know it you have had your head in the computer for days, weeks and months, the result being you have in your possession the most amazing details about life in another country in another era.
Old photographs, postcards, paintings and maps of all kinds form a treasure trove - absorbing every detail of a streetscape, the architecture of a building, what the people are wearing, how the towns, cities, territories and states are laid out, the shapes and contours of all types of landscapes, the flora and fauna, the seasons... in my mind I know exactly how every bit of the action looks, I have a perfect vision of the characters and their world.
Question: How did you go about writing for 1883?
Terri Sedmak: This period, the 1880's, is like the antique modern era in American history. It's part of the so-called Gilded Age. So much growth is happening, so many of Americans' ideologies, which have grown out of their life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness style of democracy, are being played out and tested. Capitalism, industrialisation, scientific discovery, making your dreams come true, immigration, conflicts over land, rights and expansion are all huge. All in this 'land of opportunity'. This is a great time to write about.
Probably the most important thing for me is that the book is centrally about the characters and the story and the themes, not about how many hundreds of intricate details of life in America in the 1880's I can squish into my novel. People can Google all that for themselves if they want. This is the natural world of the characters so I wanted the era to reveal itself naturally through them and not constantly be described, because then it could become an intrusion by the author, or even worse, slow down the action. My goal is to make reading historical fiction entertaining as well as meaningful. I don't want to write like it's the 'olden times' because it's modern day to the characters. They live in a contemporary world. We are not looking back as much as being there with them. So, once I have imagined their world into being, it's important to go there in my mind and live there with them. These stories are revealing themselves through the characters, rather than me telling a story with them in it. What is not so easy when I'm writing is dragging my brain out of 1880-whatever back into the present day… now that's hard! The lovely thing is that people in the 1880's were doing what we are doing now, they just did it all without software and hard drives. Technology may change our world, but it doesn't change people all that much.
Question: Can you talk about what you want to achieve with the Liberty & Property Legends series?
Terri Sedmak: To have all six books in the series published so the whole story is complete is the ultimate goal. There are many more exciting developments and more wonderful characters to come. So, lots of entertaining reading. Readership in the US, where the series is set, is high on the wish list. Also, I believe it will make a great e-book. That should be happening soon, so I'm looking forward to that. It is hard for me not to get excited about the series because the life and times of these characters are so real to me. And it seems to me that their voices for freedom, justice and social responsibility reach out across every era. We all want to be free to live our lives the best way we can, decently and with dignity. It may be an ideal, and there will always be some people who won't accept or lose sight of the inalienable rights of others and there are consequences of that, but as an ideal it's a noble one.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Available through www.terrisedmak.com