June 20, 2014

Inspired by Locale, History, & Antebellum Plantation Homes

By B. J. Robinson 

What inspires your muse? As a lover of the outdoors and nature, I’m often inspired by spending time outside, especially around water such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean. Lately, I’ve found myself inspired by history of the antebellum era and touring old plantation homes. This is how I came to write my two latest novels River Oaks Plantation and Romance under the Oaks. Taking tours seeped in history allowed my mind to wander and wonder. Two novels were the result.

I’m also a product of the South complete with an accent that announces it, so locale plays an important part. If it’s about the South, I’ll be inspired. Due to this, other writers such as Eva Marie Everson inspire my muse. I loved her novel Unconditional and think it’s her best yet, though I also enjoyed her Cedar Key Series and Things Left Unspoken. If you’re stuck, read other authors in your genre or who write and set their books in a locale that inspires your muse.

As a teen, I loved Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind and always wanted to write a novel set on a plantation. There is something about the old homes beneath the live oaks and Spanish moss that stir me with romance of the past. I can’t help but imagine what life must have been like for young couples living during the antebellum era, ones who had to endure the Civil War. From the depths of my mind and history, I create characters that will transport you to another era.

One thing I am thankful for is that we don’t have to wear the yards of material and layers women did in those days. Gardening had to be an art. The South is too hot and humid to wear layers of clothing while gardening. I love the outdoors and working in my flowers, but I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed it back in the day.

My novels are character driven, and I’m a morning writer. I’ve always felt I did my best writing then. Once I get into a novel, the characters tell their story. In the wee hours of morning, I’m perking with the coffee.

In my latest novel, Romance under the Oaks, Celina loves the city of New Orleans, and Jacques loves the bayou country and quiet plantation life. Their differences and secrets could drive them apart. Celina hides something in the wall of the plantation and never tells Jacques about it. He keeps something from her even while he romances her under the oaks. Can their love survive differences and secrets? This family saga set on a planation fifty miles from New Orleans is more than a love story. It’s rich in New Orleans history. Learning inspired my muse as I researched and discovered things I never knew, though I was born in New Orleans.

So, what inspires my muse? Outdoors, nature, oak trees, Spanish moss, the antebellum era, old New Orleans, plantation homes, history, research, and learning, and reading other authors all enhance my creative mind and inspire me to create other worlds through characters who lived in the past and tell their own stories.
B. J. Robinson is a multi-published, prize-winning author of Christian romantic suspense and historical romance.  River Oaks Plantation is a finalist in the Grace Awards.  She writes from Florida, blessed with her husband, children, grandchildren, pets, and faith. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and reviewing books. Visit her at
Historical Romance Author Page
Romantic Suspense Page
Louisiana Southern Reads Page

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