Beth Camp Historical Fiction


Spring view outside my office

Do you ever wonder what life was like in a different time or place? That's what draws me to write. How did people survive despite tumultuous times?

I've always written poetry and short fiction while working -- as an international banker, as a social policy analyst, and finally as an English teacher and Department Chair at Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon.

Once I began teaching, those summer vacations meant Allen (my husband) and I could skip down to Mexico or Guatemala to research indigenous cultures -- to study and to dream. These side trips were rewarded with teaching assignments in Latin American Literature, African literature, and finally, Intro to Humanities, a year-long class which allowed me to dabble into pre-historic cultures, through the Greeks and Romans, the dark and middle ages, Romanticism, the Industrial Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, and modernity with all its rocks, punk and otherwise.

The Humanities class gave us just the right excuse to go on sabbatical, an eight-month study tour of Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, and England, with a month in each country. Unforgettable.

On retiring, I began writing in earnest. My first book, Mother's Don't Die, a thriller about a kidnapping, now sits in a drawer -- for revision maybe someday.

My first historical fiction novel began as a short story about selkies off the coast of  northern Scotland and morphed into Standing Stones. In 1842, a fishing family living in northern Scotland are kicked out of their cottage by a new landowner. Mac, arrested for protesting evictions all over the island, is transported to a prison colony in Van Diemen's Land (Australia). Years of Stone tells 'what happened next' to Mac and Diedre as they struggle to make a new life in Tasmania. 

Rivers of Stone, the third book in this family saga, shifts gears entirely to focus on Catriona and Dougal McDonnell. For Catriona, disguised as a boy, is hired with Dougal by the Hudson's Bay Company. When he's transferred to Fort Vancouver, Cat's quest to find him begins. As I wrote Cat's story, it was quite a thrill to revisit many places in Canada and the Pacific Northwest where we had hiked and camped. Scattered Stones, the fourth book in this series, returns to the Orkney Islands to discover what happened when Dylan left Moira behind to seek work on the railways, not knowing she was pregnant.

Standing Stones enabled us to spend two months in Scotland (the Orkney Islands, Inverness, and Edinburgh). Every library we visited gave me a library card; I am forever grateful for Scottish generosity and their commitment to literacy.

Standing Stones also won second place in historical fiction (2010) at the Pacific Northwest Writers literary contest. Years of Stone placed in the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition (2014). 

Writers build community with readers and other writers. I'm currently active in the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association, Sisters in Crime (national), Puget Sound Sisters in Crime (Seattle), and Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers and appreciate very much the community of online writers on Facebook and the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

We now live in Spokane, Washington, still ready to travel, yet near family with two granddaughters. Writing, quilting, and travel remain my primary interests, and I celebrate Facebook friendships from around the world.

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