Where did you get the idea for BANISHED LOVE?
In the summer of 2010, I stood fishing in a river in Montana and a story began to float through my mind as I cast. I saw two characters separated by social class but determined to be together. I had never imagined myself a writer, so it took a few months before I sat down to write. When I began writing, I soon understood this would be a longer than average book and it metamorphosed into a series. From that moment on the river, the BANISHED saga began to take shape.
Why did you choose to write about life in 1900 America?
At the start of my research, I researched the train schedules leaving Boston and learned about train service to the west. Once I had the time frame established (good service by the 1870s to the areas that interested me), I began to research different years for my novel. I discovered that there were many parallels between 1900 and today and those parallels fascinated me. Many of the struggles my characters face we continue to face today. The social upheaval, involvement in an unpopular foreign war, the roles of women, the increasing modernization and its affect on daily life all resonated with me and gave me a wealth of information to work with.
Do you like to do research?
I love research. I often have to limit the amount of time I will research a topic or all of my writing time will be spent on research and nothing will ever be written.
Besides reading books, what else have you done for research?
A few of my characters are blacksmiths, so I took a blacksmithing class to learn more about the craft and what it feels like to work with an anvil and hammer out a piece of steel. I made a decent looking hook in my class. I went on the “Underground Mine Tour” at the World Museum of Mining in Butte Montana. I wanted to know what it felt like to be underground with a miner’s hat on in the dark and what it smelled like. I have taken walking tours around the cities I write about, most specifically Boston and Butte, Montana.
What traits do you share with your main character, Clarissa Sullivan?
Clarissa is loyal, dedicated to family, and a feminist. Those are all traits I share with her. I’m also a bit of a klutz.
Did any of your inspiration for this book originate in your real life experiences?
Somewhat. My grandmothers were strong women and although they might not have called themselves feminists, they were wonderful role models and raised strong, independent women. At times I can hear them when I write, especially when Sophronia is talking to me.
Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it?
BANISHED LOVE is Book One of the Banished Saga. Book Two, RECLAIMED LOVE is due out in the Fall of 2014. Book Three, REDEEMED LOVE, will be available sometime in 2015. All of the novels follow Clarissa and Gabriel on their journey.
Ramona Flightner is a native of Missoula, Montana. After graduating from Tufts University with a B.A. in Spanish, she earned a Masters degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Montana.
Her Master’s thesis, Chilean Testimonial Literature: the collective suffering of a people, highlighted her continued interest in the stories of those who were at risk of being forgotten or silenced.
She studied nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Master’s in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has worked for ten years as a Family Nurse Practitioner providing care to the poor and under-insured at two community health centers, first in Wilmington, Delaware and now in Boston, Massachusetts.
An avid reader, she began writing three years ago. She enjoys the demands of research and relishes the small discoveries that give historical detail to her books. Ramona is an avid flyfisher and hiker who enjoys nothing better than spending a day on a remote Montana river, far from a city.
She enjoys research, travel, storytelling, learning about new cultures and discovering new ways of looking at the world.
Though she resides in Boston, Massachusetts, Ramona remains a Montanan at heart. Her dreams are to see the plains of East Africa, marvel at the wonder of Petra in Jordan, soak in the seas of the South Pacific, and to continue to spend as much time as possible with her family.
BANISHED LOVE is her first novel and is the first in the forthcoming Banished Saga.