Meredith Allard | Down Salem Way | Riveting Historical Fiction

Thanks for joing us on Author Chats, Meredith. I’m fascinated to read more about your work, and the inspiration for your novels. First, a little about your latest book, Down Salem Way.
Down Salem Way
The Loving Husband Series
By Meredith Allard

How would you deal with the madness of the Salem witch hunts?
In 1690, James Wentworth arrives in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his father, John, hoping to continue the success of John’s mercantile business. While in Salem, James falls in love with Elizabeth Jones, a farmer’s daughter. Though they are virtually strangers when they marry, the love between James and Elizabeth grows quickly into a passion that will transcend time.
But something evil lurks down Salem way. Soon many in Salem, town and village, are accused of practicing witchcraft and sending their shapes to harm others. Despite the madness surrounding them, James and Elizabeth are determined to continue the peaceful, loving life they have created together. Will their love for one another carry them through the most difficult challenge of all?
Universal links:
Down Salem Way:
Her Dear and Loving Husband:
Her Loving Husband’s Curse:
Her Loving Husband’s Return:

Let’s chat! Does writing energize or exhaust you and how do you wind down / recharge?
It can be both, actually. Writing a first draft can be exhausting for me because I know that most of what I write in my first draft will be deleted and getting myself going on a new project can be hard. But once I’m past the first draft stage then writing becomes energizing. I can’t wait to get back to work as I see the story I meant to write in the first place begin to materialize.
If you could go anywhere for a year to be inspired for your next book, what setting would you choose and what would you write?
I’m currently writing about the Oregon Trail and I would love to be able to travel it from Missouri to Oregon. That’s not going to happen, unfortunately, but there are a few local sites that I can visit that will give me a little sense of the era. I also used to live in Boise, Idaho, which is there some of my next book is located.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Since I write historical fiction, I do a lot of research into the historical era. I do the old-fashioned library research where I bring home a stack of books and then take notes as I read. I also use scholarly articles. I love to do fun things as well, such as traveling to the place I’m writing about or watching documentaries and listening to music. When I was writing Her Loving Husband’s Curse, the second book in the Loving Husband Series, I visited Salem, Massachusetts. That trip helped me when I was writing Down Salem Way as well because I saw Salem for myself. For my book about the Oregon Trail, which is the next book in the Loving Husband Series, I just visited the Mormon Fort here in Las Vegas, which is from the same time period as the Oregon Trail. I also love to find recipes from the era I’m writing about.
What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I wrote Down Salem from my male character’s, James Wentworth’s, point of view and to be honest I didn’t find it a particular challenge, but that might be because James is the main character in my Loving Husband Series so I knew him pretty well by the time I wrote Down Salem Way. I had been writing from James’ point of view throughout the series, but in the first three books it was in a third person limited narration. Down Salem Way is written in first-person point of view as the journal James keeps while experiencing the Salem Witch Trials.
I think there are a few key points to understand in the difference between how men and women look at and respond to the world, but you can learn that from research and quite simply just from seeing how the men and women in your life respond to similar situations. I love to challenge myself when I’m writing, so writing a diary from James’ point of view was something I found fascinating rather than challenging.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do believe in writer’s block and I have suffered from it on many occasions. To me, it’s not so much writer’s block as ideas block—usually when I’m stumped it’s because I don’t have any ideas about where the story is going or what to write next. That’s why I’m a big believer in prewriting activities such as journaling and keeping a writer’s notebook. If I jot down all of my ideas where I can easily find them then when I’m sitting at the computer twiddling my thumbs I can pull out my notebook and see what ideas I’ve already come up with. This practice has helped me a lot over the years.
Tell us more about your latest book. What was your work schedule like when writing this book?
I’m also a writing teacher, so when I got home in the afternoon I would write usually from about 4 pm until about 7 or 8 pm. During summers I can write whenever I want, but interestingly I still do my fiction writing I the late afternoon/early evening. I think my brain is used to being creative during that time.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene for me to write in Down Salem Way was the scene where James visits Elizabeth in prison. Since the story is set during the Salem Witch Trials, there were a few difficult scenes, but that one was tough enough that I stopped writing for about a week because I had to write the scene in pieces.
How long did it take you to research and write this book; were there any “wrong turns” along the way?
Since Down Salem Way is part of the Loving Husband Series, I had already done a lot of research into the Salem Witch Trials prior to writing this book. I did more research into Salem in the late 17th century for Down Salem Way, and I also had to learn a lot more about what daily life was like in Salem. The Salem Witch Trials are a fascinating yet sad time in American history, and I enjoyed learning more about it. I enjoy learning about history so it’s a good thing I write historical fiction!
It took about two years for me to write this book because I had a huge wrong turn with my first draft. When I first started writing Down Salem Way I thought it would be a prequel and a sequel to the Loving Husband Trilogy. I wrestled with that draft and I wasn’t happy with it so I turned the story into just a prequel and it worked much better that way.
Were there days you had to “kick-start” yourself to write? How did you overcome the dreaded “blank screen?”
In that time between my first and second draft I had to kick start myself a lot because I wasn’t sure what the story was going to look like so it was easier just to not write. I worked on other projects and put the story aside. Then when the prequel idea dawned on me it was easier for me to get myself to the computer and get writing.

Meredith Allard is the author of the bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her nonfiction book, Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction, was named a #1 New Release in Authorship and Creativity Self-Help by Amazon. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit Meredith online at
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