Tuesday, September 8, 2020

HHH Blogger Spotlight -- Michelle Shocklee

Hello from Tennessee!

I'm Michelle Shocklee, one of the regular bloggers here on the HHH blog. I'm a Rocky Mountain girl at heart---born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico--but I've also lived in Oklahoma and Texas. As empty-nesters, hubby and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee three years ago where we work as Estate Caretakers, a very unique and rewarding career. I enjoy reading, painting, traveling, and being out-of-doors in God's beautiful world, but admittedly, only if the temperature and humidity are just right. Ha!

I come from a family of book lovers. Mom was an elementary school teacher for 25 years, and Dad was an engineer with a love of history. I have fond memories of them relaxing in the evenings, each with a book in hand. 

Yet despite growing up surrounded by books, it never occurred to me to write one of my own until I was in my late 20s. I wrote my first novel longhand in notebooks, scratching out so many words and lines, I eventually couldn't read the thing. I put aside my novel when my sons were born, but the writing bug bit again once they entered school. By then I realized I needed help learning the craft of writing, so I attended writing conferences as time and budget allowed. Publication was still many years away, but I've come to understand God has a plan and a timetable for everything.

Since we lived in Texas, I decided to set my first series, The Women of Rose Hill, on a Texas cotton plantation, before and after the Civil War. You'll remember I'm not a Texas girl, knowing very little about Texas history beyond the Alamo, so I enjoyed diving into the history of the Lone Star state. Imagine how surprised I was to discover that slaves toiled under the hot Texas sun in the very area where I was raising my family. I also read about the early Texas Rangers, slaves escaping to Mexico, and about Juneteenth--the day in June 1865 when the Union Army arrived on Texas' shores at Galveston, bearing a declaration that would ultimately bring freedom to the more than 200,000 slaves still in bondage. I've incorporated much of this fascinating history into Adella's and Natalie's stories.


Researching slavery is a heart-and-gut-wrenching endeavor, but I wanted my books to portray it honestly. I discovered a body of work known as the Slave Narratives--stories told by former slaves to employees of the Federal Writers' Project--that transformed my books. I shared a bit about the narratives yesterday in my post here on the HHH blog, so I won't repeat it now. But suffice it to say, I was so completely captivated by the narratives, I decided to write a novel based on the Federal Writers' Project Slave Narratives of 1936. That book, Under the Tulip Tree, released today--YAY!!--and is now available at your favorite online bookstore and in many brick-and-mortar stores as well. 

I'd love to connect with you over on my website or on any of my social media outlets. If you're interested in purchasing some of my books, pop over to my website for various retailer options or visit my Amazon page

Every blessing,

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your book! I enjoyed your post yesterday. Thanks for sharing more about yourself.