Thanks so much for having me! I’m always thrilled to talk about my love of National Parks and how that has played a part in my writing career. First, a little background…when I was in elementary school, I became fascinated by the Civil War. Brother against brother, a divided country…even at a young age I was a history buff and that particular time period was my first “research.” Those were the days when you had to check out library books and look things up in the encyclopedia. ☺
In college, I majored in American Studies/History. While I was browsing my university’s job board and looking for a summer job, I happened across an opening at nearby Shiloh National Military Park. I immediately applied and the rest is history! Talk about a dream job! My childhood interest in the Civil War had prepared me to work in a place where a major battle had taken place. Each morning, I’d drive through entrance and find myself surrounded by artillery pieces and monuments. I got to meet historians on a regular basis and spent my days getting to educate park visitors about the battle. And the research! In my “spare” time at work, I got to dig through old letters, photographs, and documents that I’d use in my ranger talks. I worked for a few years at Shiloh, and during my time there, I grew to love the park service. Preserving these places is so important!
Along the way, it occurred to me that I had a very “odd” job…I dressed up like a Civil War soldier three times a day and fired a musket…I know how to fire a cannon and taught visitors daily how to do so…I had the honor of putting our flag up each morning in the National Cemetery and removing it and folding it at the end of the day. I have many treasured memories of my time as a ranger. It wasn’t unusual for military groups to visit the park, and often retired military groups would visit. I have so many fond memories of getting to visit with veterans from World War II who would attend my programs and stay to talk to me afterward. They’d tell me their own stories of the time they spent serving our country and the brothers in arms they lost.
Those years gave me a new appreciation for our country, and my love of history grew deeper. My time as a ranger also sparked the idea for the Walk in the Park series. Female rangers (at least at the time I worked for the NPS) were in the minority. I loved the idea of writing a series about female park rangers that highlighted different parks and showcased just how different the position can be at each park. Working as a ranger at Shiloh is very different than working at the Grand Canyon!
The Walk in the Park series was so well-received, I began to insert National Parks into my other books as well! In A Wedding to Remember in Charleston, the hero is a ranger at Fort Sumter. Love Finds You in Lancaster features the characters visiting Gettysburg. And in A Wedding Date in Hot Springs, there is a visit to Hot Springs National Park.
Although only three books have released in the Walk in the Park series, there are more to come! I’m so happy to share that those original three books are in the process of being “refreshed.” They will be re-released in the coming months with a few minor changes and will be followed by more in the series.
Love is a Battlefield, book one, is set at—you guessed it—a battlefield! I chose Shiloh National Military Park as the backdrop for that one. One of my very favorite reviews ever mentions that in addition to the love story in the novel, the author’s obvious love of the part is obvious. That is absolutely right—Shiloh is still one of my favorite places on earth. I try and visit when I can, and still keep in touch with some of the rangers I worked with there.
Love is Monumental is set among the monuments of Washington D.C., and was one of my favorite books to research. Before I wrote it, I’d never visited D.C., but I spent time there learning as much as I could about what it was like to be a ranger in the city. Part of my research trip included getting my own card at the Library of Congress. (so fun!) I even wrote the end of the book sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Love is Grand takes place at the Grand Canyon. I visited there as I was writing the book, and visited with a female ranger who gave me some interesting insights about that particular park. It’s truly one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
I’m hopeful that readers who’ve already read the original three books might read them again when they are re-released! I think they’ll be pleased with the edits and additions.
The next book in the Walk in the Park series should release in the fall…Love is Faithful takes place in Yellowstone National Park. (this is the first time I’ve announced the new title! I hope everyone loves it!) I’m super excited about this one and I think my readers will enjoy it. I don’t have the cover to reveal just yet, but look for it on social media in the coming weeks!
Annalisa Daughety is the author of more than fifteen novels and novellas including the Walk in the Park series and Love Finds You in Lancaster County. Her first release, Love Finds You in Charm, was an UPtv original movie in 2015. She writes contemporary stories set in historic locations and classifies her writing style as romantic comedy. Annalisa lives in rural Arkansas along with her husband, three step kids, four dogs, two cats and more chickens and goats than she cares to admit. She enjoys gardening, traveling, and binge watching old shows on Netflix. Learn more at www.annalisadaughety.com.
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About the Book
Kristy O’Neal gave up her dream job as a park ranger at Shiloh National Military Park to get married and move away. When she’s left at the altar, she returns to the park to find her old position has already been filled. She accepts a seasonal position even though it is a step back, career-wise. Working alongside Ace Kennedy (the man who has her old job) is almost more than Kristy can handle. Throw in a matchmaking mother and friends who think she should put herself back in the dating game, and Kristy is nearly at her wits’ end. She sees the past as a battlefield of failed relationships and isn’t sure she’s ready to risk her heart again.
For Ace Kennedy, history offers proof that true love exists. With stories from the park’s rich history in his arsenal, he begins the battle to win Kristy’s heart. But when Kristy learns he’s keeping secrets from her, her skepticism of love seems justified. Can she risk her heart on the battlefield of love one more time or will Ace lose Kristy forever?