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TJ

My debut novel, The Legacy (April 2008), is a historical romance about the destructive nature of secrets. Set in 1525 Wittenberg, Germany, the novel weaves events occurring during the Early Reformation period into an intimate love story played out on the canvas of history.

I was inspired to write this outside-the-box historical romance about a printer and the runaway nun he is blackmailed into marrying when I came across a book entitled Martin Luther Had a Wife. The book described how the sixteenth-century religious reformer met and married Katherine von Bora, an ex-nun. She and eleven other nuns engineered a daring escape from a convent and fled to Luther’s doorstep in Wittenberg, asking for help in starting a new life. Luther decided to help the women, finding most of them husbands in a round of hasty matchmaking. The twelfth nun, Katherine von Bora, decided she’d rather marry Luther than anyone else, and theirs became one of the great love matches of history.

The Legacy

It got me thinking: What must it have been like for the other eleven women? They went from nun to wife in such a short time, most of them marrying strangers. And what if one of those women hadn’t wanted to marry the man chosen for her as a mate? The idea morphed into one of intrigue and suspense: What if an escaped nun was recaptured by her family and forced to marry a certain man for reasons she didn’t understand? And what if his reasons for marrying her were just as mysterious? Thus, The Legacy was born.

I created the three Behaim brothers to tell the story, one of whom is thrust into an arranged marriage with Sabina von Ziegler, a runaway nun with a tragic past. In the beginning, neither plans to consummate the marriage they each want to have annulled, but they find themselves challenged by a fiery passion they cannot resist. In addition, they must also solve a mystery revolving around why Sabina’s adopted father forced these two together in the first place. In the course of their discoveries, they find love and a truth that sets them free from their past.

While writing The Legacy, I also came across research describing the lives of the 16th century German mercenaries known as Landsknechts, or servants of the country. These mercenaries were hired by the Holy Roman Emperor, among others, to fight territorial battles between the major powers of the day (France, England, Germany, Spain, and the Low Countries). I was so fascinated with the difficult and spectacular lives of these men, I decided to make one of the Behaim brothers a mercenary fighting in Charles V’s Italian campaigns. Gรผnter Behaim meets and falls for a Spanish blade artisan’s daughter who believes she is cursed. Their romantic adventure is featured in The Promise, available May 2009.

I hope readers will find the settings for these books a refreshing addition to their usual historical novels. If you’ve had a chance to read The Legacy, let me know what you think! You can stop by my website and read excerpts, send me an e-mail, check out pictures of conferences I’ve attended, and comment on my blog.

In addition, I’m giving away a free book and a $40 gift certificate to either B&N or GermanDeli.com (a German foods importer) to any one who comments on at least two of the blogs I’m touring. Comment here. For a list of the other places, check out my blog. Good luck!


39 thoughts on “TJ Bennett Blogs on The Legacy

  1. Margay says:

    TJ, this sounds like a fascinating book! It really is outside the box, too. I don’t think I’ve ever come across one set in Germany during this time period. I will have to keep my eyes open for it.

  2. Marg says:

    This does sound like a fascinating premise!

  3. Shana Shana says:

    Thanks for blogging with us today, TJ! I was privileged enough to read an advanced copy of THE LEGEND, and I assure all of you, it’s one of the best books I’ve read in years. If you’re tired of books set in Regency England–Wait. Okay, who could get tired of that? But it you want something a little different–buy this book. You will not be disappointed.

  4. brownone says:

    Wow, I love the storyline! It seems like a great change of pace! I’ll definately be keeping my eyes out for it!

  5. Teresa W. says:

    Enjoyed the interview today and good luck on the release!

  6. Margo Maguire says:

    Thanks for blogging with us today, TJ – what an intriguing premise for a book. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. anne says:

    The Legacy sounds amazing. Best of luck and I will look for this unique novel. Congratulations on this wonderful release.

  8. MsHellion says:

    I cannot wait until my copy arrives! The premise is just so outstanding; I know big-whig publishers have to look out for the bottom line and all, but I seriously think they’ll be kicking themselves for not giving this idea a chance. There is more room than just promoting 4 new Regency books a month…I mean, seriously, now many dukes and earls can there be? (This is why I enjoy Elizabeth Hoyt’s books–not conventional either, but brilliant. I think this will be along those lines. I can’t wait!)

  9. Robyn DeHart says:

    Welcome TJ, thanks for joining us. Wow, your book sounds so fascinating to me, I will definitely have to pick up a copy. So tell us, have you always written historicals with less traditional locals and time periods? Or was it just this one series that really pulled you?

  10. Hi TJ!

    I’m still squeeing with you over the arrival of your books!

  11. Dorothy says:

    Hello TJ. The Legacy sounds like someting I’d be interested in reading. I’ll be sure to look for it when I go to the bookstore next.

  12. petite says:

    The story has captivated me. Congratulations on The Legacy and I enjoyed the interview.

  13. Deanne says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! You’ll hear my squee when I do. LOL. Congrats on the first of many releases!

  14. TJ Bennett says:

    Hi, ladies! I’m a bit late to the party. Sorry! Work issues in my “day” job. I’ll be hanging out more this afternoon and answering questions, but wanted to say thank you to the Sisterhood for having me here today to talk about THE LEGACY. Ooo, and I see a few people here who just qualified for a chance to win my contest! ๐Ÿ˜€ Welcome back to the tour, ladies! I feel like I have my own groupies, LOL!

    To answer Robyn’s question, before this book, I’d never written anything! Seriously, this was my first book (I’ve completed three more since then). I was an avid reader of romance, however, and just couldn’t shake the idea that there was room for more in the historical romance genre than lairds and ladies, although I don’t knock them either (I love a good Scottish historical or a well-written Regency, like Shana’s RITA NOMINATED BLACKTHORNE’S BRIDE (WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP!!!) This book was a learning experience for me. When I stumbled across the story of Martin Luther and his wife, my imagination went wild. I’d been thinking about trying my hand at a historical for a while, and my husband encouraged me to try. I did. It took me six years to get this one right, but I think it turned out pretty good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’ll pop back in a couple of hours to answer more questions, if anybody has them. In the meantime, the book should be shipping to stores this week, and if you’ve preordered on Amazon, they should be shipping stock soon. I hope you all get a chance to buy one and enjoy!

    TJB

  15. Mary M says:

    I feel like a mere echo because I’m here late to say your book sounds great! Do you think you’ll ever write about the German Hessians who fought for the British in this country?

  16. Fedora says:

    Hi, TJ, I’m glad to learn of your books! They sound fascinating–I haven’t done too much reading about that part of history, and have always enjoyed reading books inspired by real past events and people!

    You mentioned three brothers–is there another book after The Promise to look forward to?

    And do you have other stories you’re itching to tell? What’s next? ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. catslady says:

    Oh historicals have always been my favorite and I’m always looking for something new and different and your books sounds fascinating.

  18. Brenda says:

    I love the premise. I am so looking forward to getting my hands on a copy and reading this book!

  19. TJ Bennett says:

    Mary, I hadn’t thought about the Hessians, but that would certainly make for an interesting book! Fedora, I do have another story in mind for the youngest brother, Peter, but I don’t know when or if it will get written. I don’t have one under contract right now, but obviously, timing, publisher interest, and the success of The Legacy and The Promise will be key decision-making factors. I think Peter deserves his own story, too, personally. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Catslady and Brenda, let me know when you get your book! It would be interesting to see where they start showing up first.

    TJB

  20. Amy Addison says:

    Isn’t it amazing where inspiration can come from? Your book sounds wonderful.

    Thanks for the interview.

  21. Love the post, TJ.

    I love hearing about where other writers get their ideas and inspiration.

    Thanks…

    CC

  22. Mary M says:

    I’ve never posted twice before but just wanted to let you know that I called my local Barnes & Noble to order it and they said they already have one on order but it’s not in their warehouse yet. They also gave me the number of your publisher to call and ask why it wasn’t there yet.

    So, I called your publisher and gave them the information about my local bookstore. They said I could order it online at amazon.

  23. Helen says:

    I will be looking for this book sounds fantastic. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have Fun
    Helen

  24. Robin Haseltine says:

    Glad there’ll be a sequel continuing the story. I hate diving into a world, then having it end after only one book. Looking forward to your launch!

  25. Kathryn says:

    What a neat concept and great story idea!!! I love reading what germinates an idea and this was exceptional. I can’t wait to read this book.

  26. Robyn DeHart says:

    Tsk, tsk, TJ, don’t tell other authors that you sold your first book, then we’ll have to hate you. Okay well, maybe not, but still makes the rest of feel like slooooow learners. ๐Ÿ˜€ Says Robyn who sold her 5th book after 7 grueling years….

  27. TJ Bennett says:

    Mary M–wow, a woman after my own heart! FYI, the book was one of the titles affected by a recent printing plant fire, so the release was delayed a few days, causing discombobulations everywhere down the line. I received my author copies on Saturday, however, and the printer shipped mine at the same time they sent the rest to my publisher’s distributor, so we should see them reaching store warehouses this week. Keep asking for them, however! The more folks who demand for their local bookstores to carry THE LEGACY, the more likely the stores will be to order more copies in case anyone else wants them, and the better sales will be. This encourages the growth of independent publishers like Medallion Press, and keeps a variety of reading choices available for us all to choose. Thanks for going the extra mile, Mary!

    TJB

  28. TJ Bennett says:

    Hey, Amy, Christie, Helen and Kathyrn! Thanks for visiting the Juanty Quills today! And Robin, I know what you mean about diving into a new world. It was hard for me to leave it too, and I have all that lovely research stuffed in my file cabinet drawers… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And Robin, don’t feel bad–it took me six years to sell my first book (eight before it actually got published), and I don’t even want to tell you how many times I rewrote it before it sold. LOL! Still, I love this story and it was well worth my time. I sold the follow up novel in less than a year, and to answer Fedora’s other question (which I neglected to do earlier), I have a paranormal romance I’m shopping around right now. Actually, it is a cop story–just so happens the cop is from another dimension. Still doing that world-building thang, I guess. ๐Ÿ˜€

    TJB

  29. TJ Bennett says:

    Of course I meant ROBYN…sorry about that. You wouldn’t believe how many Robins and variations thereof I know–including my husband! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    TJB

  30. Virginia H. says:

    I love the way The Legacy was born. Author amaze me by the way they come up with their stories. The Legacy sound like a fantastic historical and I would love to read it.

  31. Pam P says:

    Hi TJ. I love reading about the lairds and ladies, but also love to mix it up with something different, and I love your premise, all very interesting.

  32. kim h says:

    sounds great.

  33. Gail says:

    Congratulation T.J. I have placed my order for a copy of your book. I especially enjoy related books and am glad to hear you are already well on your way to working on more books within the same time frame and setting.

  34. TJ Bennett says:

    Hi, Virginia, Pam P, Kim H, and Gail! Thanks for ordering the book and encouraging the growth of outside-the-box historicals, ladies. Hope you enjoy the read. I’ve gotten a number of very positive reviews on the book (in fact, so far, no bad ones, thank goodness), and received notice of another today. I’m glad people are liking the book. It makes me breath a little easier. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Feel free, everyone, to visit my website, read the reviews, check out my blog, and generally make merry. And a big THANK YOU to the Sisterhood for having me here today, and in particular, to Shana for inviting me.

    On April 9, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll go through all the posts on all four blogs to determine those names to be entered into my contest. Then all the names will go into a hat-like object and I’ll pick a winner. Or maybe I’ll let my hubby do it. Either way, I’ll post the winning name on my blog at http://www.tjbsopinion.blogspot.com. The winner can contact me through my website to send me their information and to receive their FREE autographed copy of The Legacy and their choice of a B&N gift certificate or an e-certificate from GermanDeli.com.

    See ya on Wednesday!

    TJB

  35. limecello says:

    Hi TJ,
    Thanks for visiting! Hm I seem to have missed a lot of blogs I normally visit yesterday ๐Ÿ™ Your book sounds so fascinating! Nuns and marriage, daring escapes! Love it!

  36. doglady says:

    Hey, TJ!

    Saw you at History Hoydens and Booksquare and thought I would drop by here. I am the supposed historical romance “expert” at our local bookstore and I told the owner (I call her my supplier as she supplies the source of my addiction – books!)to order some copies of The Legacy. I think it will go over really well in our small Southern town. Something out of the ordinary or “out of the box” tends to do so. I love the action adventure aspect to your story and the mercenaries sound fascinating. Okay, and six years makes me feel a bit better. I have only been writing seriously a little over a year so I have a ways to go. What makes you stick with it when you get down?

  37. TJ Bennett says:

    Hey, limecello. Thanks for going back over the tour and catching up! I appreciate it.

    Doglady, it’s interesting you should ask me what makes me stick with writing when I get down. Writing is such a solitary pursuit, with years of rejections for most of us before we sell. It is so easy to get discouraged. We have to believe we can write, despite all evidence to the contrary. One thing that helps is to have friends who support your writing goals, of which I have many–other writers who understand how hard it is to get there from here. Join a good critique group who will give honest feedback on your progress. Enter contests, because that’s the best way to find out what people (strangers) really think about your work. When you start finalling or winning, it is great validation of your efforts (but be prepared for those times when the judges don’t “get” you). In my case, I can’t “not” write. I keep trying to quit, and just like Michael Corleone, every time I think I’m out of it, they pull me back in. I actually HAD quit seriously, for good, at one point, and then the very next day I got THE CALL. Yep. I figured that was God’s way of telling me I needed to reconsider my decision, and I haven’t looked back since. ๐Ÿ˜†

    TJB

  38. DianeH says:

    The more details you leak about The Legacy, the more I am banging my head against the front door, just waiting for the book to ship. I want my book!

    Frankly, I also want there to be a movie.

    After I read the book, I will send you my recommendations on casting. After all, I’m sure the writer has so much say.

    Hugs,
    Diane

  39. TJ Bennett says:

    Diane, you quack me up! :rotfl:

    Hey, folks, in case you didn’t catch the announcement over on my website, we have a winner for the blot book tours! BROWNONE is the winner of her/his choice of a gift certificate from B&N or GermanDeli.com and a free autographed copy of The Legacy. Please visit my website’s contest page and send me an e-mail to claim your prize, BROWNONE.

    http://www.tjbennett.com

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