My inspiration for writing about the Civil War had an unusual beginning. During high school, I wasn’t really interested in history, probably because I had a mundane, monotone teacher. Years later, I moved to Colorado, and became fascinated with the Victorian era because of the old mining and mountain towns. While in Glenwood Springs, I entered a contest at a toy store to win a trip to Gettysburg. Looking back, I think it was divine intervention of some sort, because I won. I had never seen a battlefield of any kind before, so when I saw the Gettysburg battlefield, I was awestruck. It was much larger than I had ever imagined, and when I started hearing some of the heart wrenching stories about the soldiers, I wanted to write one of my own. I decided to incorporate some of their stories into my book.
I wrote A Beckoning Hellfire, but decided it was too long, so I split it in two. The second half became A Rebel Among Us. I then wrote another sequel, yet to be published, and a prequel titled A Beautiful Glittering Lie. The Renegade Series is based on real life situations, although the main characters are fictitious. The series revolves around a family from north Alabama, and how the war impacts their lives. I wanted to write from the Southern perspective to give readers an idea of what a typical Southern soldier fought for and experienced. Growing up in Iowa, I was taught that the Civil War was fought over slavery, but I couldn’t understand why every Southern soldier would fight to preserve such an evil institution. After doing my own research, I learned that wasn’t the case at all. So I decided to write a story about why Southerners (and those who didn’t own slaves) fought for Dixie. A Rebel Among Us is unique from the first two books in the series, because it doesn’t involve battle scenes, it has a strong romantic element, and it discusses attitudes and opinions from both sides of the war.
A Beautiful, Glittering Lie (Renegade #1)
In the spring of 1861, a country once united is fractured by war. Half of America fights for the Confederate cause; the other, for unification. Rebel forces have already seized Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines, a new Confederate president has been elected, and the Constitution has been revised. In north Alabama, a farmer and father of three decides to enlist. For Hiram Summers, it is the end of everything he has ever known.
After Hiram travels to Virginia with the Fourth Alabama Infantry Regiment, he is quickly thrust into combat. His son, David, who must stay behind, searches for adventure at home by traipsing to Huntsville with his best friend, Jake Kimball, to scrutinize invading Yankees. Meanwhile, Caroline – Hiram’s wife and David’s mother – struggles to keep up with the farm as her world revolves around the letters she receives from her husband, whom she misses dearly. As Hiram and his son discover the true meaning of war, they soon realize that their choices have torn their family apart.
In this historical tale, the naïveté of a young country is tested, a father sacrifices everything to defend his home, and a young man longs for adventure – regardless of the perilous cost.
Winner of the 2013 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award
2012 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree
Winner of Editor’s Choice Award
Honorable Mention – 2013 DIY Book Festival
Honorable Mention – 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival
Civil war tore families apart, and many of those families fought to stay together every step of the way. A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a novel of the American Civil War, as J.D.R. Hawkins writes of the Summers family and the rift the war brought to their family. Drawing on her heritage to tell the tale, Hawkins presents an insightful and riveting read of a family at war. A Beautiful Glittering Lie is a strong pick for historical fiction collections. ~ Able Greenspan- Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
A Beckoning Hellfire (Renegade #2)
During the bloody American Civil War, the stark reality of death leads one young man on a course of revenge that takes him from his quiet farm in northern Alabama to the horrific battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.
On Christmas Eve 1862, David Summers hears the dreaded news: his father has perished at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reeling with grief and thoughts of vengeance, David enlists and sets off for Richmond to join the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
But once in the cavalry, David’s life changes drastically, and his dream of glamorous chivalry becomes nothing but a cold, cruel existence of pain and suffering. He is hurled into one battle after another, and his desire for revenge wanes when he experiences first-hand the catastrophes of war.
A haunting look at the human side of one of America’s most tragic conflicts, A Beckoning Hellfire speaks to the delusion of war’s idealism.
Hawkins should be nicknamed `Arachne’ for the beautiful tapestries she weaves of the Civil War. Without a doubt, 5/5 stars. ~ Susan Barton
The author gives the reader a realistic view of the horrors of the battlefield, along with the characters’ reactions to all that happens around them. ~ Elaine
A Rebel Among Us (Renegade #3)
After David Summers enlists with the Confederate cavalry, his delusion of chivalry is soon crushed when he witnesses the horrors of battle. Shot by a Union picket, he winds up at a stranger’s farm. Four girls compassionately nurse him back to health. David learns his comrades have deserted him in Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg, but his dilemma becomes much worse. He falls in love with the older sister, Anna, who entices him with a proposition. To his dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, or return to the army and risk capture?
About the Author
J.D.R. Hawkins is an award-winning author who has written for newspapers, magazines, newsletters, e-zines, and blogs. She is one of a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective.
Her Renegade Series includes A Beautiful Glittering Lie, A Beckoning Hellfire, and A Rebel Among Us. All three novels are award winners, and tell the story of a family from north Alabama who experience immeasurable pain when their lives are dramatically changed by the war. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. She is also an artist and singer/songwriter. Ms. Hawkins is currently working on a nonfiction book about the War Between the States, as well as another sequel to her series.