Inspiration for the Book: A Husband for Margaret (The Names and Ages)

The sample scene I posted when Joseph Connealy is traveling to Omaha with four young boys can be found here.  Today I’m going to look at the inspiration behind the scene and the names I chose for the father and his boys.  😀

Behind the Names

In the book, Joseph Connealy was a widower with four boys ages 2-7.  My grandfather was a widower, but he only had one son named Ben.  He married my grandmother and they had four boys: Doug, Bob, John, and Charles.  My dad’s name was John (he’s passed away now).  Since I had used the name John for the hero in Loving Eliza  (I’ll have to do another post on that in the future because there’s more to it than that), I decided to use the name Ben.  Instead of Ben being the oldest, I made him the youngest.  My grandmother’s name was Josephine, so I changed it to Joseph and gave it to the hero of “A Husband for Margaret.”  (Richard, by the way, was my grandfather’s name and I already gave that name to Richard Larson.  That’s why I didn’t use my grandfather’s name.)

Behind the Personalities of the Children

As for the personalities of the children, I took that from my uncles.  Doug was always more serious and reserved.  Bob was, by the far, the most outgoing one of the group.  Charles was also outgoing, but not as much as Bob, and he ended up singing children songs in Canada.  When I write about Charles in a future book, he’ll do something with music.  I never really knew Ben except for a couple times I communicated with him, so giving him the youngest role seemed to fit best.  I did marry Ben off to Emily Craftsman’s friend (Alice).  That was in Isaac’s Decision. Ben ended up becoming someone steady and predictable.  That doesn’t make for the most exciting person in the world, but he’s someone you can depend on if you ever need him.

Behind the Children’s Ages

Doug was 7, Bob was 6, Charles was 3, and Ben was 2.  I based their ages off my boys’ ages (giving one year leeway).  I wanted the kids to be realistic, and the best way to do that was to base them on how old my kids were at the time.  My oldest was 7, my second was 6, my third was 4, and my fourth was 3.  So I lowered the ages for Charles and Ben by one year.  All I can say is that having that many kids so close in age isn’t for the faint of heart.  LOL

The Scene on the Train

This is a play-by-play account of how long trips with my kids typically go.  The first hour was usually okay, but somewhere into the second to third hour, things would go crazy.  So I imagine poor Joseph spent what felt like an eternity going from Dayton to Omaha on a train.

More Mayhem With the Kids Taken From Real Life

For fun, I’ll post a scene from when Margaret is trying to clean up one of the kids after he gets diarrhea from drinking milk.  That was also a play-by-play account of something I had dealt with just one week prior to writing it in the story (and yes, my own kid had diarrhea after drinking milk).  Ironically, it’s only when you’re running all over the house to get kids cleaned up does someone either come to the door or call on the phone, which is why I had the salesman pop up during that scene.  😀  I’ll post that scene up tomorrow.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to
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17 Responses to Inspiration for the Book: A Husband for Margaret (The Names and Ages)

  1. I think we draw from things in real life for our stories a lot, but many times we don’t even realize it. Of course, you knew exactly where your inspiration came from. 🙂

    • Most of the time, I write by the seat of my pants so most of it comes to me as I’m going along. But when I look back on it, I can see how something in my life influenced the direction a book took. That part of writing amazes me because it’s not something I realize at the time. 😀 Is that the same for you?

      • I usually write by the seat of my pants, but I’ve found myself sort of outlining in my head lately. But the characters still surprise me most of the time. I don’t see how we CAN write without our lives influencing things just a little.

        • I have a much easier time writing if I can think of several scenes ahead of time. I think the hardest part of writing is coming up with the ideas. And I can’t see how our lives wouldn’t influence our writing either.

  2. Kesia Saenz says:

    ❤ this behind the scenes post…. A Husband for Margaret is one of my faves, possibly even my absolute favorite that you have written. Thanks for sharing how you came up with it!

    • Thanks, Kesia! When I was writing the end where Margaret schemes with the kids to get rid of the woman who wouldn’t leave Joseph alone, I kept seeing the TV show “I Love Lucy” when Joseph catches on to what she’s going. “I Love Lucy” is an old show, but it’s my favorite because of all the trouble Lucy would go through to get on stage. Whenever I think of this book, I think of that TV show. 😀

  3. Gail Palmere says:

    Thank you very much for the book: “Her Counterfeit Husband”. I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading about Perry. I also read “The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife” which I really enjoyed. I really liked the character, Perry. He had a good sense of humor. I am also looking forward to other stories with the same characters. Thank you again for choosing me to receive your book. I also enjoyed the books by Rose Gordon & Lauralynn Elliott.

    Gail Palmere

    • Thanks, Gail! I really appreciate the kind words, and I’m glad you enjoy Rose Gordon’s and Lauralynn Elliott’s books, too! I’m fortunate to have met them because they are really nice and down-to-earth. I’ve been thinking of the right plot for Perry’s book. I made an attempt to fix him up with Catherine in my current work in progress (“A Most Unsuitable Earl”), and that attempt failed. So he’s lost a potential bride twice (first Claire and now Catherine). But the third time’s the charm, and I have in mind a young lady who is so desperate to avoid marriage to someone (haven’t decided who yet) that she creates a scandal with Perry in order to marry him instead. I’m hoping that will be a comedy. I haven’t picked a title yet and I’m still working on the plot, but I finally decided that’s what triggers his marriage. 😀

      • Gail Palmere says:

        A comedy would be great. I am looking forward to it. I really like Perry and would like to see him end up with someone who really cares about him. I really love to read many varieties of books.

        • I felt bad for Perry in the Earl book. The poor guy wanted so badly to get married but didn’t. 😀

          I also like to read a variety of books, though I still can’t get into biographies. Do you have any types of books you don’t like?

          • Gail Palmere says:

            I do not read a lot of nonfiction. When I read, I like to escape reality. I can get involved in other peoples exploits. I have tried reading “Catch 22” several times, but I have never been able to get through the entire book. I have read quite a few biographies and a few autobiographies, but I prefer fiction. I cannot really decide which is my favorite type of book. My mother was a reader. When she passed away, my sister, sister-in-laws, and I split up her books which were mostly romance and historical romance. I would love to be able to write the story of my parents meeting, but I am not good at writing.

            • What is “Catch-22” about? I’ve heard of it only by the title. Escaping is nice. 😀 I guess I escape by writing, so I get enough of it out of my system 😀 I have a friend who wrote a story loosely based off her grandparents. She used their wedding picture for the cover and had an application he had submitted to the fire department. What about making a short story? You don’t have to write it with the thought of selling it. I’ve written about meeting my husband and some information about my children for a family keepsake (so I kept it in private status on Lulu). I like Lulu because you can write shorter stuff for personal use without showing it to the public. (Just an idea.)

  4. I love reading what inspired the book. 😀

  5. Very interesting! It’s always fun to see the thought process behind charactets!

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