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Author Q&A ft @DHPorterauthor | The Children of the Light Trilogy Book Tour and #Giveaway | #HistoricalRomance

The Children of the Light Trilogy by Donna Hechler Porter is on virtual book tour. The historical romance stops at Readeropolis wi...

The Children of the Light Trilogy by Donna Hechler Porter is on virtual book tour.

The historical romance stops at Readeropolis with an author interview.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the giveaway for a l
arge mug, 2 candy bars, and a $25 Starbucks gift card. Follow the Silver Dagger book tour (for other dates see the link at the bottom of the post).

What inspired you to write this book?
My family history. The main characters, Amon, Mary, and especially David and Annie, are drawn from my own ancestors who were members of the Society of Friends in Virginia in the years preceding the French and Indian War.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently working on the second book in my “The Marylanders” series – “The Brooch.” After that, I have plans for a contemporary trilogy. I am not certain which story I will migrate to after that. I am leaning toward doing several stand-alones, but if another trilogy grips me, I might have to go with the voices that talk.

Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Not yet. I have outlines sketched for stand-alones for Grayson and Ivy Cayle and Noah and Raine Ledger from my first trilogy. I have a partially written story on John Cayle and Sarah Grayson. I do have plenty of projects to keep me busy.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in “The Children of the Light Trilogy”?
The Cayles and McKechnies belong to the Society of Friends, or Quakers, in Virginia in the years preceding the French and Indian War. Amon Cayle and Mary McKechnie were childhood sweethearts, but she married another man before Amon had a chance to ask for her hand. When the book opens, it is twenty years later, and everyone has a secret - even the children, David Cayle and Annie McKechnie. None of them are doing so out of malice, but rather out of love. The consequences, however, are no less devastating.  

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
So far, the concept and characters for my books have come from my own family history/tree. I take the facts I have and then work a story around them. I try to stick to dates, timelines, and the historical records as much as I can, but I am forced to take liberties at times to create a story that is enjoyable to read. I am careful to never promote my novels as family history. I have family history books with full research notes and bibliographies for that. 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved watching David and Annie grow from children to adults. They are both so young in the beginning and that immaturity causes them to make such bad decisions.  It was fun growing them up and into who they were meant to be.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Well, everyone was keeping a secret! 

Who designed your book covers?
Germancreative. I especially like the paperback covers. There is a wraparound motif on each of them that is lost on the digital covers, and I love the play of light used on all three of them. She captured exactly what I was striving to do myself but could not manage. 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing with the book per se, but I always agonize over the title. I am still not sure any of the four books had a title I really liked, but I finally went with I have now. 

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That if the characters are not ready to talk, Donna is not ready to write. 

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Well, that would be difficult. The protypes are now way past the ages they play. 
40sish Tom Cruise and teen Tom Cruise were the protypes for Amon and David Cayle. Yes, I am a picture geek. I had pictures of both plastered on my writing boards. The funny thing was – I tried to use other men, but Tom just kept intruding into the movie in my head. 
Madeline Stowe was the prototype for Mary McKechnie, and a young Mia Sara was the model for Annie McKechnie. 
So any actors hired would have to be along the lines of those people and their younger selves.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I think it’s important for the readers to understand the Friends (Quakers) were not the Amish. Before the French and Indian War, they dressed plainly and in older fashions, but they did not wear strict black and white outfits as they did in later years. Unlike the Amish, they did not shun people, so a member that was labeled “disorderly walker” could still participate in community life. They were like the Amish in that they were pacifists and did not believe in war or violence.
How did you come up with name of this book?
The Cayles and McKechnies are members of The Society of Friends, or Quakers. The Friends referred to themselves as “Children of the Light,” so it was natural to call the series by that name. As for the individual books, I had already titled “Keeping Secrets” by that name because everyone was “keeping secrets.” In the second book, people are “breaking promises,” right and left. In all three books, the motif of “fire” has been pivotal. Amon’s first wife died in a fire before the book opened. Mary is nearly burned in a fire on Amon’s property. In the third book, the motif of fire continues as David and Annie try to work past some tragedies and their own stubborn selves, thus the title “Binding Fire.” 

What is your favorite part of this book and why?
“Breaking Promises” is my favorite of the three, probably because it was such an adventure book, and I never thought I was capable of writing adventure. But as far as any one part, I like the way I brought Annie’s grandmother, Huldah Langdon, back into the story through her journal entries in the last book “Binding Fire.” I had not planned on doing that at all in the original plot. I like the way it grounded the story within multiple generations.  

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would definitely be spending it with Huldah, Annie’s grandmother. She had a quick wit, and her goose, Penelope, is a favorite of my readers! I would love to have a look at Huldah’s flower book and spend a day in the garden with her. 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Most of my major characters are based on real people. Others not so much. 
David Cayle and Annie McKechnie were based on my fifth great grandparents David Crews and Annie Magee. The real Amon and Mary, who were David Crews (father of the younger David) and Mary Ladd Magee respectively, were widowed and later subsequently married amongst the Friends. At that time, the real David and Annie were about 13 and 14 years of age and had grown up near each other in Hanover County. I know quite a bit about David and Annie, but David and Mary were more elusive. However, I took the smattering of facts and married it with a plot. I changed the names because I did take liberties with the characters and because this was a novel, not a treatise on the Crews and Magee families. (I have a book devoted to that alone in my genealogy list.)

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? 
I have the reins of the story, but they will sometimes turn the plot in an unexpected direction. In “Breaking Promises,” David kisses Annie while they are on a horse going to the backcountry. That kiss was supposed to happen later! I wrote the scene – and the kiss – and then I sat back in my chair and my hands fell into my lap. I was like – uh oh! That was NOT supposed to happen until later. But it was happening then instead. And it was the perfect place for it. 
My minor characters can cause even bigger problems. They oftentimes want to step in from nowhere and take the attention away from the main characters. That’s why I have so many possible novels in my computer now featuring characters who were once minor! 
Have you written any other books that are not published?
No. I have several in the works, but none finished enough yet to be called “books.”  

What did you edit out of this book?
People. I edited people – and there were still too many characters. But each one served a purpose, so I could not edit any more. 

Keeping Secrets 
Children of the Light Series Book 1 
by Donna Hechler Porter 
Genre: Historical Romance 

A woman with a past, a man determined to uncover the truth, and a secret that could tear them apart forever.

A Grieving Husband: Amon Cayle needs a seamstress. He has spent the last year rebuilding his life after the tragic death of his wife in a kitchen fire, the same fire that nearly took the life of his eldest son as well. The business of grieving their loss, as well as the work of his tobacco plantation, has caused him to neglect the simplest of tasks. His family now needs clothes and despite his dislike for Mary McKechnie, and their shared past, he offers her the job.

A Desperate Mother: Mary McKechnie needs a job. Her brother has threatened to take her daughters and place them into indentured service if she can’t provide for them. He hasn’t made it any easier by insisting she work only for fellow Friends. When Amon Cayle offers her a job, she has little choice but to accept.

A Devastating Secret: The last time Amon spoke with Mary, after she walked away from him into the arms of another man over twenty years ago, she assured him she was not keeping secrets. He didn’t believe her then, and he doesn’t believe her now. While she is working for him, he is determined to find answers. She is just as determined to not give them.

Will Mary be able to save Amon from the past? Or will his love threaten to destroy them both?

Keeping Secrets is the first book in the Children of the Light Series. The Society of Friends (Quakers) and 1750s colonial Virginia, on the cusp of the French and Indian War, provide the backdrop for this sweeping historical about families trying to live their faith in a new land. Fans of series books will enjoy this series of faith, love, and redemption. 

**On Sale for only .99 cents!! ** 

Breaking Promises 
Children of the Light Series Book 2 

A woman dedicated to peace, and man destined for war, and a journey that will change them forever.

A Haunted Young Woman
Annie McKechnie is desperate to go to the backcountry to her twin sister, Katie McKechnie Sawyer. She is convinced doing so is the only way to end the dreams that haunt her nights and follow her days. The one man who can help her find peace is David Cayle, and she hates him for it.

A Devoted Son
David Cayle, back from a tour of duty with the Virginia militia, is determined to mend the breach he created his with father. Taking the man into the backcountry to rescue his wayward sister, however, was not what he had in mind. Annie’s insistence on going makes matters worse, until it becomes obvious that leaving her behind is more dangerous than taking her along. Or is it?

A Harrowing Journey
A young nation fights for its destiny, and the backcountry is no place for the faint of heart. Only the stoutest souls and strongest minds endure.

But can David keep his promises? And what secrets is Annie still keeping?

Breaking Promises is the second book in the Children of the Light Series. The Society of Friends (Quakers) and 1750s colonial Virginia, on the cusp of the French and Indian War, provide the backdrop for this sweeping historical about families trying to live their faith in a new land. Fans of series books will enjoy this series of faith, love, and redemption. 

Binding Fire
Children of Light Series Book 3 

A woman without hope, a man determined to save his family, and a past that could forever change their future.

An Estranged Husband
David Cayle wants nothing to do with his wife. He may have broken promises, but she kept secrets. Important ones. His only hope to mend his shattered self is to start over in the backcountry far away from her and Cayle Farms. But walking away from her is not as easy as he thought, for she is not done with her secrets, and this one will change his life forever.

A Frightened Mother
Annie Cayle faces an unknown future. Despite her last days at Cayle Farms and the danger she left behind, she is desperate to return home. When David Cayle arrives unexpectedly in Richmond, she asks him to change his plans for the sake of her unborn child. But home is not safe, and neither is David Cayle.

A Child that Binds
With their friendship torn apart, and their marriage shattered beyond repair, David and Annie must forge a new destiny for the sake of their child. But when old enemies exact revenge they are forced to confront past secrets and broken promises.

But can David face his deepest fears to save his wife? Or, in the end, will the past destroy them both?

Binding Fire is the third book in the Children of the Light Series. The Society of Friends (Quakers) and 1750s colonial Virginia, on the cusp of the French and Indian War, provide the backdrop for this sweeping historical about families trying to live their faith in a new land. Fans of series books will enjoy this series of faith, love, and redemption. 

Donna Hechler Porter graduated from Texas A & M University with a B.S. in Education. After many years of teaching, she now homeschools her twin sons and is active in her local homeschool group. Her first foray into fiction, her "Children of the Light Trilogy," has already won numerous awards. She is a member of Romance Writer's of America, as well as the subchapters Hearts Through History and Northwest Houston's Lonestar Chapter. In addition to fiction, she has published five genealogy books and a short biography on her struggles with hypothyroidism titled "Will Someone Please Shoot the Cuckoo?" She is currently working on her fourth novel. You can visit her at her website/blog at

Large mug, 2 candy bars, and a $25 Starbucks gift card 

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!


  1. I love the covers- Do you plan on writing more books?

  2. Thank you so much for your compliment of the covers, Victoria. Yes, I have a fourth novel, "The Rood," and I am working on the follow-up to it - "The Brooch." After that, I will go to a contemporary trilogy about vintage bookstores, aging houses, and old-fashioned rose gardens.


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