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Author JO GRAFFORD on Breaking News Adding Excitement

Breaking News Adds Exciting Twist to Debut Novel

By Jo Grafford

 After five years of poring through sailing journals and other ancient archives, I had a pretty strong suspicion about what happened to the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island. Last seen on August 27, 1587, these brave men, women, and children paved the bridge to Jamestown and deserve (I think) so much more credit for their heroism than they have ever received until now.

While I was in the middle of writing Breaking Ties, British Museum experts announced the discovery of a new clue to the whereabouts of our Lost Colonists. Using laser technology, they uncovered a sketch of a previously unknown fort beneath a patch on one of the original Lost Colony maps. It was the first clue in over 400 years that offered conclusive proof of survivors. Imagine my excitement to learn that authentic research now supported the underlying premise of my debut novel – that there was a whole “rest of the story” to be told!

Breaking Ties is narrated by a fiery-haired lass with a head for numbers named Rose Payne. Desperate for work, she signs on as the ship’s clerk in a risky overseas investment venture to the Colonies. Initially she buries herself in her ledgers below deck, nursing a broken heart, but the discovery of an ugly conspiracy soon forces her above deck to mingle with her shipmates. There she catches the eye of Chief Manteo, a whiskey-eyed Native American diplomat who is anxious to leave behind the intrigues of Court and return to his beloved homeland in Virginia. The plot quickly escalates as Rose fights an unwanted attraction to Manteo while collaborating in a race against time to save themselves and their comrades from a set of enemies determined to make every one of the would-be colonists disappear – forever.

You may have already guessed it, but Breaking Ties is based on real people and real events. Though the conversations and many of the relationships in my novel are pure fiction, Rose and Manteo truly sailed to Roanoke Island together in 1587 on a journey that changed history. Their story is one of love, betrayal, hope, sacrifice, and tremendous faith.

And now a question for our guests to today’s blog: Many rumors, suspicions, and legends have arisen surrounding the fate of the Lost Colonists. What is it that you have you heard in your part of the country or world about these amazing pioneers?


Blog-BreakingTiesBREAKING TIES









Jo Grafford is from St. Louis, Missouri. An award-winning author at Astraea Press, Jo writes historical fiction to spotlight unsung heroes and unsolved mysteries. She published her first poem in junior high, edited her high school newspaper while typesetting for a local news journal, and has been writing ever since.  She holds an M.B.A. and has served as a banker, a junior college finance instructor, and a high school business teacher. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter.  The mother of three children and the wife of a soldier, she serves as a literacy volunteer for elementary school students.


  • Back Cover Blurb

A cursed island, a chilling conspiracy, and an unforgettable love story. The 115 colonists on Roanoke Island couldn’t GPS, skype or twitter their ultimate destination back to their families and friends in 16th Century England. But modern laser technology has finally uncovered a clue – hidden beneath a patch on an ancient map at the British museum – that leads us to their whereabouts. Considered “lost” for centuries, these brave pioneers finally reveal the rest of their story in…THE LOST COLONY SERIES.

Rose Payne’s world is shattered after a secret betrothal to the duke’s son gets her dismissed from her position as clerk in his father’s household. Without a letter of recommendation from her previous employer, Rose is virtually unhireable and becomes an easy target for recruiters to the Colonies. Desperate for work, she signs up for a risky overseas venture and sails for the New World, hoping for a fresh start and vowing to never again fall for a wealthy, titled gentleman.

Returning from a diplomatic tour in London, Chief Manteo is bewitched by the fiery-haired ship’s clerk and determined to overcome her distrust. He contrives a daring plan to win her heart – one that forces her, honor bound, to serve as a slave to his tribe – a plan he prays will protect her from a chilling conspiracy involving murder, blood money, and a betrayal of their fledgling colony so terrifying it can only be revealed in Breaking Ties.

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Susan Carlisle - December 11, 2013 - 8:48 am

Jo, thanks for joining us today. You book sounds wonderful. What a neat way to develop a story. I look forward to reading it.

Pam Asberry - December 11, 2013 - 8:55 am

I have always been fascinated by this story but somehow missed the announcement of the British Museum’s discovery. But I like to think the colonists had a happy ending. I will definitely be checking out your interpretation of events. Thank you for blogging with us today, Jo! :-)

Marilyn Baron - December 11, 2013 - 9:32 am

Great post. I don’t know much about Roanoke but I’d read more. I love historical fiction.

Connie Gillam - December 11, 2013 - 9:41 am

Sounds like a wonderful story. I downloaded a copy.
Like, Pam, I hadn’t heard that the British Museum had made a discovery about the lost colonists.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Sia Huff - December 11, 2013 - 12:04 pm

What a fascinating development, Jo. I hadn’t heard about the British Museum’s laser discovery either. The last I’d heard about The Lost Colony, I was in junior high, many moons ago.
Rose & Chief Manteo’s story sounds wonderful. I love that you’ve bringing light to a century’s old mystery.
Thank you for blogging with us today!

Carol Burnside - December 11, 2013 - 2:09 pm

How cool to have history and fiction collide in such a serendipitous way! Best of luck with Breaking Ties, Jo. It sounds fascinating. :-D

Jo Grafford - December 11, 2013 - 2:22 pm

A big thank you to all the fabulous bloggers of Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for hosting me today! Glad to hear so many of you share my excitement about the latest developments concerning the fate of our Lost Colonists. I have been hoping **fingers crossed** that Breaking Ties would generate a fresh wave of interest in the ongoing archeological search for answers.

Jo Grafford - December 11, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Thank you for downloading a copy, Connie. Let me know what you think! Happy reading. :-) –Jo

Sandra Elzie - December 12, 2013 - 7:02 am

Hi Jo,
Like some of the others, I love history being brought into a story and giving us a plausible “rest of the story.”

Your books sounds fabulous and I’ll be downloading it to read over the next week or so.

Thanks for joining us today!

Jo Grafford - December 13, 2013 - 5:36 am

Great to hear from you, Sandra! Hope you enjoy Breaking Ties. Thank you and the rest of the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales again for hosting me.
Cheerio, Jo

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