If it were up to Stacy Henrie, she’d have been born at least a hundred years ago.

“I have often thought I was not born in the right era,” the Utah author and self-proclaimed history junkie said in an interview.

Henrie, who writes historical Christian romance novels, has wanted to be a historical author since she was a child. Fueled by her fascination with anything old-fashioned, pioneer-related and antique, Henrie wrote her first historical story around the age of 11. The story took place in the 1930s, which, Henrie said with a laugh, felt really old at the time.

If you take a look at Henrie’s family history, the fascination might be easily explained.

“My great-grandfather, Leslie Turner White, was also an author ... ironically, even though he was a man, he wrote what would be construed today as historical romance. So maybe it’s genetic,” Henrie said.

But despite her young attempts with writing, Henrie didn’t get serious about her novel-writing until after her first son was born. Since he slept a lot, Henrie began seeking out things she could do while he was sleeping, other than cleaning the house or working on scrapbooks. For eight years, Henrie enjoyed writing as a consistent hobby and completed three novels before pursuing publication.

While at a writer’s conference, Henrie entered her work into a contest, and the grand prize was an interview with a publishing company.

“I won the contest and naively thought, ‘This is it. This is my big break. I haven’t had to hardly do anything!’ ” Henrie said with a laugh. “I thought, ‘You know all those people who talk about how hard it is to get published? This is so easy.’ And of course it promptly got rejected from them.”

But the rejection whet her determination, and though other rejections followed, Henrie eventually discovered the national Christian market, which was a good fit for her personal writing formula — history, faith, romance and happy endings — which shows up in all of her books.

The release of Henrie’s latest novel, “Hope at Dawn: Of Love and War, Book 1” (Forever, $8), a romance that focuses on the German-American experience during World War I, is set to coincide with that war’s 100th anniversary this month.

What began as a simple story idea — an American girl falling in love with a German-American farmer — turned into the discovery of a piece of American history that is often untold.

“I started to research and found tons of information and accounts of what the German-American people experienced at the time. I think I probably thought at first it would be more conflict on her side. ‘Oh, you love this guy that is German.’ I had no idea how much conflict it would mean on his side.”

Henrie had already set her story in Iowa before serendipitously discovering not only that the governor of Iowa had decreed that the German language couldn’t be spoken but also that his proclamation had been unique in forbidding any foreign language from being spoken in public. Her research led her to find many accounts of German-American harassment all over the country.

“I was really surprised that so much was going on, and yet these people, for the sake of their livelihoods and their families, didn’t fight back,” Henrie said.

Her research and findings went into her 384-page book, in which Friedrick, Livy’s German love interest, struggles to determine when it is OK to stand up against harassment and protect his family rather than quietly meeting the mobs' demands.

“I think it just showed and brought home for me what fear can do,” Henrie said. “We’ve seen a little bit with the terrorist attacks and Sept. 11, that fear of the unknown or someone different, what it can do. Really, a lot of these people, in the book and in real life, were good, honest, God-fearing people, and yet that fear of what this other group of people could do kind of compelled them to do things that I don’t know they would ordinarily do.”

As Henrie wrote, she said, she tried to take a neutral stance. She didn’t want readers to think she was trying to make villains out of the American townspeople.

“I tried to show in the book that even the German-Americans had a little bit of prejudice,” Henrie said. She wanted to show what was happening at the time on both sides and let readers determine for themselves how they felt, or whether and how it changed their view of the time period.

But above all, Henrie said, she writes for entertainment.

“If people learn something as well, that’s an added benefit,” Henrie said. “With this particular book, it has been fun to sort of open people’s eyes to this bit of history that I didn’t know about a couple years ago and is largely kind of unknown.”

Henrie noted that many people may not realize how much of the current American culture stems from those German immigrants, and she said writing the Of Love and War series helped her appreciate the battles fought during World War I.

“I’ve come to really appreciate and admire not only those who served in the war, but the people here who persevered even though they lost a lot of their culture,” Henrie said. “It’s a great time to reflect that it has been 100 years since the first World War, and what it did for the world, our country and other countries.”

"Hope at Dawn" is the first of three books planned for the Of Love and War series, and it has clean language, some mildly described violence and romance that doesn't go beyond kissing. A companion Christmas novella will be released this November.

If you go ...

What: Stacy Henrie and Jennifer Beckstrand book signing

When: Thursday, June 26, 6 p.m.

Where: American Fork Library, Garden Community Room, 64 S. 100 East, American Fork

Web: kingsenglish.com, stacyhenrie.com

Note: Books are available for pre-order by contacting the King's English Bookshop at 801-484-9100.

Hikari Loftus is a graduate of the University of Utah.