History wasn’t my favorite subject in school. All those dry dates of battles and events. Bleh! These days I’m not sure true history is even taught.
During my teens my favorite books to read were those romances set in the south, ala: GONE WITH THE WIND. Personally, I thought Scarlett a nitwit to let Rhett get away, but to this day I never forget General Sherman burned Atlanta, and everything else in his path. Sure, the people I read about weren’t real, but the history was. Any writer worth his, or her, salt makes sure the actual events are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise stated.
Historical romance became my thing and while I was being entertained, I was soaking up all that history. I may not remember who did what when, but I know enough to be dangerous. Or, as my precious sister-in-law insists, able to go on Jeopardy! John Jakes came out with a historical series set in the USA, right from the Revolutionary War, and I gobbled it up. My love of history grew and I’m drawn to things of the past. Heck, I myself am considered an antique!
Hard to say when I really got into America’s history. Perhaps, the first time my dad took me to see historical sites around Boston. Paul Revere’s house, Old Ironsides, or having a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day where the Boston Tea Party took place. Maybe when my daughter and I walked the Freedom Trail through Boston, toured a replica of the Mayflower, or experienced Plimouth Plantation and saw, first hand, how our early settlers lived. Or driving into Salem, MA and visiting the Salem Witch Museum and seeing the stones in memory of those accused of witchcraft hanged and the one pressed to death.
After that visit I was reading more about the witch trials, trying to understand what would cause neighbor to turn against neighbor. Which led me to write my, as yet, unpublished novel INNOCENT SINS. My half-breed heroine, Sophie, is accused of being a witch and jailed. Later released she takes to the woods and is befriended by a family. The father is Irish, the mother an Abenaki Indian. The eldest son, Adam, develops a crush on Sophie, and even though Sophie and the love of her life ride off Downeast, Adam measures all other women against her.
Adam needed his own story and I wanted to know how my fictional town of Webster came to be. Thus my novel NORTH WOODS LOVE. Adam needed a strong woman, one who could survive life in the woods, one who accepted his mixed blood.
About this same time I read a book regarding the town of Deerfield, MA. In 1704 most of the citizens were captured by the Mohawk and taken to what is now Montreal, Canada. Some didn’t survive the journey, some eventually returned to Deerfield, some remained with the Mohawk. So began my what-ifs.
What if a girl was captured and taken to Canada? What if her life there was miserable? What if she escaped and made her way back to her home? Would she be accepted or shunned? What kind of life would she want?
NORTH WOODS LOVE was fun to write because of all I learned. While it’s basically about Adam and Evie, it’s also about a family. They’ve rooted their lives along the shores of a group of lakes, but are finding they have needs. To fulfill those needs others need to settle near the family. Adam and his brothers work on ways to entice settlers to their area, which becomes known as Webster, for the first family.
Rarely do I think of themes, or a message, when I write a story. In truth, I get an idea and my characters tell me where they’re going, whether I like it or not. But this book made me think: why does it matter what color our skin? Why can’t we worship, or not, as we please? The Pilgrims came to the new land of America for freedom to worship as they wished. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that freedom meant all Pilgrims had to do and think alike. Is it any wonder teenaged girls in the late 1600’s had hallucinations? But, I digress.
Why can’t we accept each others’ differences and learn from them? Why can’t we all just love each other? Okay, some we love more than others, but you get the idea.
The heart sees only the color of love.