Of Wanderlust & Time Traveling

Perhaps it's my Type A personality. Maybe it's my insatiable thirst for knowledge of the past. And maybe it's me, as a writer, being a perfectionist & not wanting to screw up. Probably that last one ... 

I incidentally have made it a point to set each & every one of my novels in a place I've been before. More or less this is the rule. My Civil War series is set in Pennsylvania--if I haven't been to the specific city one of the books is set in, I've been in one incredibly similar to it. Either way--to maintain historical accuracy solely for the fact that this nation's history needs honor & respect even in a fictional tale--I center my stories around location & era.

I've only been to Gettysburg & Chambersburg once. Pittsburgh itself has a rich history to lend me in my research endeavors for my books. I've never been to Virginia--incidentally the state where my soldier characters fought the most. But if it were a perfect world--I could hang out in Gettysburg & Fredericksburg. In the historical societies & libraries.
And if it were really a perfect world--I could time travel rather than rely on flat history books & Wikipedia.
My research goes in stages:

  1. Glean what I can from books to research further online.
  2. Research specifics & military details online
  3. Dig for names, faces, letters, memoirs & diaries online for minute details that make the setting sparkle.
  4. Dig some more. Often. Google until I'm dizzy from the rabbit trails.
I don't want to write a history textbook, nor a biography about real people who lived during the Civil War. I want to craft my stories in an interesting, believable way. I want my characters to have redemption, a change of heart through going through what so many very similar actual people went through when the United States was unraveling from the inside out.
Above all else but glorifying God & His redemptive, sovereign hand through out every moment of history--my highest goal & privilege, I pray I can honor the history I love so much. To do it justice. To make it come alive. 
Just some wandering words this chilly Tuesday ... anxious to be in the summer heat of Virginia in 1862, at the Second Battle of Bull Run ... but I must live vicariously through my characters.

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.

1 comment:

  1. I've driven over Bull Run and while campaigning, drove all through Manassass. That was during the Government Shut-Down so all the battlefields (BATTLEFIELDS, PEOPLE) where "shut down". Laaaaame. But it was beautiful and sobering.


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