Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My First Historical Novel

I never intended to write a historical novel. It’s not because I don’t enjoy reading them. I do. I just want to read historically accurate fiction. While it is fine to have a jet flying overhead when watching a Mel Brook’s western, not cool in historical romance. This means if I write one, I want it to be historically accurate.

So why am I jumping into this pool of uncertainty?  I’ve wanted to write a prequel of sorts to The Coulson Series. My initial plan was to take the readers back to the 50s and 60s, to tell the story of a younger Garret and Alexandra. While that period might be teetering on the historical, it is my generation so I don’t think it qualifies.

While plotting my story, I had a nagging desire to take it back farther. This series is actually a family saga – so shouldn’t I go back to Randall Coulson the founder of the town?

The story ended up not being so much about Randall – but more about his wife Mary Ellen Browning, who was born in 1900. It took a surprising twist for me, and will make readers of Lessons and The Senator’s Secret take a complete different look at those books, and the stories told.

This morning I finished the first draft. Still no title; this one hasn’t come to me yet.  Writing involved a fair amount of research. One thing that helped, my main character was a few years younger than my Grandma Hilda, who when she was alive, shared stories and anecdotes with me involving her younger years. There was even a saying she shared with me – one my grandfather told her when they were newlyweds – which I gave to Mary Ellen’s brother.

This story spans almost fifty years, from 1900 to 1949. I found it fascinating how much the world changed during my character’s lifetime. Born just 35 years after the end of the Civil War, in 1949 Mary Ellen’s world was a vast different place than it was when her story began.

There is still work to be done – rewriting, beta readers, editing – oh, and it needs a title and cover.

Wish me luck!

 (Photo: Grandma Hilda and Grandpa George, same time frame as the first part of the story mentioned)

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