Monday, April 13, 2015

What Writers Really Do

Help: I need a distraction!
After a weekend of rolling edits on a long draft of my novel, my eyes will no longer focus!
Especially after staring at a screen like this all day. Or yes, staring out the window in a daze waiting for my muse...

Even though my mind is full of my heroine's story world that looks like this: (I still need a break!)


I find that a diversion into reality (or history) helps refocus. What better fun than diving into some historical research to get those creative juices flowing? I've had a family Bible handed down to me through a great aunt, and it's been begging me to do some research. It's an 1849 English/German print.


I tried to find the ancestors on Ancestry.com a few years ago and came up empty-handed. But this time, I finally hit a cache of documentation! Eeeee! As I search, I'm not only looking for family history, but ideas for another novel, or some secondary characters. So, as I open the cover the fun begins with the names. I imagine the lives lived and the hands that have held this book. I have to admit a certain glee that I might be creating my very own Who-Do-I-Think-I-Am? episode, since I an a WDYTYA addict.


Who's ever heard of a name like Emma Laverza? Do you think she loved her unique name, or kept it on the down low? I wonder what her quill and ink bottle looked like--check out that scrolling! And could that really be gold leafing between the pages?? Where on earth might that have originated?


As I researched through the early history of Berks County, Pennsylvania, I found ancestors who were wheelwrights, printers, and indigo dyers. Did you know that in 1827 Philadelphia indigo dyers made $5 a week, while spoolers and bobbin winders only made $1 a week? I also learned that a rolling mill made sheets of steel or metal. I shot off an email to a fellow researcher of the family names in the Bible. I may just have to plan a road trip to PA with Erica and Gabrielle for a museum hop! Jaime, are you ready to brainstorm a story!? 


This German script note is pinned between the pages. I know German, but can't decipher this old hand written message. Was it a secret message? A wedding date? A sweet remembrance? I may have to hire an expert!

Many readers love to read Historical Romance because they get to learn about history through the eyes of the heroine and hero. 

Readers: 
What are your favorite historical things to read about in fiction?
What is the most interesting historical fact you've learned from fiction? Do you have favorite centuries or decades to read about? 
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Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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Represented by Sarah Freese, WordServe Literary

7 comments:

  1. I love Who do you think you are! But I can't watch it now since they changed the channel it's on. :( I am doing the family history/genealogy for my husband's family (my dad's doing my side) His aunt had a big family Bible like that and we took scans of it. I always liked to walk down to the cemetery at the end of the road. I always wondered what their stories were.

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    1. Yay Becky! I'm addicted to history! Did your family Bible have documentation in it?

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    2. Yes, in beautiful script like yours :) There were also newspaper clippings....of the grandpa wandering away (again) and them finding him dead in a swamp the same week that 2 of the girls died from TB.

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  2. Wait a second!! Just 'cause I've hardly ever been to a museum doesn't mean I don't want to go on this trip!!! :) :) TAKE ME TOO!

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    1. Ok Jaime, we'll take you too!! You can do all the spooky research! We'll give you the graveyard research. lol

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  3. Such interesting things found through that family bible, Anne. Researching ancestry brings up such amazing info. My parents and aunt are each in their 90's and have always lived within a few miles of where they do now (my parents having lived in their farmhouse, built by my father, at least 68 years) - a book was just published a few weeks ago about my small town, much of the info and pics were gathered from my family. Another man just taped a 90 minute conversation with my parents (and isn't yet finished) re: my father's land and relatives, for an article/book being written re: a park project in the works, encompassing several counties, in which part of my father's property was purchased. I never really cared for history/genealogy when I was in school, and was too busy working more than 1 job while raising my children - to have time for it, however, am now enjoying the pursuit and especially enjoy learning bits of history through my reading of fiction. I enjoy numerous historical things, decades, centuries-including most of the war eras up through WW2.

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