Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Children's Blizzard

Erica here:

One question novelists are often asked is, "Where do you get your ideas?"

The answer is, "All over!" For me it's museums, history books, watching tv, music, reading novels. Some just come out of my very own head with little prompting at all.

For my latest release, His Prairie Sweetheart, the dramatic incident near the end of the book is based upon the account of a massive winter storm I read about in the book The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin.

The blurb from Entertainment Weekly isn't kidding. The account of this blizzard of 1888 reads like a thriller. 

The storm is so named because it swept across the Dakotas and western Minnesota just as many children were being dismissed from school. Within minutes, the air was thick with snow, the wind howled, and the temperature plummeted.

I wondered what it would've been like, to be a teacher in charge of a school full of children under these circumstances. What would I do? 

It's questions like this that spark story ideas. When I feel that I can place myself into the story and wonder what I would do. Then I try to find a character who would have the most difficult time overcoming the obstacles I'm going to throw at her. It's mean, I know, but no conflict = no story!

In the case of my teacher caught in the Children's Blizzard, I knew a fish out of water would have the most difficulty coping, and thus Savannah, the jilted Southern Belle was born. 

Have you read/heard about The Children's Blizzard before? To read how Savannah copes, you can get His Prairie Sweetheart by clicking HERE

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  1. Oh the memories - my mom always told me this story. I don't know where she read it, probably this same book, but it moved her. It always made me so sad to think of.

    1. Susan, there were many sad stories that came out of The Children's Blizzard, but some heroic and tender ones, too!


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