Sunday, April 21, 2013

News of The Day

Yes, I've been gone a little more than three months with no new posts, and no indication of why not.

I'm sorry, and I do apologize. Life got in the way...again...and I just wasn't up to posting, but that's not a good enough excuse to not at least tell everyone I was taking a short leave. But I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, and I'm back with good news for a change.

My historical novel, The Freedom Thief, is going to be published by MuseItUp Publishing! I am thrilled and excited! It will be my debut novel, and hopefully, only the first of several. It is tentatively scheduled for release in November of this year.

It has been a long journey. Six years ago, I decided I wanted to write a novel about the Underground Railroad, and how it worked to help escaping slaves before and during the Civil War. For a solid year, I worked on nothing but research. I read the journals and diaries of slaves, both those who had successfully escaped before the War, and those who were released from slavery after the War. I read newspaper articles about the Underground Railroad, stories and novels about that organization, how it came about, how it operated, and who the primary people involved were. I read history books and searched websites, particularly historical ones, for all the information I could find on Kentucky: plantations, slave quarters, clothing, weather, what the towns looked like, how the buildings were built...anything even slightly associated with living on a plantation in pre-Civil War Kentucky, or in or near a small town, I searched for and read until my eyes were crossed. I discovered that many many slaves were ill-treated, beaten, women and female children raped, families separated by buying and selling, inhumane punishment for any slave caught trying to escape or even just breaking a rule. I also found that many slave owners were kind and caring of the slaves, treated them well, gave them proper housing and clothing, and even took care of them medically. This didn't prevent them from trying to escape, either just because they wanted their freedom, or because they wanted to find husbands, wives, and children from whom they had been separated.

Sometime during the second year, my husband and I took a barge trip ( yes, on a real barge) down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. We visited historical sites, Civil War battlegrounds, historically preserved "safe houses" where escaped slaves lived until transportation could be provided to get them to the Ohio River and freedom. We looked at the historical means of that transportation: farm wagons with false bottoms, "death" coaches where slaves crawled into coffins, no matter how terrified they were of them, and even some of the preserved large boxes that sometimes carried a slave instead of a load of canned goods. It was a wonderfully fulfilling vacation for us, and we both learned a lot about our history.

It was then I started to write. And as happens so many times, my first draft has almost no relation to the story that is going to be published. More about that at a later time!

Until next time,
That's a wrap.