Monday, October 5, 2009

Living History

One of the best ways to learn about the colonial period is to attend reenactments. Nothing can give you the feel and look of a historical period the way breathing in campfire smoke and mingling with people dressed in authentic garb and living like people of the era can. So this past Saturday I checked out a local reenactor encampment, Daniel Smith Colonial Days at Historic Rock Castle in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

This is one of the few colonial-era reenactments in this region, where the Civil War is still very much an issue among Tennessee natives, so I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass me by. As you can see from these photos, it was a fine day, and the event was very well attended, which is immensely encouraging. And I got some pretty good photos, which might come in handy for various projects. Of course, it’s hard getting good shots with so many folks in modern dress wandering around.

In spite of being buried in business affairs, I have made a bit more progress on Crucible of War, though I definitely need to make a lot more if this installment is going to make the release date. One thing that’s hampered me is having a case of writers block. Luckily, my Sheaf House partner, Joy DeKok, came for a visit to meet some of our business contacts, plan, and brainstorm. Joy just happens to be a certified author coach, and on her last day here she began casually asking a lot of what if questions and suggesting possible scenarios. In one session we outlined the central crisis of the volume, and from that developed my characters’ goals, motivation, and conflict.

I was so excited that after she left I wrote the entire last chapter in almost one sitting. And boy, is it diabolical!! Talk about a cliffhanger! I’m going to try to cover the major part of 1777 in this book. The year starts off with the Battles of Trenton and Princeton, which are pretty exciting to begin with and will require some intensive research and plotting. Then the French and Spanish came aboard as allies to the Americans, the pivotal battle of Saratoga followed, then Howe’s campaign to capture Philadelphia and Washington’s subsequent campaign to take it back again.

And of course, Elizabeth and Jonathan’s story is going to develop apace, as is Pieter Vander Groot’s and Andrews and Blue Sky’s. So readers are in for some hair-raising and heart-wrenching reading that ought to keep them flipping those pages. That’ my goal, anyway. Stay tuned.