WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION

is only half easy—
The easy part is what you know about your own personal characters.
What was going on around them at the time is quite another story.
Rachel, After the Darkness covers a relatively condensed timeframe,
beginning in late fall of 1872 and ending in late September 1873.
Research that covers a little less than a year may not seem significant,
but the year 1873 was not one of those insignificant years.
In fact, the drama was amazingly intense,
and I wanted to cover as much as I possibly could.
That year combined with Rachel's memories
covering the greater part of the first decade
after the War, Reconstruction, and the
continuing aftermath that droned on and on
makes for an incredible story.
If we are smart, we will never exhaust the
War years and beyond from a literary perspective.
Those years were rich with important information.
I'm sorry to say, I didn't know a lot about the North
before I started writing historical fiction.
Learning has been a journey I will never forget,
nor do I regret.
Our ancestors were all Americans.
They all had dreams and aspirations
that were passed to us from "our" Founding Fathers.
George Washington was a southern gentleman, born and died in
Virginia. He had no political party.
Sam Adams, Delegate to the Continental Congress,
was born in Boston and died in Cambridge.
He was a Democratic-Republican.
John Adams of Massachusettes was a Federalist.
Thomas Jefferson was a Virginian, a Democratic-Republican.
James Madison was born in Virginia Colony and was a
Democratic-Republican.
We were all raised under the same flag—the red, white and blue. Old Glory! And we all lost in unspeakable fashion—620,000 Americans to a war that was immoral and unnecessary. The more I researched, the more my eyes were opened to how the North felt about the War and the South. I was pleasantly surprised. I hope I portrayed that in Rachel, After the Darkness.
Here's another little portion.
Thanks for reading!
Jane BG
Trinity, FL
______________________
From Chapter 9
Mystery Unfolding
February came to a close, but not the cold and snowy weather, and on the last day of the month, Mr. Granderson sent a runner to the Payne farm with a piece of mail that would change Rachel’s life forever. The return address bore the name Oscar D. Alexander, Editor, The New York Elite Press, Broadway at 12th Street, New York, New York. Rachel gasped. Despite thoughts that she might possibly hear from the newspaper, she had not given weight to how she would react if she did. She hesitated to open the sealed envelope and pacing the floor for half an hour, she decided to wait until Samuel came home. It was already half past four and he would arrive soon. She stood in the window clutching the letter.
Within minutes he was trotting toward the barn on his beautiful mare, rain dripping from the boy and his horse. Momentarily, Rachel’s heart welled with happiness. He dearly loved that horse, his true companion and the best ride to Sarepta School imaginable. She took the letter to her room and left it on the vanity—unopened. In less than half an hour Sam had unsaddled and tended his mare. In the meantime, Rachel filled the pot with water for tea and shoved a pan of biscuits into the stove. He would smell the ham frying before he opened the door.
“Sam, you’re cold and wet.”
“Yes’m. Freezing.”
“I’ve already milked Kit and fed the chickens and hogs. You don’t need to do any chores tonight. Why don’t you run change into your warm pajamas and robe and sit by the fire a few minutes. I’ve got biscuits in the stove. How was your day?”
“The best yet, Mama. We’re learning about Shakespeare and reading Macbeth. Mr. Worthington knows a lot, and he explains it so we can all understand. I never thought I would like Shakespeare, but it’s starting to make sense, mostly. I brought my book home to read some more tonight. I really love school, Mama. Thanks for making it possible for me to go.”
“Sam, you have amazed me in all of this, and I think it’s making you grow into quite a brilliant young man. You will be teaching me soon!”
“Aw, Mama, I allow you know way more than you let on.”
“I’ll be back in a minute,” she said, laughing at her son, “and we will eat supper.”
Rachel swished to her room and opened the letter. She wanted to read it before she shared it with Samuel since she had no idea what Mr. Alexander would be saying. If it was something negative, she would not bother Samuel with it since he never knew Rachel had sent the article in the first place.
She sucked in a not-so-silent deep breath and caught her chest, then spoke out loud. “Oh, Lord! What have I done?”

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