It seems that a lot of people don’t know much history.
Were we not taught? Have we just forgot?
Not to worry. Fiction can fix it!
We’ll prove it by starting with the French and Indian War. (Your sighs and moans can be heard from here. Like, who cares? Why is it important?)
If our teacher told us why, we don’t remember. Not many of us paid much attention, if you recall. Because history was boring.
There was always one eager beaver, who would eventually become a history teacher because he loved the subject, but as you see, no one else seemed to care. Part of the reason is that history is usually taught with a lot of accompanying details, and gets very confusing.
But this is not a classroom, and you will not betold about historical events. You will be shown. Let’s start with this banner.
Does this look interesting? “Join or Die!” Downright revolutionary, don’t you think? Indeed, it was used during the Revolutionary War, by one colony or another, and is used today (“don’t tread on me”). But it originated before the Revolution, in 1754. It was a call to the colonies to work together, to protect and defend their western borders against the Indian attacks that had been plaguing the settlers.
Representatives of all the colonies were to meet in Albany, New York. It was Ben Franklin’s idea. In fact, Ben designed the above banner, hopefully to encourage attendance. William Shirley, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, agreed wholeheartedly with Ben and everyone did meet. But no agreement was reached because the colonies had never worked together before, and each was protective of their own interests. Submitting to the leadership of one colony over the others was a non-starter.
Politics has always led the way, which is another reason history is so difficult to teach and to learn!
I am a writer. I have issued second editions of my novels, and presume you have read or at least looked at one or the other of them — otherwise you wouldn’t be here!
But perhaps you’re interested in Early American History, too, and you know that my novels accurately recount the events of their time period. You wonder where I unearthed the details, and whether there are more I left out.
Well, of course there are. While researching, I found many tidbits that I couldn’t use in my writing, most of which are fascinating. I’ll share them here, along with gossip and the prospects that alternative history offers. Promise, I’ll label these (tidbit; gossip; alternative history).
Before I start, though, I’d like to tell you a little about myself. This is the House, my first novel, was published by Coward, McCann and Geohegan in 1975, the year of the Bi-Centennial. It was a game-changer for our little family. We’d been living on Cape Cod, but we knew it’s advantages were soon going to be undermined by gentrification. But by selling This is the House, we had the means to continue a life of simple living. We could move to Vermont.
From our wood-heated dwelling in the mountains came The House of Kingsley Merrick and after it The Heir— written while my husband built our house around me, chopped down trees and split wood to heat it, shoveled snow in the winter and made sure the kids caught the school bus, boiled maple syrup in the spring. (You can hardly get more “Vermonty” than that).
These books, (the Kingsland Series) are based on my husband’s Cape Cod family, though by the time I reached the last one — which is really my husband’s story — I had to fictionalize a good part of it, since the originals for some of the characters were still resident in town!
One of the primary prototypes hardly needed any disguise at all. Here’s one — the schooner Alice Wentworth, which sailed Nantucket Sound in the ’60’s. My husband and I met on board, and the impression she made on us was of life-long duration, as you will see when you read The Heir. (By the way, this photo is a part of the Mystic Seaport collection. It’s all that is left of the Wentworth, until she rose, like a phoenix from the ashes, to become the Jenny Lawrence.)
Then came The Pretender. I wanted to see if I could write a book whose characters were never real, but reacting in a plausible manner to the historical situation in which they found themselves. In this case, the Stamp Tax. And yes, I could create characters whose back-stories shaped their responses both to their day-to-day lives, as well as the political upheavals of the time, compelling them to move along a certain, almost predestined path whether they recognized it or not. Just as do you and I.
Whether we recognize it or not.
The Pretender was followed by The Hostage, and then by The Traitors, to form the Prelude Series. And that is my career as an author.
I’ll blog about the people who inhabit my books. They populate Deborah Hill’s world, and I know them quite well. I’ll add pictures, too, or clip art, or graphics — anything that helps us to understand the times I’m writing about better.
l’ll try to be a fairly regular blogger, if I can. If you’d like to be notified when I’ve posted an essay, let me know using the Contact Form below. And while you’re at it, any remarks you care to make, information you’d like to share, or opinions on just about anything relating to my books or the slice of American history under discussion — these would be very welcome!