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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Writer's World Wednesdays-Research

I told you before, I could get lost doing research.  It's my favorite part of being an historical writer, especially when there are so many varying viewpoints.  My next project, "Valley of Shadows," begins the day Lincoln was assassinated.  Suffice it to say, depending on the lens through which events are viewed, scholars disagree quite drastically about what led up to and who was involved in the plot to kidnap Lincoln which then morphed into an assassination.  I just finished "Dark Union" and am now reading "Assassins Accomplice."  On my shelf are "April 1865" and "The Day Lincoln was Shot."  I've already read "Killing Lincoln" and "My Thoughts be Bloody" which got my plot going.

The heroine of "Valley of Shadows" is the niece of John Wilkes Booth; the hero has been associated with Booth's older and more famous brother, Edwin.  I have to put my heroine in jail, but I'm not sure what prison for females looked like back then.  Thus, "Assassins Accomplice" about Mary Surratt, the only woman to be convicted of helping John Wilkes Booth kill Lincoln, and the first woman to be hanged in the United States for a crime.

Because my fictional characters bump up against such famous events, my notes on this story look like a grad student paper.  I'm keeping meticulous record of where I got certain details so I can write an Author Note which explains why I chose to include certain elements in my plot.  It's painstaking work for a project I'm not even sure will sell, but this is the writer's world--reading and writing about things we find interesting and hoping someone else finds it worth publishing.

If you'd like to read more about "Valley of Shadows" and see how long it's been percolating in my brain, here's another post for you.

There is a conference coming up in September.  I'd like to have this story done by then to see if some smaller publishing houses are interested in purchasing it.  The 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination is coming up this April and it would be nice to piggy-back on that publicity.  The reason I would need to sell to a smaller publishing house is because they have a shorter turn around between finished manuscript and publication.  If I can't get any of them interested, I just might decide to self-publish the story.  With my novella coming out in February, I'd like readers to have at least one more option of something to read from me if they like Karl and Marta's story.

Until next time,
Becca

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