Sunday, September 03, 2006
BOM: The Research
Fortunately, the research for this book was far easier than scraping facts together about the twelfth century. I was able to find copies of the original correspondence of several people who'd been on the voyage to Roanoke, plus the complete passenger list.
As I researched the series, I ran across bizarre (to me) stories of how the English Christian settlers persecuted the native Americans they found. Embarrassingly horrible stories about how they killed . . . trust me, some of our forefathers were Christian in name only. I became fascinated with the stories of King Phillip, the real Pocahontas, her uncle, the slave trade, etc.
And each book had a spiritual theme that dealt with where I was in life. I used the theme of suffering in Jamestown, because that settlement truly fell upon hard times, including a smallpox epidemic. (The English gave smallpox-contaminated blankets to the Indians and entire villages were wiped out.) At the time, my church had been going through a season of suffering--two of our young people had died in unrelated accidents, and another had just been permanently paralyzed . . . an accident on a youth missions trip.
So each novel involved real, little-known history as well as a spiritual theme that came from whatever I was living through at the time.
I have a personal guideline when I write historical fiction: I feel free to create characters, but I never knowingly contradict historical fact. Fortunately, American history is rich . . . and the stories of our first colonies were too fascinating for me to pass up. I loved using them as a basis for novels.
Tomorrow: the writing