Where Romance and History Meet - www.heartsthroughhistory.com/

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why I was seduced by history

Why I was seduced by history

I was seduced by history by my history, if that makes sense. I was born in Illinois, and for the first seven years of my life my family lived either with or across the alley from my paternal grandparents. And my material grandparents lived in the next little town a whole seven miles away.

We went back to Illinois every summer until after I graduated from high school. I spent those summer sitting on the front porch at the family reunions with tons of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great aunts and uncles, second cousins – you name it, they were there. And they all talked about when they were kids, or told the stories they had heard from their parents.

So I always knew my family’s histories, and where I fit into the scheme of thing (luck me!). So I grew up hearing the stories of my ancestors told of growing up in the 19th century, or with Indians, or wild animals, or the weather. Going to school, it seemed a logical choice to study history – because it just to story of people.

And teaching history lead me to the writing of historical romance. Researching this historical periods is easy and a lot of fun for me. When I write, I like to think that the characters I’m writing about lived just down the lane from my ancestors.

This was especially true when I wrote my first book, Kentucky Green, I used a lot of thing I remembered from my family’s stories in this book. One was my great grandmother’s dislike of soft butter, so my grandmother chore as a little girl was to walk down to the spring house where the butter was stored and bring it up for each meal.

I also have a scene where my heroine is churning butter, which was another of my grandmother’s jobs, so I had my heroine use the same rhyme that my grandmother used.

“Come (up) butter (down), come (up).
Come (down) butter (up), come (down).
Little Peter (up) at the gate (down), for his buttered (up) bread does wait (down)
Come (up) butter (down), come (up).

Writing historical allows me to keep the past alive, for me, and hopefully for my readers.

Why were you seduced by history? Family? A favorite teacher? Or just lucky?


Julie Robinson said...

I've always liked to read and grew up in a close family, so respect for the past and the people who were a part of them is just a part of me. I've always had a soft spot for elderly people.

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

My father was in the air force, so after I was 5 years old, we were not near family at all. But I've had a love of history for most of my life. In high school, I wanted to take a history class as an elective, but they wouldn't let me. I had to take typing instead! Had I gone to college out of high school, instead of getting married, I'd have gotten a history degree and been a teacher all these years!

Julie Robinson said...

But now you present history with such a more enjoyable learning method!

Terry Blain said...

Glad to see others love history, too. I feel very lucky to grow up in that extended family with a rich oral tradition -- all those stories!

Terry Blain said...

Anna, I did teach US History and Western Civ at the college level. You could really see what parts of history got to the students, which was mostly when you talked about people.

McKenna Darby said...

I'm so jealous, Terry! My family moved constantly when I was a kid (Dad worked for IBM in the days when those letters stood for 'I've Been Moved'), so I don't have that sense of family tradition and history and I really miss it. On the flip side, I'm not the least bit afraid of moving, and I've had lots of experiences I probably never would have gotten if I'd lived in the same place all my life. Still, I think what you have must be really special, and I'm so glad you shared it.

Terry Blain said...

McKenna, I ended up marrying a sailor, so I got all my moving in after I got married. :)

A.W. McQueen said...

You are so lucky to have a rich family history. I really don't have a lot of information on my family's background but history and time travel has always been a long fascination for me.

Most likely because of the lack of information on my family. Thank God for Ancestry.com. We have been working with the limited information we have and have been able to retrieve intriguing information!

We have found that a long ago ancestor owned a plantation. We are trying to follow up on the validity of the documentation. If so then his sibling sired children with slaves as my heritage is African American.

I continue my love for history, even though I write contemporary romance. Perhaps someday, I might dip my toes in the waters of historicals but for now, I am content to read the works of others.

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