Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Remember When . . . War Broke Out Between the States?

I had a moment about a month ago when I was working up a new proposal idea, this one set in Civil War era Georgia. Yes, during that moment I realized my Civil War history was rather rusty. Ahem. But it was the "compared to" that gave me pause. Because you see, my Civil War history is rusty compared to . . .

* The Greco-Persian War

* The uprisings in Roman Jerusalem

*The Revolutionary War (and its aftermath)

*The War of 1812 (okay, this earns a sort-of)

* Certain key aspects of the Napoleonic Wars

And that's where my bafflement came from. How in the world did I become a writer of war novels??? I mean, seriously. I write romance. Love stories, if they're not typical romance. My stories always come to me as boy meets girl, they're driven by the characters.
Yet here I am again . . . plotting out a book set during a war. I shake my head at myself. And laugh. And get down to history. =)

I started with the things most pertinent to this story--the Confederate Raider ships and the Union blockade on the Southern ports, and finally the Battle of Port Pulaski. Really, this is barely a slice of Civil War history. In a way, that's going to make the research easier. But I still have to get the broader scope in my research so I know the hows and whys and whats and wheres that always enrich a story.

I've done some basic internet research, and now I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of a book through the wonders of ILL called Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War, by Jacqueline Jones. I'm really looking forward to devouring this book, which promises a fresh look at race relations, the impact of the war, and a look at everyday life in Savannah during the war. Exactly what I need to know. =)

So this not-a-war-writer who somehow keeps coming up with stories set against a backdrop of war is diving into yet another one. With the happy thought that some of my research will be able to double for another, later book I have planned too. You know, the one in the series that covers three different (you guessed it) wars. 

Sigh. LOL.


  1. War is a GREAT external conflict. Must be you subconsciously realize that and keep putting those stories there ;)

  2. Your rev war knowledge should help too. A pet peeve of mine is that people say "why in the world did they think that leaving the union would work??". The answer is, that's what their fathers did not long before. People remembered the rev war heroes, and heard their stories from the heroes themselves! Plus these people are from European descent, and Europe is made up of lots of little countries, unlike the US. This was just a foreign concept, to actually stay together in one big happy country.

    Uh...sorry, are soapboxes allowed on this blog? I'll get off mine now...

    I can't wait to hear more about your story!


  3. Research - blah! Wanna look into producing cooking shows for me while you're at it?

  4. Great conflict indeed, Joanne!

    Jordan, no fears--soapboxes are definitely allowed on this blog. ;-) And your point is a very good one, which I promise to keep in mind as I write solely from a Confederate POV, lol.

    Stephanie--how much are you willing to pay me for this research. ;-)

  5. I'd speculate that you write your stories against the backdrop of wars because it makes it easier to focus on your main characters. In war, without further explanation, you have lots of action: People get separated, characters get killed or wounded (physically and mentally), criminals are at large without being prosecuted, every encounter's end brings great relieve, etc. That's big entertainment (for those not involved). And similar things in peace time would be much harder to construct, would need much more explanation. I guess that's what Joanne summed up as "GREAT external conflict".

    In addition - and probably very important for stories set 2000+ years in the past - you'd have a much harder time finding sources about peacetime events during your research.

  6. As they say, history is defined by great men and war, so I guess it's inevitable that you'd find great stories centered around war!!
    Happy research!!