Good Saturday Morning,
I just finished the galleys for Chesapeake Visions, the fourth in my series of historical novels set on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. (The covers were done by Snow Hill artist Dawn M. Tarr) I chose the steamboat theme because steamboats were the major form of transportation during the Civil War era - right up until the Bay Bridge was built to span the Chesapeake Bay and make travel to the Eastern Shore a bit easier than it had been for the past couple of centuries.
Writing is the best thing in the world to me. I just love sitting down and seeing what the universe has to say through me. I look back at my work at times and can't help but wonder where it all came from. In the case of Chesapeake Visions, I will tell you the inspiration came from a wonderful friend who is blind.
Thinking about my friend and the difficulties she gallantly copes with every day of her life, I was prompted to write the story of a woman who was blind from birth, a child of the planter's gentry found in the agricultural history of the Eastern Shore.
Imagining Jewel LeCompte and her fate as emancipation freed her slaves paved the way for a story that might be even more compelling of that posed by the other farm families who had to pay their slaves to do the same work they did before the Civil War. Jewel had to learn to work, and she had to work without the benefit of sight. I thought it was a great story and I hope my readers do as well.
The histories behind the history books always hold a great charm for me. What did the farmer do without slaves? How does a blind woman work in her kitchen? Can she learn to read, and how? Will she find love - or will it find her?
I am looking forward to seeing this last book in the Chesapeake Heritage series in print and that it will one day be recognized for the history behind the history it illuminates.
Happy reading! Terry