Post copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw
I confess, but then you already know, I love research. If something catches my eye or ear, I want to follow up, know all I can. This, I believe keeps me young and involved with life. (I must be doing something correct. I met an acquaintance who hadn’t seen me for a while. Her comment, “You are the only person who looks younger everytime I see you.”)
It is common knowledge I research early Colorado women doctors. Their stories need to be told. But in addition to their personal stories, there is a need to place them in the context of the time they lived. The stories of the life around them.
In my novella “Home for His Heart” Sam was a child soldier in the Civil War. In order to understand the world he lived in, it was important I research child soldiers. Yes, there were young boys (and women) who served in the Civil War. Most were in the drum and fife corps.Their jobs were to signal the soldiers during battles, among other duties. For more information about these child soldiers, here is a link. http://civilwarsaga.com/child-soldiers-in-the-civil-war/. The thought of the time, no one would harm the children. That turned out to be a dream.
In two current works that are in edits, it required research on the Colorado Prison System of the 1870’s, and Pueblo, Colorado from the same time period. There was some overlap, but each story required its own special research. To bring the characters and their stories to life, I try to walk the ground they would walk, whenever possible. This might mean a trip to an area I haven’t been before. Finding the stories of the region, learning what was happening. Yes, my characters are fictional, but their lives are based on facts, on truths, on real happenings.
So as I continue to write both fiction and non-fiction, it is important that I immerse myself in the worlds I am writing about. This may mean trips to remote cemeteries to read the headstones of the people in that area. Reading old newspapers, taking the stories there and creating my fictional words from those words. The newspapers are also goldmines for the non-fiction. These are the worlds the doctors lived in. Even though train travel was fairly popular in the early 1870’s, the use of horses still was a major mode of travel. This along with the status of medical discoveries, plays a big role in the lives of the women doctors.
So if I seem a bit distracted at times, just know I’m immersed in some wonderful research. I promise to come up for air, and maybe share some of the stories. In the meantime, here’s to creating the stories we all were meant to share.
HOME FOR HIS HEART
also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
Doris Gardner-McCraw/Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/angelaraines-dorismccraw
Photo and Poem: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com