How did I get the idea for my latest work in progress? Well, it depends on which one you’re referring to. I have several.
In 2022, I will launch three historical fiction novellas, Journey of Hope, Rose’s Assignment and The Unmarriable Kind. All three were inspired by the WWI trilogy. Below are the author notes from my three upcoming novellas. They are still works in progress and the author notes may change a bit by publication, but they do explain the inspiration for the stories.
My contemporary fiction series, the Rock Star’s Wife, is not included in this blog. More on that at a later date.
Journey of Hope
Those of you who read my WWI trilogy are already partially familiar with Claire, the heroine in this story. She was mentioned in Those Left Behind.
Finally, Lucretia returned with a white stone set in a small gold band. “This is moonstone. This ring belonged to your great-grandmother Claire Winthrop Appleton. It is small. It should fit Maeve’s hand. It doesn’t fit mine.” She handed Tommy the ring before snatching it back. “Your great-grandmother was born in 1810. This was hers in her youth. It survived the trip from New Brunswick to Upper Canada. It stays in the family no matter what happens. No matter what.”
This novella details Claire’s journey from New Brunswick to Barrie in modern day Ontario, where her descendants live during the Great War. The area that became Barrie was first settled in the War of 1812 as a supply depot. It did not acquire the name Barrie, however, until 1832, and, therefore, remains nameless in this work.
The Mi’kmaq referenced in Chapter 2 are a First Nations people who are indigenous to the Maritimes as well as parts of Quebec and Maine.
Journey of Hope is a standalone story.
If you read my WWI trilogy, you are already familiar with Rose, the heroine in this story. She appears briefly in each of the novels as Hettie’s grandmother. This novella details one of Rose’s assignments working with Underground Railroad, a time that was hinted at in Adjustment Year:
“Hettie could not imagine Rose, a woman who helped settle slaves in Canada after they arrived via the Underground Railroad, obey anything but her own conscience.”
Slavery was officially abolished in Canada in 1834, although it had been on the decline since the 1790s.
Many anti-slavery societies formed in the Canadian colonies prior to the American Civil War, including the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada, which was founded in Toronto in 1851 by mostly Presbyterians and Congregationalists. Whites and blacks from the church and the business world comprised the organization, and members included professionals, the elite, intellectuals, orators and refugees (the term for escaped slaves). The society, which was active into the early 1860s, raised funds to feed, house and clothe refugees with the goal of providing them with opportunities.
Refugees escaped north to Canada hoping for a better life. Although Canadians were against slavery, prejudices existed and refugees faced discrimination. This attitude is reflected in some of the characters in this story, sometimes even by Rose herself.
Barrie, in modern day Ontario, was the terminus of an Underground Railroad branch. Refugees in Simcoe County settled in Shanty Bay, approximately six miles from Barrie. The community, named after its shanties, had a population of 500 in 1840, the only year I could find the village’s population information.
Rose’s Assignment is a standalone story.
The Unmarriable Kind
If you read my WWI trilogy, you are already familiar with Lucretia, the heroine in this story. She is Hettie’s mother. Indeed, you already are aware of how this story ends. You know that Lucretia marries Benjamin. What you don’t know, however, are the events that led to their nuptials. That is the story this novella explores. How did Lucretia and Benjamin meet? How did Amelia meet Gordon Bartlette? Who exactly are the unmarriable kind?
This story takes place in 1884, making it the first story since the WWI trilogy set after Canada’s Confederation. The young nation also is in the midst of Industrial Revolution, especially in Ontario (where The Unmarriable Kind is set) and Quebec. The country is rapidly industrializing. As the Canadian Encyclopedia explains, “During this period, companies reshaped manufacturing, consumption, work and the urban landscape.”
The Unmarriable Kind is a standalone story.