She needed to flee but to where? That question had me searching the historic records for a place for Evelyn, along with Nathaniel, to move at the end of Evelyn’s Promise. Somewhere on the new frontier, now that the American Revolution had ended. Somewhere dangerous yet appealing to the adventurous and courageous. Somewhere her friends and family would object to her attempting to make the arduous journey.
After some digging, I found the Yazoo Lands and the ensuing land scandal. The area encompasses what is now northern Alabama and was largely inhabited by Indians, or the ancestors of the people today we call Native Americans. The area only sparsely had white people settling on land, trying to start new towns and cities.
Having identified the ultimate destination, then I had to study the historic maps to determine the route they would most likely take to wend their way across hostile land and territory. How would a lady with an infant travel from the eastern coast near Charlestown (present-day Charleston), South Carolina, across rough roads and trails, crossing swollen rivers, mountains, and forests to the edge of the newly independent country?
As difficult as it must have been, she’d most likely travel by wagon as far as possible. Perhaps later she’d be forced to ride astride through the roughest terrain, but for my purposes, she’d start out in a wagon of some fashion. Which she did through the end of the story, which ends long before she would have reached her destination.
I believe in understanding the situations my characters would have faced in their day and with the constraints of the society and the technology available. Adhering as closely as possible, based on research, to the realities of life in the 18th century enriches the context of the stories. People then faced very different challenges on a day-to-day basis than we do today. The speed with which we can travel across America, and indeed the world, would be truly astonishing to people living in the 1700s. That’s one aspect of life in the past that I’ve tried to underscore for my readers. Did I succeed?
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If you’re interested in buying your own copy of Evelyn’s Promise, you can find her story at the following links. Thanks!
Amazon ebook: http://amzn.to/1nifyz4