Today, please welcome, guest author, Linda K. Hubalek, author of Trail of Thread series, as she explains how to write fiction based on factual events. Linda is also giving away a Kindle edition of her latest book, Trail of Thread to whomever can answer the question correctly. (Scroll to the end of this post for the question. If there are more than two correct answers, the winner will be chosen at random.)
Writing Fiction Based on Factual Events
ByTrail of Thread Series author Linda K. Hubalek
I’ve written ten historical fiction series about ancestors that homesteaded Kansas during the 1850s to the 1860s. While I base my stories on facts or photos I’ve found on my main characters, I still need to expand the story to bring the people and places to life.
Quite often a piece of information will only lead to more questions —which I think is the fun part of researching.
For example, the picture featured with my article is my great-great grandfather John Pieratt and a young woman.
Researching my family tree, John (1817-1868) and his first wife, Deborah (1821-1859) left Kentucky in 1854 to move to the new Territory of Kansas. (Their journey was the basis of my book Trail of Thread, which is a great book to use as a class project about traveling by wagon trains during the 1800s.) They were both listed in the 1850 census of Bath County, Kentucky, but John and his second wife, Nancy (1830-1863) were listed in the 1860 census of Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas.
Looking at these two people in the photo you see a big age difference between them.That leads me to believe the woman with John was wife number three, Sarah (1846-1914) whom he married in 1865. Notice she is holding a bible in her lap? That gesture was seen in photos of that era if the woman was pregnant.
So, I already know that John lost two wives and was 29 years older than his third wife when this picture was taken, probably in 1866 when Sarah had her first child. Imagine the stories you could write—and the emotions of not only John—but his children of his first marriage that were older than Sarah?
Add stories from newspaper clippings of Lawrence’s problemsduring the Bleeding Kansas era and the Civil War (which are featured in my books Thimble of Soil andStitch of Courage), and it’s easy for me to write fictional accounts of what was going on around their area, and the emotions that had to be felt by my family during that time period.
One more look at birth and death dates and I realize Sarah gives birth to her second child two days after John dies from blood poisoning. Oh my! Can you imagine what she went through?!
I just put myself in Sarah’s place and pour her emotions into my words. Is it fact or fiction? It doesn’t matter to the reader at this point because the reader has become a young mother and widow in 1868…
For more information about Linda Hubalek and her books, please look at these websites.
Linda will be giving away a Kindle edition of Trail of Thread to a lucky reader. Please answer this question in the comments box to enter the drawing. What states did John and Deborah Pieratt travel through to get to their new home?