In the writing room right now ...
In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?
Sunday, June 27, 2010
And it all is part of the long, slow accumulation of detail for a book that I'll probably start in 2012 -- working title "Crowd Control" but that's just for the file folder. I already know it involves a haunting, and the long consequences of injustice. Will it be for young adults, or older readers? I won't know until the characters start speaking to me.
But for the moment, I'd rather they only whisper. COLD MIDNIGHT and THE FIRE CURSE are occupying about all of the writing brain that I've got!
Just for the fun of it, here's a photo from the History Expo, where I met with readers and history buffs at noon. The Expo takes place every second year and is well worth attending! In the photo are members of the Vermont Civil War Hemlocks (Civil War re-enactors).
Posted by Beth Kanell at 8:30 PM
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Posted by Beth Kanell at 7:03 PM
Friday, June 25, 2010
To see the work of creating this exhibit, check out our "workspace" at http://stjathenaeum-hall.blogspot.com.
I am so excited as I tell people about "Libbie" Custer and her powerful effect in redirecting history around her husband's disastrous battle; about how Stanley pandered to Victorian taste in his narratives (that are now strongly in doubt in several portions); about President Harrison's light-bulb moment that resulted in flags in public schools; about Lincoln's argument with Horace Greeley. If people can be seen as plants, our roots are in these stories, and our blossoms and fruit are shaped by them, whether for good or ill.
Posted by Beth Kanell at 11:33 AM
Thursday, June 24, 2010
One way is through the Chinese Historical Society of New England, which graciously allowed me to join a group tour earlier this month in order to hear about the district and how it has changed, along with the memories of CHSNE members and details from their studying and collecting. Thank you, Caroline, Nancy, and more.
Most important details learned in terms of 1921: no New Year's parade or festivities outside the home at that time, and VERY few women, due to the harsh conditions set by the (US) Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which by 1921 had widened into the Asian Exclusion Act.
Posted by Beth Kanell at 8:47 AM
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Most critical in triggering THE LONG SHADOW was a visit to Rokeby, the best documented Underground Railroad station in Vermont. If you'd like to visit, the site is open in summer, or drop in at the website: http://www.rokeby.org/home.html. At Rokeby are photos, letters, furnishings ... all the reality of life lived fully, more than a hundred and fifty years ago. And Director Jane Williamson's research on what "really happened" in Vermont at that time -- I can say absolutely that this was key to the adventures and view of events that unfold in the novel.
Also important, as any story takes shape, are the details of clothing, food, roadways, forests, wildlife. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife team helped me pin down the presence of wolves in 1850; a friend at the Smithsonian Institution provided resources for the "how" of 19th-century dishwashing, which I needed to know about in order to get enough detail into some family scenes. And I used early photos and drawings of the village of North Danville, Vermont, found mostly in a graduate thesis by Gerald LaMothe.
It takes more than a village to research a book properly!
This week I'm excited about visiting Chinatown in Boston, for a tense scene in the novel now unfolding at my computer: COLD MIDNIGHT. I need to know what Chinatown looked like, felt like, smelled like, in 1921. I'll fill you in on some of the discoveries next week.
Posted by Beth Kanell at 10:21 AM