Friday, December 23, 2011

Chasing History

When I research for books it seems I am often chasing history, so it was dejavu when an essay I submitted to a magazine was accepted and published with the title,"Chasing History". The article can be found in the "New Books" section of the holiday issue of Mystery Scene magazine. I was thrilled, of course, so I choose to sharethe essay in my blog today.

"Would you believe a picture on the wall of a defunct cotton mill could inspire a series? Could a New England mill town be a vibrant sense of place for the setting? Yes and yes! The seed for the stories in The Maine Shore Chronicles was a lithograph, circa 1845, of a woman tending a spinning frame in a local cotton mill. In my mind's eye the woman in the picture metamorphosed into my grandmother, who actually came to that town with her family in 1890 to work in the mills. the lithograph inspired me to write a series about characters with a mix of my heritage in a real place on Maine's coast that is steeped in ethnicity and tradition.
Chasing after the source of that drawing for permission to use it in my writing was a three month's search that tested my patience. I discovered that the original lithograph was held in the collections of a textile museum in Massachusetts. After many phone calls, letters and emails I received permission from the museum to place the drawing in my first book of the Maine Shore Chronicles series, Finding Fiona.  Research and writing of  three books in this series has taken six years. I realized that getting published was one part luck,one part talent and one part persistence, and I'm certain I had the last part. I mix mysticism with faith in the books with what I hope is surprising results. My new book, Promise Keeper, contains a smidgen of mysticism from my family background. My great grandmother was a healer and a seer. Those skills are inherited by my series continuing character, Tante Margaret.That brings us full circle, since my inspiration for Tante was the woman in the 1840's lithograph."
Back to Author Expressions , now that there are only two days left and counting and the spirit of Christmas abounds, allow me to share the essence of another blog I viewed last week, called "Christmas Balance". It was about preparing for the next year's holiday by doing after Christmas shopping at a savings, then stashing the gifts away for giving the following year.
Since I am continually chasing history, I'm reminded that I did something similar years ago, using a plan called "The Christmas Club". You banked money each month in a savings "club" bank to have funds for the following year's gifts. Anyone remember that?
I'll tuck that one away for a future book! For now the hall is decked, carols fill the air, and greetings and gifts are mailed. All is in readiness because spouse and I will be celebrating Christmas aboard a sailing ship this year. Meantime, I extend wishes for a blessed and joyful Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and a peaceful New Year to all.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Your series sounds fascinating and I've placed the books on my list for reading this coming year. I love historical romance and mystery fiction. The books have an excellent setting since you have a connection through your heritage. I always maintain that the best settings for novels are ones we're truly connected with. It lends novels authenticity.

Alana White said...

Mary, I loved your comments regarding "Chasing History." So true! Alana White,

Brenda Hill said...

I remember my 'Christmas Club' and what a life-saver it was. I keep thinking I'll do something like that for the next year, yet I never do. Thanks for the reminder.

Promise Keeper sounds like a book I'd love, so I'll request it at my local library along with some other 5 Star books.

Mary F. Schoenecker said...

Thanks for commenting about my blog, Jacqueline. Your remarks about authentic setting make me feel good about choices I made.

Mary F. Schoenecker said...

Thank you for commenting, Alana.Chasing history has always been a work of love.

Mary F. Schoenecker said...

Many thanks , Brenda, for asking your library to carry PROMISE KEEPER. Five Stars are the best.