Saturday, October 25, 2008

write what you know

This week I walked into a winter wonderland at Wal-Mart and Costco and was reminded that the holidays are right around the corner. It was a bit of a shock since I just celebrated Christmas in this third book and am now firmly entrenched in the middle of a very cold Kentucky January, 1779.

In The Frontiersman's Daughter I have a cabin Christmas scene where Ian gives Lael a particular gift. My editor really likes this scene but you'll have to wait and read the book! In Red River Daughter my favorite scene takes place in the orchard overlooking the Red River in autumn.

Other favorite chapters in book 2 involve babies and nursing which had me relying heavily on my own sleep-deprived days when I felt like a cow:) At the time I nursed my boys I never imagined using that particular experience in a novel. Colonial women nursed their children or found a wet nurse in their stead. Forgive me for being graphic but I could write a few chapters on spraying milk, mastitis, cabbage leaves, the Dolly Parton look and all the rest. Nursing isn't for sissies! But it sure came in handy when writing this book, though I made sure my Red River Daughter had a far easier go of it than I did.

All of this brings me back to this post's title which is to write what you know. Writers are often told to do this and it simply means your work will be far more authentic if you write out of your own experience.

In The Scrivener's Daughter I have Roxie doing a lot of knitting. Lael can knit in book 1 but she is mostly all action. Knitting is a bit like playing violin. I admire those who can knit and play but I don't know how to do it (though I did squeak out Mary Had A Little Lamb on the violin the other day). But I think I'd better learn as Roxie knits her way through this next novel.

Anyway, writing is never dull, as you can see. Ask James Thom who mastered all kinds of Colonial tools, rifles and other weapons, hiked the Lewis and Clark Trail several times, and more in order to write his wonderful, bestselling books. By the way, I wrote Mr. Thom a letter not long ago AND HE WROTE BACK!

More later. Hope your Saturday is a good one and finds you learning something new!

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