The Stories We Tell
As an author, I create stories with characters that speak to me, sometimes in my dreams but always in the very early morning hours! Muses have little respect for a writer's sleep.
I'd like to talk a bit about our real stories, for we are nothing if not for our stories.
When we are young, we think the world began and will end with us. As we get older, we discover there was indeed a world long before any of us and it will most certainly go on without us. For me, that was a revelation of massive proportions.
I've been a non-professional genealogist for over twenty years. During that time, I've uncovered some very interesting stories about my ancestors, some of which were rather unsavory creatures. Ultimately, they are great fodder for the stories I write, changing the names to protect the not so innocent, of course.
My grandmother died when I was seventeen. I adored her and miss her all these years later. My greatest regret is that I didn't know her better. Yes, I saw her nearly every day, talked to her, but never asked one question about who she really was, other than my Gram, I mean. After her death, I began asking my mother the questions, and found she didn't have a clue about anything to do with her mother.
Of course, that only made me more curious, for my grandmother was an interesting woman in her simplicity. She was wholly uneducated, though she could read and write. I began to dig and oddly, the more questions I asked, the more answers I easily discovered. I grilled my mother's siblings, all five of them, and slowly a glorious picture emerged.
Doris Moon was motherless at fourteen, an orphan at sixteen. Four days after her father died, she married my grandfather. My aunt said they'd planned on marriage but it was sped up by events beyond their control. Being poor, several of her siblings went to an orphanage, the two youngest were adopted out, the rest were taken in my families in town. My grandmother was the third oldest.
By the time Gram was thirty-one years old, she and my grandfather, were the parent of six children. They never lost any in childbirth, quite common at the time. Their children grew to adulthood, five still living today, my mother being the only one lost.
I visit my former home every couple of years, during which time, I sit with my aunts and uncle and they tell me stories. One of my favorites was the one about the time my Uncle Pete and his classmates tied their schoolmaster to the bench on which he slept. He loves to tell that story and I really don't believe he remembers he's told it to me dozens of times. I'd listen to it a dozen more just to hear his laugh as he remembers that day.
In my research, I discovered my Gram's brother Roy was a hero, died during a flood while trying to save a family's possessions. He died at thirty-five, leaving four small children and a lovely young widow. I met her, fifty years after Roy's death, she aged and frail. She told me of that rainy day, the creek overflowing its banks. Dorothy begged her husband not to go, but he felt compelled to go help. It wasn't an hour later that a neighbor came banging on her door and she knew. She told me she ran from the house, leaving her children with the bearer of the bad news. She was there when they found Roy's body, which had been washed down the creek and wrapped around a tree. Though she'd remarried many years later and bore two more children, she never recovered from Roy's death. She followed him in 2007, sixty-two years later. She maintained to her dying day, according to her children, that Roy was the love of her life.
Then there was my great-grandmother, who bore my mother's grandfather and gave him up. He was then 'adopted' by the family I grew up thinking were related by blood. It appears that great-granny was complicit in a murder. She was also rather loose with her favors, acquiring several "husbands" and uncles for her passel of children.
However, she also engaged in some nefarious activities, including the murder of her first husband, Samuel. It would seem she enticed her first husband to sign over his life saving to her and their two children. The vast sum of $200 was securely in her name and that night, her second husband, William, lured Samuel into a barn and murdered him. Of course, he was caught, as was most of his family, and they were all jailed, including my charming great-grandma.
From the transcripts of the trials, I gleaned an exact picture of her, red hair, 'not a very handsome woman', stutter and all. It was many years later, after a couple of years in prison, that my great-grandfather was born. My mother adored him and his red hair.
Stories, real or fictional, are wonderful. I have many real stories, some charming and some not so much. However, they are all part of my history. I have doctors, lawyers even the first fire chief in Boston in my family tree. All with great, interesting stories attached to their names.
Writers are constantly creating stories, some with unlikely characters, others quite predictable. However, I dare guess, even the most unusual characters could never equal those characters found hanging in my family tree.
I will continue to use my ancestry to provide me with bits and pieces of personalities for my heroes and heroines. The stories I write will always have a germ of reality, taken from those who came before.
Now, if you've read my books, you know my characters have rather kinky propensities. They, my friends, are strictly from my imagination. At least I haven't discovered any lurking about my ancestry.
The point I'd like to make is, ask questions of your family, dig into the history of your family. I can't guarantee you will find characters as colorful as some of mine, but if you do find any with some interesting, ahh, practices, please contact me and maybe your ancestor will appear in a future book! *wink, smile and raised eyebrow*
Find me here:
Website/Blog: CLICK HERE
Facebook: CLICK HERE
Twitter: CLICK HERE
Shelfari: CLICK HERE
Goodreads: CLICK HERE
Brita would like to giveaway to the winner an ebook from her Sapphire Club Series their choice. There is Serenity's Dream Book 1, Lord Decadent's Obsession Book 2, and Chocolate, Tea And The Duchess Book 3 to choose from. If you would like to win one of these ebooks you must head over to Sinfully Tasty Reads HERE.
This giveaway is open to everyone and ends September 14th at midnight (EST).
I want to say thank you to Brita Addams for being my first featured author. I also want to thank her for her time and generosity. If you have not read any of Brita's book please consider doing so for she is truly a gifted writer.