One reason I love to sink my mind into history is my inquisitive desire to know what was new to the people of the era. If you asked me what’s new in my town, as in additional buildings or businesses or infrastructure, I can honestly say a new library. Believe me, that is a big deal, for my town has never had a library, although it will be a small branch of the larger parish one. It is new and boasts the image of growth and change.
As I complete the Revolutionary Faith Series, my mind wanders to a time before railroads, paved interstates, and power lines to the 1770s bustling city of Charles Town, South Carolina. Asking my question then (What’s new?) would produce more than a new library. The city was already almost a century old. In 1670, two hundred settlers founded Charles Town, honoring King Charles II, on the west bank of the Ashley River. Around 1680, the town moved to its present location on the peninsula between the Ashely and Cooper Rivers. Everything was new.
By 1770 my characters, Elizabeth and Louis, would witness the birth of new structures such as houses, churches, government buildings, museums, and schools. During the pre-revolution or colonial era, people struggled with maintaining the old and establishing the new as the birth of a nation battled in their brains. Their city was already ninety years old. But something urged them to slacken their hold to the past and let the new penetrate the very foundation of their lives.
Reading, researching, and writing about history helps me find that balance between the new and the old. Our ancestors had the same struggles with what to grasp tightly and what to hold loosely. This past year has taught us some of the same lessons. Our way of life tilted and altered to adjust to what reigns important and valuable. Perhaps this new birth will produce a better place to weld the old with the new.
February 9 is the release of Wait for Me. Join Elizabeth and Louis in the fight for a new nation while clinging to the foundations of their lives.