Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Walking in the Footsteps of the Past

I’m still celebrating the release of the first two books in my A More Perfect Union series of historical romances. The stories are set in and around Charleston, South Carolina, in the fall of 1782. The British prepared to evacuate the city, as the war wound down. This time period fascinates me. I don’t think most Americans, let alone citizens of other countries, understand the dynamics of that age. In order to understand it better myself, I had to visit present day Charleston not once but twice for research… Seriously. I did research (among other things). What kind of research did I do? Well, let me tell you, but first I have a special announcement to make!

Emily’s Vow (Book 1) is only $.99 for a digital copy through December 31! So I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll give away an ebook copy of Amy’s Choice (Book 2) to three commenters (selected using who buy a copy of Emily’s Vow and post the confirmation number and email address in the comments below. That’s right! You could have both of the first two books in the series for less than one dollar. Here are the links to buy a copy of Emily’s Vow:

Now let’s look at some of the places I visited to gain a sense of the place and ensure my historical facts are as accurate as I can make them.
My supportive guinea pig hubby traveled with me to Cowpens National Battlefield. In the photo, he is the man on the right, as the park ranger led us down the road where the battle between the Americans and the British took place. This site becomes important in book 3, Samantha’s Secret (spring 2015).

We also discovered Brattonsville, a town on the frontier of South Carolina during the 18th century. It’s a unique site because American Revolution era buildings are on one side of the street, and Civil War era buildings on the other. They had a really nice gift shop and museum, too. Walking through the school helped me describe the experience of walking on the old wood floors in the books. The photo shows a cabin where somebody lived.
In Charleston, we took a carriage ride through the historic downtown so that I could get a sense of what traveling back in the 18th century might have been like. The horse’s name was Bob; I have no idea what the guide’s name was! But we learned about alley notorious for being used for duels, which features in Emily’s Vow.

We also took a tour of the Old Exchange and Dungeon, learning about how the British kept prisoners in the basement, shown in the photo, while they occupied the city. This site features in Emily’s Vow .

On our first trip to Charleston we stayed at the Rutledge House B&B, which was the home of John Rutledge, one of the governors of South Carolina during the Revolution time period. This is where I tried sherry for the first time, when they served high tea one afternoon in the upstairs parlor. Being in the elaborately decorated house helped me to visualize other houses in each of the three stories. The photo shows the rear of the majestic house.
And in order to sample the atmosphere a bit more, we ate dinner one night at McCrady’s Tavern, which existed during the Revolution. Also, George Washington ate there when he made a tour of the south after he became the first president of the United States of America. We were seated in the “old section” so I like to think I ate dinner in the same room as Washington.

I hope you’ll take me up on my offer, because these ladies’ stories are dear to my heart and I want to share them with everyone who loves historical fiction as much as I do! Good luck!

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Twitter: @BettyBolte
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Louisa Cornell said...

What a wonderful research trip! You've definitely gone the extra mile to make your stories authentic and I know it will show in your writing!

Many people don't realize the work that goes into researching a historical romance before you ever write the first word and often after you've written The End !!

I'm off to get the first book in the series!!

Betty Bolte said...

Thanks, Louisa! Yes, checking my facts requires confirming information between several sources, not just one. Enjoy Emily's Vow!