Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writing Historical - A New Experience And I'm Having a Blast!

A few months back, I wrote about seeing my hometown of Lake Geneva, WI through new eyes as I delved into research in preparation for writing a book set there in 1933.

I finished the proposal on August first, and my agent sent it on to a potential publisher. In the meantime, I attended the ACFW conference in Denver, and then reworked my cozy mystery from a mystery with romance to a romance with mystery. It is now titled, Thyme for Love. With the proposal for that story out at several places, I finally have time to work on my Lake Geneva romance called Dream a Little Dream of Me. It's only a working title and often publishers will change titles to suit their preferences, so I hang onto it loosely.

Other than writing a short story for a creative writing class based on my grandmother's diary from 1900, I have never written historical fiction in my life. I have always loved writing about today, having my characters use their cell phones, computers, etc. and ride around in fast cars. But writing early to mid 20th century historical is different than writing historicals set in Colonial times or even at the turn of the century, 1900.

Today's Lake Geneva looks a lot different than the Lake Geneva I grew up in. First, the town has grown by about 3,000 people, and second, it now boasts a Super Walmart, McDonalds, Burger King, Home Depot and many other franchised operations. When I was a kid we had to drive to Milwaukee for a McDonald's burger. The lake, of course, is still there, but the beach has been improved and some of the large mansions have been torn down for smaller lots.

However, if you stop long enough to look, you'll still see vestages of the past. Enough mansions are still there, perhaps boasting several more coats of paint or a wing added on, but they are still the stately manors they were in the 19th century.

Stroll down Main Street and look up past the modern storefronts of shops selling gourmet foods, boutique clothing, and home decor and you'll see the architecture of a time gone by. It doesn't take much to imagine a butcher shop, food market, or mercantile that once existed on the street level.

Today what was once called the Slater Building houses a real estate company. When I was a child I went to the dentist on the second floor, and I can't remember what was on the first floor. Probably a different real estate company. That's the building on the right. Back in 1933, it housed the Lake Geneva News-Trib, the weekly paper where the hero and heroine in my novel meet and work. It's a special feeling to know that I've been in that building many times as a child, and now here I am writing a story set right there.

Oh if those walls could talk. I bet they'd give me fodder for more stories than I could write. And it would be a blast.

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