What started as the one-time (so I thought) #IShall TwitterChat about all things historical fiction, has now (because it was so fun and people asked for more!) morphed into the #HistoricalFix TwitterChat.
What is the #HistoricalFix TwitterChat?
It’s a one-hour (more or less) discussion of historical fiction: topics, trends, time periods, research, characters and of course BOOKS. Co-hosted by some of my favorite bloggers and featuring a new line-up of guest authors each time, the chat gives historical fiction lovers (readers, bloggers, librarians, editors, agents, authors) a chance to respond to questions, participate in giveaways, recommend books, and just generally enjoy talking about the genre we all love.
When’s the next #HistoricalFix TwitterChat happening?
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
5:30-6:30 PM PST/8:30-9:30 PM EST
With a Cameo Appearance by:
Kelly of Belle of the Literati
Guest Authors and Giveaways:
Stacy Carlson author of Among the Wonderful (3 copies up for grabs!)
Tracy Guzeman author of The Gravity of Birds (5 copies up for grabs!)
Kelli Stanley author of City of Ghosts; City of Secrets; City of Dragons; Nox Dormienda; The Curse Maker (2 copies of a Miranda Corbie book AND 3 audio versions of Nox Dormienda up for grabs!)
What’s the best way to participate?
Add your tweets to the deluge! As long as you have a Twitter handle and remember to add our hashtag (#HistoricalFix), you’re in! It’s a bit easier to track the conversation if you use a website like Tweetchat—just log in using your Twitter account and search for #HistoricalFix. The entire conversation should load, and it will automatically include #HistoricalFix in all your tweets (because truly, remembering the hashtag is the hardest part. Well, and keeping up with all the tweets)
The best thing to do is tweet me with any questions that aren’t answered here: @ErinLindsMcCabe (and feel free to use the hashtag so others can see your question too)
What was the #IShall TwitterChat?
Inspired by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s #BSWT TwitterChat, I teamed up with four fabulously supportive and dedicated bloggers to celebrate the paperback release of I Shall Be Near To You and have a great time. Five historical fiction authors joined us and I think I can safely say that what transpired exceeded any of our wildest imaginings. I laugh now to think how nervous I was that no one would “show up.”
You can read pretty much everything about the #IShall TwitterChat experience in Hannah’s recap which includes a link to the list of the over 114 recommended books that came up in the course of the discussion.
#IShall Featured Authors:
Ariel Lawhon author of The Wife The Maid The Mistress
Alex Myers author of Revolutionary
Ariel MacArran author of Another Man’s Bride
Mary Volmer author of Crown of Dust
Lois Leveen author of Juliet’s Nurse; The Secrets of Mary Bowser
A long time ago, my Gramma Sprague told me that if I really wanted to be serious about achieving a goal, I should write it down.
I took her advice to heart. Here’s my list of goals from 1987. I was ten.
It took me awhile to accomplish item number ten, but there it is… When I was working on I SHALL, I had no memory of writing down that goal. It was quite a surprise when I stumbled across the “Goals for Life” file in my filing cabinet. But the memory of that 20 year old goal must have been lodged somewhere in my subconscious.
I don’t know what it is about writing down a goal, but it really helps motivate me. Making a concrete goal to hit 100,000 words with my new novel by 1/1/2015 seemed ridiculous back in the summer when I set it. But I wrote down that goal, and told a friend about it, and that accountability has really helped me keep plugging away.
I know it’s a little early maybe to be thinking about New Year’s resolutions, I’d like to pass on Gramma Sprague’s advice, and if there’s something you really want to do this year, write it down. And then maybe find someone to tell about it. I’ve definitely got some new goals I’d be putting to paper.
I woke up this morning to a text from my dad with surprising news: I Shall Be Near To You had gotten enough write-in votes to be among the semi-finalists for the Goodreads Choice Awards 2014. As the news sunk in (and as more official notice came–see that snazzy badge below?), I’ve felt such gratitude, over and over.
When I was writing I Shall Be Near To You, I dreamed about the book finding readers. As I cried over *certain parts* and laughed over others, I wondered if anyone would come to love Rosetta and Jeremiah (and Will) as much as I do. When the book was really going to be a book and not just a collection of pages binder-clipped together, I wondered who you all would be.
And then the book appeared on bookshelves (another dream!) and you started reaching out to me in emails and tweets, on Facebook and Goodreads and in blog posts. You showed up at bookstores and events, you met me for coffee and sent me book recs (and books!). You shared parts of your lives with me and we discovered we had lots of other things in common (goats, for one).
Today reminded me of what a marvel it is, how books bring people together, how dreams turn into reality. I’ve felt warm and fuzzy all day, just thinking about it. Just thinking about you.
So, I wanted to thank you for your votes. But really, thank you for reading my book and letting me know you love these characters just as much as I do. I feel so honored– such amazing company I get to keep because of this book! Thank you, dear readers for enriching my life in ways I never dreamed. You’re the best, and I am so very grateful.
A few weeks ago, in a fit of nostalgia fueled by one of my oldest friends sending me photos of notes we’d written each other all through school (don’t tell my former teachers… or students!), I decided to go through my old journals (I kept a journal from age 7-22). In the process, I ran across the journal entry where I recounted the first time I set foot on a Civil War battlefield. Here it is, from the pen of 18 year-old me:
August 12th, 1995
The 2nd day we saw the Civil War Battlefield of Manassas (Bull Run). I hadn’t really learned it as the name Manassas, so when I realized that it was the same as Bull Run, I was even more interested in seeing it because there is a beautiful love letter written by a man (Sullivan Ballou) who died there. To see a Civil War battlefield was so interesting. One can hardly believe that it was ever covered with dead bodies and soldiers. It’s so peaceful now. It really brought history to life for me, and it was really interesting to try to piece the battle together. I want to see other battlefields now too.
I wish I’d had a bit more to say (my memory of that visit is very impressionistic and yet much more emotionally resonant than the above would make it appear). My favorite part is the the reference to Sullivan Ballou’s letter, the inspiration for the title of I Shall Be Near To You. Had I not recorded that detail in my journal, I never would have remembered that I’d thought of the letter then.
Earlier this summer, fellow Crown author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore invited me to participate in two TwitterChats about beach reads and her novel Bittersweet. It was a blast chatting about books with readers, bloggers, booksellers, authors… When I started thinking about ways to celebrate the paperback release of I Shall Be Near To You, ways that would include as many of the people who have championed Rosetta and Jeremiah as possible and also feel really fun, a TwitterChat rose to the top of my list.
And so, I’m thrilled to announce and invite you to a TwitterChat about all things historical fiction:
Tuesday, September 2nd
6:00-7:00 p.m. PST (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST)
Eagerly and enthusiastically co-hosted by book bloggers extraordinaire Cassie (Cass With Books), Hannah (So Obsessed With), Kelly (Belle of the Literati), and Ellice (Paper Riot), there’s NO WAY we won’t have tons of fun with these four gals on board. Seriously. They are the best!
I’m also beyond humbled to announce that five (5!!) historical fiction authors have agreed to lend their knowledge and talents to the discussion. Ariel Lawhon (The Wife, The Maid, The Mistress), Lois Leveen (Juliet’s Nurse, forthcoming 9/26/14; The Secrets of Mary Bowswer), Ariel MacArran (Another Man’s Bride), Alex Myers (Revolutionary), and Mary Volmer (Crown of Dust), have all written books that I love to recommend because they embody so many of the qualities that I enjoy most in reading historical fiction (What to know what I think those qualities are? That’s one of the things we’ll chat about on Tuesday!).
I hope you’ll find your way over to Twitter–or better yet, use TweetChat; it’s a super simple way to organize the chat and make sure you get that all-important hash tag (#IShall) added onto every tweet (which is truly the hardest part)– and join us for the discussion. Feel free to invite anyone you know who might enjoy participating– because in addition to stimulating conversation, there will be giveaways! Five paperback copies of I Shall Be Near To You up for grabs during the course of the hour, and copies of Mary Volmer’s Crown of Dust too!
This article originally appeared on the New York Times Opinionator, where you can read it in its entirety. Here’s a taste!
On June 19, 1864, Pvt. Lyons Wakeman died of dysentery in the Marine U.S.A. General Hospital in New Orleans, after having marched 200 miles and seen combat at the Battle of Pleasant Hill, part of the Union’s Red River Campaign in Louisiana. But it would be years before Wakeman’s real identity was revealed: Lyons Wakeman was born a woman, Sarah Rosetta Wakeman.
The only people who knew for certain the soldier’s true identity were the parents and eight siblings Lyons left behind. But even they decided to keep the soldier’s secret, and afterwards spoke only of Lyons as their beloved brother.
How Rosetta managed to conceal her identity during her final month in the hospital is still a mystery. Perhaps those caring for her knew, but simply decided to let Rosetta carry the secret she’d kept for the entire two years she served in the 153rd New York State Volunteers to her grave in the Chalmette National Cemetery near New Orleans, where she is buried under her alias.
When Rosetta first left home in rural upstate New York, in the summer of 1862, she found employment as a canal man, agreeing “to run 4 trips from Binghamton to Utica for 20$ in money,” according to her letters home. It was on her first trip ferrying coal that Rosetta “saw some soldiers” near Utica who encouraged her to enlist for three years, gaining her “100 and 52$ in money” plus $13 a month thereafter – a substantial raise from the wages she had been earning.
Much of the money that Rosetta earned she sent home to her parents, telling them, “All the money I send you I want you should spend it for the family in clothing or something to eat.” Since her father was in debt, at least some of Rosetta’s motivation for enlisting was probably to help support her family. But she also alludes to more personal reasons, saying, “I want to drop all old affray and I want you to do the same and when i come home we will be good friends as ever,” and later remarking, “I had got tired of stay[ing] in that neighborhood. I knew that I could help you more to leave home than to stay.”
What conflict she had with her family is unclear, but perhaps the answer lies in the independent spirit that shines through Rosetta’s letters, particularly when she writes, “I will dress as I have a mind to for all anyone else [cares], and if they don’t let me Alone they will be sorry for it.” She also reveals her hopes of having her own farm, “in Wisconsin. On the Prairie,” and her utter lack of fear of “rebel bullets.”
She does not seem the kind of young woman who would be happy in a traditionally feminine role, and indeed, over a year into her military service, she wrote, “I have enjoyed myself the best since I have been gone away from home than I ever did before in my life. I have had plenty of money to spend and a good time aSoldier[ing]. I find just as good friends among Strangers as I do at home.” She goes on to suggest that she might re-enlist for five years and $800. “I can do that if I am a mind to. What do you think about that?”
How Rosetta managed to serve without discovery is one of the great questions surrounding not just her, but all 250 known female Civil War soldiers. There are clues, however.
Read the rest of the article on the New York Times Opinionator!
150 years ago today, on June 19, 1864, the real Rosetta Wakeman died of dysentery in the Marine USA General Hospital outside New Orleans after having marched 200 miles and fought in The Battle of Pleasant Hill. I’m thinking of her today with admiration for her sacrifice and with the hope that she would be proud of the novel she helped inspire. More than anything, I wanted the book to be a tribute to her and I hoped it would help keep the memory alive of what she and other female soldiers did in service to their country.