The Thrill of Discovery in Research
Posted by historythrutheages
Today our featured guest is Marilyn Turk, author of historical fiction and lover of all things history. She is sharing her favorite topic–discovering the story and the characters.
Read on to the end, as Marilyn will be giving away a free copy of her book.
People often ask me about the creative process for the story I’ve written, particularly, how I came up with the idea for the story.
My answer is: I didn’t. As a Christian writer who seeks God’s will in my writing, I believe God leads to me find the story, to discover it. I live near the beach and sometimes, I see people with metal detectors scanning the sand to find buried treasure, or more accurately these days, someone’s jewelry that got lost. I feel like finding a story is discovering the treasure lying beneath.
Or I relate to an archaeologist who digs below the soil to find civilizations long since forgotten. How exciting it must be to find the remains of a home, then a village, of people who lived in the past.
As a historical writer, I’m the archaeologist looking for lost stories of people long ago. The more I find out about a historical period or setting, the more I know about the people who lived during that time. And as I discover what their lives were like, I discover their stories.
The research is the most fun because I’m fascinated by information and little known facts I’d never been aware of before. I’m so excited when I find some tidbit or gem that will produce interesting details in the lives of my characters.
In my research for The Gilded Curse, for example, finding out about the history of Jekyll Island and its exclusive “Millionaires Club” was intriguing, introducing me to a world of yesteryear where affluent people once roamed a small island off the coast of Georgia. Some of America’s wealthiest and most famous individuals – Pulitzer, Goodyear, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt, to name a few – escaped to the island during the cold New England winters to play. The “gilded” society during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s brought all the comforts of home with them as they maintained their social lifestyle on a smaller scale.
But the Great Depression and World Wars changed the wealth and the climate of the country, and the gilded generation disappeared, along with their wealth and prestige.
Then along came my character Alexandra Smithfield, the last heir of one of those families. When Lexie returned to the island ten years after her family had left when she was a child, she discovered that in many ways, the island had changed. And in other ways, it had stayed the same. The Gilded Curse is Lexie’s story about what she finds out and how it will affect her life.
I hope you enjoy finding out with her.
Here is a short description of the book:
In 1942, Lexie Smithfield becomes the only heir to her family’s dwindling fortune after her brother is killed at Pearl Harbor. A mysterious telegram beckons her back to Jekyll Island. Ten years before, the family quit coming to the exclusive Millionaire’s Club after tragic events convinced her mother the island was cursed. Club Superintendent Russell Thompson knows the truth, but he swore never to tell. Will he and Lexie discover the real danger before it’s too late? Check out the book on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/1pkiaNJ
To enter to win a free copy of the book, leave a comment along with your email address, and we’ll enter your name in a drawing.
Marilyn Turk has been published in Guideposts magazine, Guideposts books – A Joyful Heart and A Cup of Christmas Cheer, The Upper Room, Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Lighthouse Digest magazine. Her Coastal Lights Legacy series features stories set around lighthouses. Her book, Lighthouse Devotions was published in 2015. Her weekly lighthouse blog can be found at www.pathwayheart.com. She lives in Florida with husband Chuck and enjoys boating, fishing, tennis, and gardening when she’s not climbing lighthouses or playing with her grandsons.