We Did Not Sink the Titanic — Honest
Hello readers: this week I am excited to host Christine Lindsay, who writes historical fiction. Read through to the end and find out how you might win a free ebook of Sofi’s Bridge.
(Sorry, forgot to include the instructions on how to win a free ebook — see at the end of the blog)
If you have thieves and vagabonds in your family tree that clap your hands and sing hallelujah. Sinners in your ancestry are like gold to writers, as equally valuable as saints and royalty. Other careers might not be grateful to have a horse thief in their lineage, but we writers love that kind of fodder for our novels.
I haven’t yet come across any vagabonds in my own ancestry, but on my mother’s side, the Cavalry officers who served in British Colonial India were the inspiration behind my historical trilogy Twilight of the British Raj.
And on my father’s side, my great grandfather and his 14-year-old son (my grandfather) were riveters on the building of the Titanic in the Belfast shipyard. However, as a family we accept no responsibility for the 1912 sinking of that infamous vessel.
When I started writing 16 years ago, I knew that one day I would write a novel that featured the trade of riveters, that tidbit of family history I’d learned over the kitchen table as a kid. That became the idea for Sofi’s Bridge where the heroine secretly designs bridges, a no-no for a Seattle debutante in 1913. In the previous century bridges were put together with steel rivets, the same as in ship building.
But riveting back then was a dangerous trade. That danger sets the mystery in Sofi’s Bridge; why Dr. Neil Galloway is on the run from the British police for a murder in Ireland, and has made his way to Washington State.
While I knew some of my paternal family history in regards to this trade of riveting, I still had to do a fair bit of research, and came up with the following short scene from Sofi’s Bridge.
Neil picked out his brother from among the riveters, and expelled a long sigh. On the bridge deck, or on one of those meager platforms hanging over the side, one slip, one fumble…from that height…and a man could die.
On the deck, Jimmy rapped his elongated tongs against the cone-shaped catcher can, waiting for the man known as the heater. The heater sent Jimmy a nod and thrust the peg of steel into the portable cast iron forge. When the peg of metal glowed to a molten white, he pitched it forward. Jimmy caught it in the catcher can and inserted the glowing rivet into a hole in the girder. With the same concentration Neil would use with a scalpel, Jimmy waited for the bucker to place his buckling tool against the head of the rivet, and for the riveter to hammer it home.
As a writer, I’m grateful to have some knowledge of what my ancestors did. Now that I’m currently writing my 8th book, it’s come in real handy.
Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj. Her Irish wit and use of setting as a character is evident in her newest release Sofi’s Bridge.
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