The tiniest of things can make an author’s heart go pitty-pat with excitement. I write historical romance, which requires a great deal of research. I’m good with that. I love digging around in libraries, visiting museums, and imagining what it might have been like to fall in love in another time period in history. And reading. I love reading almost as much as the writing.
As for my characters, I adore the challenge of bringing together two people during a particular historical era and showing how the events impacted their relationship. Every time period has its obstacles, and I’m especially curious about how people faced the challenges of their times while falling in love. So, I spend appreciable hours in libraries where my heart often feels giddy when I find something delicious to include in a book. Just such an episode happened this week.
My current work-in-process is set in 1796 America. The American Revolution has settled down, and the country is facing difficulties on every level. The Northwest Territory is the new frontier as people desiring more freedoms and less crowding travel westward to the Ohio country beyond the Allegheny Mountains. Part of what gets my story moving is the Treaty of Greeneville between the United States government and the Indians of the Iroquois nation. This agreement was signed on August 3, 1795 in Greeneville, Ohio following General Anthony Wayne’s once-and-for-all quelling of Indian hostilities against settlers.
What happened in the Special Collections of the library yesterday brought a thrill to my heart. While I have seen the wording of the Treaty online, I had yet to see an actual and official copy of the Treaty until yesterday. The Treaty is the motivation that sets my hero, Romney Applewood, on his journey, and it just feels luscious having seen a primary resource confirming the contents. Sometimes a writer has to travel for miles to see authentic documents, but I am grateful to have this wonderful collection literally twenty-five minutes from my house.
Besides giving me a thrill to see, hold, and read a primary (original) resource, I have confirmation for those questioning my spelling of Greeneville in the manuscript. The current town, still located in western Ohio, has dropped an ‘e’ from the spelling of its name. It is now Greenville, Ohio, and some past readers of the WIP have commented that I’m spelling it incorrectly. The document I viewed this week in the library proved my spelling to be correct.
I am trying to find time in my schedule the next two months to visit GreenEville, OH.