Happy Sunday! I am excited for the blog tour A March to Remember by Anna Loan Wilsey was released on September 27th.
Series: A Hattie Davish Mystery (Book 5)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (September 27, 2016)
Traveling secretary Hattie Davish is taking her singular talents to Washington, D.C., to help Sir Arthur Windom-Greene research his next book. But in the winding halls of the nation’s capital, searching for the truth can sometimes lead to murder . . .
Hattie is in her element, digging through dusty basements, attics, and abandoned buildings, not to be denied until she fishes out that elusive fact. But her delightful explorations are dampened when she witnesses a carriage crash into a carp pond beneath the shadow of the Washington Monument. Alarmingly, one of the passengers flees the scene, leaving the other to drown. The incident only heightens tensions brought on by the much publicized arrival of “Coxey’s Army,” thousands of unemployed men converging on the capital for the first ever organized “march” on Washington. When one of the marchers is found murdered in the ensuing chaos, Hattie begins to suspect a sinister conspiracy is at hand. As she expands her investigations into the motives of murder and closes in on the trail of a killer, she is surprised and distraught to learn that her research will lead her straight to the highest levels of government . . .
History as Inspiration
Whenever I am giving a presentation or attending an event: a book signing, a book club, or a panel discussion, I’m inevitably asked how I come up with the plots to my books or what inspires my stories. So I thought I would answer that question here today. Of course, every writer finds his or her story ideas in a myriad of places. For me, at least while writing the historical Hattie Davish Mystery series, it all comes down to rediscovering history. Each book in my series is set in a different historical town. I make it a point of visiting each location, whether I’d been there before or not, to focus on researching the town for the book. Most often, I go on my research trip with very little plot in mind.
Instead, I comb through archived newspapers, local library books, historical museum displays and city directories, hoping to find details of the town’s past that can come alive again in my books. And, without fail, I have found the inspiration I was searching for. Sometimes I discover a subplot element I hadn’t thought of before, sometimes the very essence of the book is discovered in a black and white newspaper article. For the first book in the series, I knew I wanted to set it in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, partially because it held a special place in my life and partially because it was known to have been a famous 19th century health resort. What I discovered in my research was that Carrie Nation, the controversial, hatchet-wielding temperance leader had lived in Eureka Springs at the end of her life. Suddenly Mrs. Edwina Trevelyan was born and A Lack of Temperance had its plot.
For Anything But Civil, set in the perfectly preserved 19th century boomtown of Galena, Illinois, the fact that a town of 5,000 people produced nine Union brigadier generals and a United States president inspired the idea of what would happen when rival Civil War veterans see each other for the first time after the war had ended. For A Sense of Entitlement, set in the famous summer resort of Newport, RI, the entire plot surrounding the plight of the working class during the Panic of 1893 was inspired by a ten sentence article in the local newspaper about telegraph operators striking at Newport’s largest hotel. When I went to St. Joseph, MO, to research A Deceptive Homecoming, the only thing I knew was that it was Hattie’s hometown and she was returning, after a long absence, for a funeral. Every other element of the story came from the research I discovered in the few days I was there.
For A March Remember, I thought it would be more of a challenge to uncover some element of Washington D.C.’s history that I didn’t know. I thought I would have to create my own inspiration. But I was so wrong. What I uncovered was an important moment forgotten by history- Jacob Coxey’s workingman’s march to Washington on May 1, 1894. It was the first “protest” march on Washington and one of the most publicized events of the 19th century. Yet I, who love history so much, had never heard of it. No one I knew had heard of it. Of course I would have to incorporate this into Hattie’s D.C. adventure. So I did. As with every “inspiration,” this real event has taken Hattie, and me, on adventures based in the actual history of the city. Each immensely fascinating, I can’t imagine having to make such stories up!
About the author:
Anna Loan-Wilsey, biologist, librarian, and author, writes the historical Hattie Davish Mystery series featuring a Victorian traveling secretary who solves crimes in every historic town she visits. The first in the series, A Lack of Temperance, set in 1890’s Eureka Springs, Arkansas, (an Amazon #1 bestseller) was followed by Anything But Civil (set in Galena, IL), A Sense of Entitlement (an iBook #1 bestseller set in Newport, RI), and A Deceptive Homecoming (set in St. Joseph, MO, Hattie’s hometown). A March to Remember finds Hattie caught up in the political intrigues surrounding Coxey’s Army and the first “march” on Washington, D.C. Anna lives in a Victorian farmhouse near Ames, Iowa with her family where she is happily working on new mystery adventures.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annaloanwilsey @annaloanwilsey
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