I watched him sweep her into his arms in one quick movement. She cradled her head against his forearm. Then he whirled around with her down the sidewalk. He was smiling and she was laughing. I thought, 'They must be so in love'. As a writer, these are the things I love to see, things I notice. These are the kinds of things that I write down, and will put in a novel. It isn't often you see this kind of affection out on a public sidewalk. . .that old fashioned courting kind of affection.
It got me thinking, how writers are observant people. We pick up on a conversation while in line at the grocery store, or what a client next to us at the hair salon is saying. We watch the body language of people. We observe the depressed housewife as she reaches for apples in the produce section, and the anxious parent waiting outside the principle's office.
How about the homeless man sitting outside the Rescue Mission? How about the elderly couple taking a walk in the park, holding hands? How about the woman in the church pew praying, or the lonely teenager sitting outside on the front stoup?
I observe places much the same way. There's the old plantation house atop a hill, now surrounded by roads, and an assisted living home . Every time I see Prospect Hall, I wonder about the people that built it. Who were the people that lived in it down the years, and what are their stories?
Historical fiction writers are captivated by people and places, not just historical facts. The large plantation house above is Prospect Hall in Frederick, Maryland. It was built around 1787 and completed by 1810 on the highest hill outside the city called Red Hill. So much of its history has been lost in time, but we do know George Washington spent time there.
Prospect Hall is about 1 mile from my home. Whenever I drive past it, I envision horses and carriages moving up the lane. There is a stone wall surrounding the front built by slaves. Parts of it are crumbling. The property became a Catholic school for many years, and is up for sale. Thankfully it is on the historic registry. However, it is sad to see the paint is peeling on the house, and is beginning to look neglected. But what a house of historical richness it is. If only the walls could talk!
Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. Her historical romance 'Surrender the Wind' gained four and five star reviews. In February, Abingdon Press released the first book in Rita's historical drama series, 'Daughters of the Potomac' entitled 'Before the Scarlet Dawn' which won high praise from USA Today Book Reviews. Two more books in the trilogy are forthcoming.