7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Inspiration to Read and Write Colonial Fiction by Rita Gerlach

Frederick Barracks
Do you find inspiration in the town you live in, its countryside, rivers and streams, fields and mountains? Is there something about the atmosphere that gives you material to write about? Is there something about the history that motivates you to read fiction set in the Colonial era?

I live in a historical town in western Maryland. I love downtown --- the old buildings, the park, the promenade along the creek that runs through it, and the history. Oh, the history is rich here. Founded in 1745, Frederick, Maryland sits on the banks of Carrol Creek, in a valley once called 'Apple Valley' due to all the orchards. During the Revolution, the Frederick Barracks pictured above housed Hessian prisoners of war. Reading the accounts posted on the Facebook page, it was quite amiable and often times rowdy. 


The Frederick riflemen were famous during the Revolution for their superior marksmanship, and the town sat on the fringes of the Indian War, also knows as Cresap's War, Lord Dunmore's War, or Logan's War. (I am revising two novels set in this period and will be reissuing them in the spring.) 

Central and western Maryland's countryside, especially along the Potomac, are huge inspirations for my writing. Here I found the inspiration for my historical series, Daughters of the Potomac, set in the days of the American Revolution and its aftermath. I've had moments where I've stood on the shoreline of the river, breathed in the air, gazed across to Harpers Ferry, and felt a kind of pull to write about what came before us. Indeed this area is significant to the Civil War, Antietam and Sharpsburg being close by, and overshadows the Colonial history. But the era of the American Revolution permeates the area. A few miles up river from these battlefields sits Fort Frederick, build during the French and Indian War.

If you are reading or writing a historical novel, or you just want to explore the history of your area, may I suggest you take a day and drive through the countryside down sideroads you've never been before?  Here's what happened to me on such a day. 

We were driving down Sunday's Lane, a very rural part of the county. I saw a stone jutting up on the edge of the road on a rise of ground and asked my husband to stop. I got out and discovered it was a Civil War grave marker. I walked further on. Here was a family's burial ground going back to the Revolution. As sad as it was, I read the inscription on a child's stone. "It is well with my child". I was so moved that I included this in my novel 'Beside Two Rivers'. 

Rita Gerlach: http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com


  1. Wonderful article, Rita! The photos are beautiful. I'd love to visit there someday. I can see why the area inspired you to write your series!

  2. Thank you, Joan. It is amazing how much history is in my area. I have a post I'm working on about Prospect Hall.

  3. Love this post, Rita. What a beautiful area you live in! I live in the historic triangle of Virginia so I have endless inspiration. And I grew up where the French voyageurs and Father Marquette made their mark.

  4. Thanks Rita for the great post and for the beautiful "inspirational"
    pictures. Like Carrie, I live in the historic triangle of Virginia: Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. There is a wealth of historical events that took place all around here.


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