Today I’m welcoming author Sandra Merville Hart to Wednesday Writers. She’s going to share a humorous story about researching information for her Civil War historical inspirational romance A Stranger on My Land. Welcome back to Wednesday Writers, Sandra.
I love researching a new story idea. My digging leads me down the usual paths of nonfiction books about the subject, novels written during the time period, and local museums.
For every novel I’ve written, the path leads to new discoveries of little-known facts relating to our history, but there’s always something in the action of the story that eludes me.
My Civil War romance was no exception.
Adam, a wounded Union soldier and the hero of our story, trips over a tree root and falls unconscious in one of the scenes in A Stranger On My Land. Carrie has to move him out of the freezing weather and inside the cabin, but how does she accomplish this? He’s taller and heavier than the petite Carrie.
I enlisted my husband’s help in figuring out this scene.
He lay down on the floor and pretended to be unconscious. I forbade him to help me at all. Then I tried ever way imaginable to lift or tug him forward. I tugged so hard that I ended up on my backside in a very undignified manner. No matter how I pulled, he didn’t budge.
This experiment convinced me to come up with another plan to get Adam inside the cabin.
I thanked my trouper husband for posing as an unconscious soldier and used what I’d learned to write the scene.
A Stranger on My Land ~ a Civil War Romance by Sandra Merville Hart
Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as “The Battle above the Clouds.” Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him.
But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam’s friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. It’s not long until his gratitude and teasing manner spark a friendship between the young couple. Even though Carrie’s father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love.
When Adam’s condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. How can she accomplish this and keep her family’s hiding place a secret?
Musket fire died away.
Twice he thought he heard men tromping through the woods but he was too weak to call out. Exhausted, he closed his eyes.
The pain in his shoulder awoke him. The rain had stopped. The sky had cleared.
As he looked at the full moon, shadows crossed it until an eclipse totally hid it. Could this be an omen, he wondered? The awe-inspiring sight might have moved him more if he hadn’t been so cold and thirsty. He remembered the poncho tied to the knapsack on his back. Reaching around with his left hand, he slipped it off his shoulder, groaning as the knapsack jarred his right arm.
It took a couple of minutes for him to undo the ties that bound the poncho, but at last he arranged the waterproof cloth over his body. The blanket tied to knapsack was drenched and of no use to him. A thirst stronger than any he had ever known assailed him. Though he knew he should conserve the little bit of water in his canteen, he drank it all and still longed for more.
Severe pain robbed him of the ability to sleep. Shifting to a prone position under the relative protection of the leafless tree, he waited. No one would find him tonight, but his friends would come in the morning.
Or so he hoped.
Want to read more? Check out Sandra’s book here:
Sandra Merville Hart is the column writer for “History in the Making” at the popular and growing site, www.AlmostanAuthor.com. She is Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes many historical articles. Her debut book, A Stranger On My Land, IRCA Finalist 2015, released in 2014. She has written for several publications and blogs. Sandra loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories and drags her husband along on her adventures. Thankfully, he also enjoys these fact-finding missions.