A Day in the Life of an Author - Gathering Research
By Rebecca Price Janney, Oct 12 2017 03:45PM
For the past several weeks I’ve been doing research for Easton at the Crossroads, book three in my Easton Series with Elk Lake Publishing. Just a few weeks have transpired for Erin Miles and Peter Kichline since the end of Easton in the Valley, but a sea change is in process for both of them, as well as their families.
In January 1776, Easton is moving closer toward war with Great Britain with all of the accompanying stress, and Erin has embarked on yet another journey in her widowhood. Both she and Peter are sure of the decisions they made in the second book, so why are things not turning out the way they hoped? (I think we’ve all been in such a position.)
I’ve been reading books, articles, and first-hand accounts of Peter’s world in which the Thirteen Colonies were about to pit a rag-tag fighting force against the world’s most powerful army (and navy). Today we have the perspective of victory won, but back then the odds were clearly in favor of the British, and many thoughtful people considered the Revolution to be a fool’s errand. I’m constantly amazed at how our army, and our people, were able to triumph in what was truly a David vs. Goliath struggle.
At times I’m tempted to romanticize that era, because I’m a romantic at heart, but then I read something gritty and remember human frailty and heroism are pretty much the same no matter what century we’re talking about. Take, for example, this account from the minutes of the Northampton County (PA) Committee of Observation from the summer of 1776:
“John Markle says, that he served Joseph Romich and John Romich with a summons from this Committee to appear at Easton the 6th of this Instant – that John Romich read the Summons and said he s _ _ _ upon it . . .”
That’s pretty gritty! I’ve also enjoyed reading the diaries of two men who were at the Battle of Brooklyn (aka Long Island), Jabez Fitch and Colonel Samuel Miles. Several people have led me to fascinating sources, including my historian mentor Richard Hope, Sharon Gotthard of the Easton Area Public Library’s Marx Room (of local history), Katherine Ludwig, librarian of the David Library of the American Revolution, and Dr. John Ferling. I’m so grateful for their help!
Now that I’ve gathered some of the most important information, it’s time to fasten myself to my desk chair and begin the adventure of actually writing Easton at the Crossroads. All systems are go!