Writing historical fiction is liberating, with a caveat…don’t forget to eliminate all references to electronics.
In my contribution to Rebels, Rogues, and Romantics, leaving those common details out of The Liberation of Ravenna Morton was actually easy, because she lives the same now in her cabin on the Kalamazoo River as her Native American ancestors lived one hundred years ago. No electricity, running water or indoor plumbing, she finally conceded to a solar panel on her roof when her daughter threatened to call the Elder Abuse hotline if she didn’t comply.
Shifting between the lives of her modern children and Ravenna growing up in the 1940’s although difficult, didn’t have the same obstacles as writing about her mother’s horrific childhood.
Ravenna’s father died in an industrial accident just eight miles from their cabin while the mother delivered a baby in the dark of night with only Ravenna’s assistance. Obviously something wrong when the husband didn’t come from work that night, it wasn’t until the next day that the sawmill owner came to tell them of the death.
“We would’ve been here sooner, but we couldn’t find the cabin,” he explained.
The sawmill owner, a brutal man, is introduced into the fabric of the family that day, and his influence and interventions are the source of one calamity after another, acts that would be national headlines now were accepted as unavoidable in that era.
At the end, I had to remind myself that obstacles change their significance from one generation to the next. In the same breath, what was important to us forty years ago has little impact now. Only love stays the same.