Writing The Hope Chest was very different for me than when I wrote The Tin Box Secret. Although it is the second book in The Tin Box Trilogy, it takes place one hundred years before the first book. I wanted to show the comparison in time between the 1860s and the 1960s. Both were times of great social change, both were during wartime for the United States, and both were times that were followed by inventions and discoveries that would forever change the way we lived our everyday lives.
Whereas I lived through the 1960s and, therefore, could draw upon my memories as fodder for my imagination, writing about the 1860s was much more challenging. Perhaps I honed the skill through my ancestral research and building stories of my ancestors’ lives through connecting family stories and documents to the historical times within which they lived. But this next step of creating characters who never lived, but to instead, invent their existence and imagine what their lives would have been like, was something that stretched my creative abilities. Once again, as when I started writing The Tin Box Secret, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But the words came and the images appeared in my head and made their way onto the computer screen. I need to thank Mrs. Axelrod, my typing teacher from Junior High, for teaching me to type as quickly as my brain can imagine. It helps to not be held back by the lack of typing skill. But the real challenge came when I was slowed down by my limited knowledge of the Civil War.
I have always been interested in the Civil War and the many perspectives through which the war has been viewed. Visiting Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and New Orleans helped me to visualize it all better. Reading first hand accounts by the “Cave People” of Vicksburg was invaluable. Researching the battles, helped me to be historically accurate when placing my characters into historical contexts. But what I discovered through writing this story is that people really haven’t changed all that much, however, our choices have changed.
We still want to protect our loved ones, we want to be loved and accepted, we want to control our own destinies, and we want to treasure the time we have with our friends and family because we know it will be gone someday even though we don’t see the subtle changes that take place from one year to the next. We know that life is not forever. But what if you had a second chance? What if you could live again one hundred years later and have a second chance at love? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Well, that is where I am now, writing the final book in The Tin Box Trilogy.
In Reawakening, my characters will have a chance to do things differently. However, they will also learn that no matter how carefully you plan, life has a way of stepping in and diverting your path. I am on this journey with you right now and I can’t wait to see where it all leads!