What Draws us to History?


Here’s a post I wrote for Bethanne Strasser’s Through the Heart Shaped Glasses blog earlier this month. I thought some of you might appreciate it!

What draws us to history?

  • Is it the romance of a different time from our own?

  • Is it what history can show us about ourselves?

  • How we’re different from or similar to others in the past?

  • Does it show us links to the people we were, and how we will be in the future?

  • Does it show us where we’ve diverged when people have made new beginnings?

  • Do we hope it will give us hints about where to seek in the eternal quest for who we are and where we fit in to this world?

Lizzi_archerFor me, this last reason is why I write in the historical genre. When I began writing, I never thought about all this. I only knew I was drawn to stories of the past. The Dark Ages, the Elizabethan Period, and the Old West equally held me enraptured since even before I began to read myself, for the simple first reason above.

I began researching and writing historical novels only a few years ago. It soon became clear that I was looking for answers to questions in my own history and present. What I discovered has helped me become more comfortable with the person I am.

As I study, I repeatedly ask myself how I can make the information I unearth palatable to someone who might never pick up a book of historical fact, search out an old battle record or travel to a remote graveyard to read the inscription on an old tombstone. Can I offer readers some inkling of what happened in their own town or country to give it the unique flavour it carries today?  Some idea of why a certain town emerged just when it did? Most importantly, to shed light upon the reasons a particular society developed the way it has? Perhaps it will provide a piece of the puzzle, which will allow a whole population to try to open the doors previously closed upon the past, allowing healing of the hidden wounds that prevent peaceful cohabitation.

Several towns in the West define themselves as being part of the Pony Express Trail. The stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder played a large part in my understanding of the westward-moving American pioneer, and the peoples and lands they encountered, and how the settlers dealt with adversity. In my first novel, Express Desired, soon to be published, I use Aleksandra, the daughter of a Polish immigrant trapper family, to show snapshots of 1860 life in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. She must survive when she is left alone in the world, and becomes a “boy” rider for the famed Pony Express.

Map_lizzi

Although the ‘Pony’ as it was called, only lasted for a mere eighteen months, it still captures the imaginations of thousands, if not millions, of people, even one hundred and fifty years after its inception.

I show some interactions with American Indians in the novel,  both positive aspects and negative.

In my second novel, A Sea of Green Unfolding, more than halfway completed, I show aspects of 1860′s history of both the San Francisco Bay Area, (or the part from Redwood City, via La Honda, and through to San Gregorio)  and 1863 New Zealand. Discover why  Redwood City grew so quickly? Learn why it was called Redwood City. In the same book, I offer the reader aspects of New Zealand history which are certainly not taught in primary, and only rarely in secondary schools here. They are shadowy aspects of our history which portions of our society wish had never happened, and would rather forget. Although almost apologetic, many of those who know are content to bury it beneath the carpet, so most people are unaware of the whole story and resolution cannot be attained. This untold history has shaped us as the people we have become. The conflicts began long ago between the Maori (and before that, the earlier Moriori) people who had already settled New Zealand before Captain Cook came in the 1700′s and the white settlers from England, Europe and Asia.  There was wrongdoing on both sides, but much has remained hidden from the general view.

Overall, I hope to effectively use history to paint a picture, so that readers can better understand some of their own past, answer some of their questions about themselves and become more comfortable with their own place in the world.

lizzi_writerBio:

I’ve just completed my first novel, and am halfway through the second.

Lizzi_old west

About my first novel, Express Desired, an historical Fictional Suspense with Romantic Elements: Seventeen year old Aleksandra Lekarski, alone and running to prevent her pa’s killer from obtaining a secret which could allow world domination by the Czar, conceals herself as a boy Pony Express rider in 1860′s Utah Territory. Her “Californio” boss Xavier Arguello has a spirit to match her own—along with a mutually undeniable attraction—and together they overcome the evil that threatens them.

A Sea of Green Unfolding is the sequel to Express Desired, about a young couple’s journey to adventure from the California of 1862 to the turbulent wilderness of New Zealand. Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly found paradise on their California Rancho and Von Tempsky’s invitation draws them to a new life in New Zealand—where the land wars between the European settlers and the local Maori have only just begun.

lizzi_nano

I am rewriting my life. I’m the mother of two teenaged boys, a part time hobby farmer, a medieval re-enactor, rapier fighter and archer, a kayaker, a carriage competition driver, a gardener, a singer, a cook and an equine veterinarian with post-doc veterinary certification in equine dentistry. Following a back injury,I work part time at equine veterinary dentistry and part time at high school teaching of Science/Bio/Chem. Mostly, though, I’m writing! I look forward to your visits to my blog and to hearing your thoughts on the above.


Writing Blog: http://lizzitremayne.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LizziTremayne
About Me http://about.me/Lizzi_Tremayne
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LizziTremayne
Website: www.bmevc.co.nz

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