What started out as an overly-ambitious fantasy novel in 2016 has morphed into an historical adventure one and I am not mad about that! When I began this journey I already knew it was something that could not be written in a month. The libraries of Pittsburgh have become my second homes. Now I’ve already touched upon the fact that the fantasy aspect has turned into an historical one, but that has transformed even further into a four part series plus a novella. What have I done to myself???
Firedamp originally followed a boy named Simon as he navigated life in industrial Pennsylvania. As time went on I realized that the original plot couldn’t be resolved in one book (as my continued outlining process has so, um, eloquently[?] taught me), and now I have a four part series planned. Firedamp is now but a part of an even more complex series that follows the lives of not one but three individuals and those they meet along the way.
They say to write what you know. Well while I knew the time frame, knew a bit of Pennsylvania history and a bit of industrial revolution history. After diving further into more than thirty historical fiction references and countless websites of research I firmly believe that I’ve learned more about those subjects than I did in all my years of actual schooling combined. Of course I have to take that with a grain of salt because I’ve been digging into more specific things and finding some historical jewels along the way!
The early 19th century has fascinated me since I was a child (A Little Princess , Anne of Green Gables , The Phantom of the Opera , Mary Poppins , When Calls the Heart , Titanic , etc. for references!) and I couldn’t think of a better time frame to set my novel in! So Firedamp has become my partner in crime, my other half, and will most likely be my date for Valentine’s Day. I’m basically married to the music so to speak. And you know what, you kind of have to be!
For One Night in the Winter Garden – A Novella
Evacuation Day, the twenty-fifth day of November, eighteen hundred and sixty four, was to be a crown jewel of an evening for the Winter Garden Theater. Charles Thomas, a young stagehand, bears witness to one of the theater’s most infamous nights near the end of the Civil War. But for two brothers, their surname being Booth, their legacy was just getting started.
From Ash to Fire (working title) – Book One
For the better part of his life Junius has been running. Running from his name, from an unwanted legacy and from nightmares that plague his existence. He cannot, however, escape the one family trait that is also his family’s downfall: ambition. For many ambition is the key to finding the American Dream but for Junius, the third in his family bearing the name, it is a curse from which he cannot escape.
Into the Fire (working title) – Book Two
Grace Hayes has seen more in her short life than anyone should but the nineteenth century is not kind to the Irish. Especially not an orphaned one. Her happiest day turned into her most hated one, when her father was struck down by those who hated them for being, them. The poorhouse she was sent to had even less hope and when she overhears an insidious plot that could change the course of history she flees, out of the fire and into the frying pan.
Before the Damp (working title) – Book Three
Simon Carrick just rescued a girl, her bright green eyes inflamed with a strength he could only dream of having himself. How was he to know that she was being pursued by more than one villainous individual for her knowledge on what was to come? Though Simon is learning to navigate his own grief he finds hope in Grace and together they work to avoid another conflict that could tear their country apart.
Firedamp – Book Four
This four part epic comes together in a fiery battle that pits beliefs against beliefs, blue collar against white collar and the fates of mere children are decided. With conflicting interests the players meet, aided by their groups of allies and enemies turned allies and allies turned enemies, history is forever changed over the course of one day. The working class of Southwestern Pennsylvania will never look the same again.