Inspiration from War and Resistance

Novelists are often told, “write what you know.” That’s not quite right. They should learn what they don’t know. Then when they write, they write from a place of knowing. I wanted to write about everyday people who decide to fight for their freedom. So I turned to history again. I needed inspiration for my then in-progress novel, My Soul to Keep. I looked for character inspiration from war and resistance. I found a lot more. Google is my friend. I searched for resistance and freedom fighters. Scanning hundreds of articles about resistance groups or rebels or freedom fighters I looked for firsthand accounts. I read a lot of articles. Articles about the American Revolution, the Syrian Civil War, and the Polish, the Yugoslavian, the Dutch, and the French resistance fighters in WWII. Syrian Civil War and Reality There were two resources I returned to over and over again. I found a number of YouTube videos about the Syrian Civil War. These were videos not for the faint of heart. They showed the real brutality of war, the spirit of resistance, and the destruction of homes and lives. It also showed the resilience of the human spirit. People lived in the […]

Inspiration from Real-life, Heart-wrenching History: Part II

As inspiration for my novel, My Soul to Keep, the idea of Eugenics in America fascinated me. Unfortunately, my inspiration came from real-life, heart-wrenching history. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the idea of eugenics spread like autumn leaves in the wind. It wasn’t just in America. Nor was it just in Nazi Germany. Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities. They classified social behaviors as inheritable diseases. Shiftlessness, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, color blindness, were among disorders they hoped to eliminate from the human population. WHO PARTICIPATED While Indiana was the first place to pass a compulsory sterilization law, they weren’t the last. More and more states created laws to sterilize degenerate or unfit men and women and children. They believed that by limiting the reproduction of those “types” of people, society would stronger, purer. By the 1930s, only eleven states had no sterilization laws. London hosted the first of three International Eugenics Conferences in 1912. And then New York hosted the second and third conferences in 1921 and 1932. In the 1920s and 30s, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, and Sweden developed laws to sterilize certain mental patients. A Who’s Who Professionals (charity leaders, sociologists, […]

Inspiration from Real-life, Heart-wrenching History

We Americans, like many other people, don’t like to acknowledge our less honorable moments. I found inspiration from real-live, heart-wrenching history while writing my novel, My Soul to Keep. I’m talking about Eugenics. Specifically, Negative Eugenics. Negative eugenics is the type we associate with the Nazis. Unfortunately, America has a long, dark history of negative eugenics that pre-dates the Nazis’ use. AN ACT TO REGULATE IMMIGRATION It began in 1882 with the passage of “An Act to Regulate Immigration.” That act established criteria for allowing immigrants into the United States. The act included the right to deny any passengers entry into the country if they appeared to be lunatics, unable to care for themselves, or convicts. THE FATHER OF EUGENICS Sir Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin, coined the term eugenics in 1883. In it’s simplest form, eugenics means “well-born.” More to Galton’s concept, it meant “the science which deals with all influences that improve inborn qualities.” Galton studied the upper classes of Britain. He concluded that their social positions were due to their superior genes. Selective marriage was his recommendation. He hoped to end poor genetics by having more healthy and above average intelligence producing more children. This type of genetic […]