How to Time Travel Without a Delorean

Would you like time travel in a Delorean? In 1981 a Delorean cost $26,000 US dollars. In 2016, the Delorean Motor Company planned to make three hundred replicas of the 1982 Delorean. Each of those vehicles cost approximately $100,000. I don’t know about you, but that is too pricey for my budget. What if I told you how to time travel without the Delorean? In fact, what if I said you needed a Ford or a Studebaker? Would you still want to travel into the past? When writing a novel, the right details create a verisimilitude that helps your story take on a life of its own. This is especially true when writing an alternate history like My Soul to Keep. Thank goodness I learned the secret of time travel and a way to make a new, alternate America. By now you’ve guessed the secret to time travel—the internet. Not participating in WWII, America would be a bit slower coming out of the depression. So when I looked for vehicles I looked for those that were around ten- to twenty years earlier than the 1960s when Miranda’s story takes place. I found a treasure trove in antique and classic car […]

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 […]

Inspired by a Maximum Security Prison

In My Soul to Keep, Miranda Clarke lands in Redemption, a prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Redemption bears a striking resemblance to the real federal penitentiary in Leavenworth. That’s right, I was inspired by a maximum security prison. The Beginning In 1871 the United States realized that the stockades and fort prisons were inadequate. Congress passed the “Three Prisons Act” in 1891. This law authorized the federal government’s first three penitentiaries: USP Leavenworth, USP Atlanta, and USP McNeil Island. It also led to the creation of the federal prison system and, in 1930, the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas is an imposing structure of white limestone. It sits twenty-five miles northwest of Kansas City, Kansas. Construction began in March 1897. The central dome of the facility led to its nicknames, the “Big Top” and the “Big House.” It was the first of the three penitentiaries to house prisoners. Famous Inmates The federal prison opened in 1903 to its first 418 prisoners. The first cell house wasn’t complete until 1904. Originally built to house 1,200 prisoners, the inmate population rose to 3,362. (Currently, the population is almost 1,800 inmates.) Initially a maximum security facility, it was downgraded […]