Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

Jo Robinson tagged me to continue a tradition of bloggers. Meet My Main Character Blog Tours resemble radio interviews: tune in now for answers to questions posed to me, and a week later for answers to the same questions posed to other authors. This tour asks the authors of works-in-progress to answer questions about the main characters of their historical fiction novels. Jo describes her main character as being part of other-worldly myths that she (her main character) doesn’t believe in. Jo features this character in her Shadow People series. Shadow People: The Hunger coverJo and I write similarly: our characters tell us their stories, and we merely translate them into a language that you can read. And now, the questions and answers about my historical novel-in-progress:

  1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person? Polly is my grandmother’s grandmother, as I imagine her.

  2. When and where is the story set? Polly raised her family in the mid 1800s in the crude log cabin that her husbandbuilt in Pennsylvania, USA. My sister and I stirred up few clues about Polly and her family, through our genealogical research projects during the past few decades. I felt amused and then angered when I hit adead end inan historical reference book that declared that Polly’s family didn’t “succeed” because they didn’t develop their land into villages; they didn’testablish businesses on their land in the mid 1800s; they remained farmers.  I define “success” differently, thus I continue her story beyond the history books.
    Polly's mother Elizabeth

  3. What should we know about him/her? Polly grew up surrounded by people whom her parents and grandparents had grown up with in Germany. The adults were doing what they could to stay together in this land that was new to them. Their language was a unique combination of German and English; that is a fun puzzle to translate as I read their historical documents.
    Polly's husband William

  4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life? Polly’s story is a fictional diary. She writes about reaching the age of marriage and child-rearing. She gives you the unfamiliar perspective of a young woman at that time in that culture. It is a time when her community’s life has become much easier and requires less creativity, but basic survival is still challenging. They were reviving their old ways as much as possible.

  5. What is the personal goal of the character? Polly has the new challenge of defining how to be happy and creative when strategies for survival have become easier and more familiar, and leisure time has become available. My personal goal is to help her figure that out.

  6. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? I refer to it as Polly’s Diary, or Diary of a Modern Household. I have not yet shared any excerpts or notes beyond what I shared with you here. Leave me a comment, and I’ll be glad to keep you updated on its progress.

  7. When can we expect the bookto be published? Itwill be published after I finish writing it, or when someoneyanks it from me 🙂 I’m considering putting everything aside for a few weeks to see how far I can get if I focus on it single-mindedly. I am still choosing which word processing program to use to assemble the pieces that Ihave been writing on receipts, magazine page margins, junk mail and other scratch paper; in .pdf, .txt, .odt, .xls, and .doc files; and in my own diaries/journals. I welcome suggestions.
    I have a pile of resources that I nibble on. By the time that I read a few sentences, Polly has woken up to tell me more of her stories. I understand that historical fiction novels often take years to write, especially when the writer does a lot of research into primary documents like wills, letters, and church records, in addition to historians and cousins. Therefor, I might have a few more years before publishing, since I just started writing this story a year and a half ago.
Thank you Jo

for sharing your enthusiasm about my novel.

The Tour Continues…

Susanne Alleyn writes historical fiction with impeccable credentials, as a result of extensive research. In addition, her potent writing makes me consistently breathless. Reading her work is no spectator pastime; it makes my pulse race. You must read what she says about the sequel to her successful book at her blog.

I enjoyed reading about where Roderick Gladwish’s ideas came from when he wrote his trashy story: “Trashy” because it’s about the Green Trash Vortex, and the technology that might clean it up in the future, and what that might lead to. You can read it in Jupiter SF, Issue XLIV, April 2014. Read about the status of his most recent work at his blog.

Ronda K. Reed’s flash fiction stories catch my attention when she submits them to the Moderator Selected Writing Exercises at the Writer’s Discussion Group on Google+. Her tour site is here at my blog where she talks about her book’s main characters, and its mysterious landmark.

I was also hoping that Jess of JMGajda would participate. She caught my attention when I read some of her futuristic and supernatural work. In the midst of her high-risk pregnancy, she took the time to join this tour! You must read about the cultures that challenge her main character!

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38 thoughts on “Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

  1. This is a very intriguing story you’re working on, Grace. Historical fiction and the past has always been fascinating to me, and I think writing this using your grandmother’s grandmother as a reference point would make it even more so. I can only imagine Polly waking you up to whisper into your ear. I will cheer you on and be watching for the completion of this. It has piqued my interest like your flash fiction you submitted to the WDG on google+ did as well. This was a great blog post introducing your main character, and I look forward to being here on Monday the 23rd! Thanks for the invitation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ronda for stopping by and leaving a comment. I didn’t realize that you have a blog! and on WordPress! Do you want to post your interview here or there? Do you want me to link your name (in my intro to you above) to your blog?

      Please let me know if you have ANY questions or concerns as you put your responses together.

      Thank you for all of your support.

      Like

  2. I love the idea behind the story you are doing. I’m intending a story like that about my family sometime in the future, if I ever finish my first novel, a fantasy.

    Grace I use ywriter5 to pull my story together. It is program written by my fellow Australian (I have no affiliations at all). It is free, but one can donate. It’s sort like Scrivener without all the flash bits. You write one scene at a time, photos and notes can be attached.
    Simon Hayes, Spacejock Software. He is an author so knows what he is talking about.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Super Fantastic! yWriter5 is one of the many programs that I downloaded and used for a few minutes (OK, hours). However, when I didn’t see it listed in most fiction software reviews, I felt afraid that it had some fatal flaw that would torment me. I really like the experience that I had with it so far. I am delighted that you are having a good experience with it. I, too, like how it enables me to break the story and elements down into pieces that I can edit and reassemble, apparently easily. It looks like a great tool for pulling together my mess.

      Best wishes with your novel, Christine. I appreciate your blogged descriptions of your journey with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Grace, I’m pleased you like yWriter5, I’ve never had any trouble and I’ve been using it for years. Probably because most of the glitches had been ironed out by time I started using it. I use the ybook as well during the fusspotting I like to do before I go on to the next scene. You might have noticed ‘view scene in ybook’? I read the scene in paperback size, one can turn pages and all, adds fun to picking up errors, the flow of sentences and paragraph spacing. I know I should just finish the story first, but I can’t help myself. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you, Christine. I haven’t run across any mention of ybook until now. I’ll look into it. I’m a fusspotter, too. 🙂

          As a fusspotter, you might enjoy my latest discovery: Windows Live Writer. It’s free. I can edit my posts there before I copy and paste them into WordPress for their final edits. It’s much faster, and gives me 3 views: preview with my WordPress formatting, source for my HTML and PHP, and edit for WYSIWYG.
          It downloaded my complete theme for this website, but not for another one that I’m developing.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Leni, you are so funny. You say that you don’t know me, but you really do know my heart. The rest is just manifestations.

      Thank you for your loyal following, and your inspiration. I am always eager to make you, as my mentor, proud of me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of continuing the story beyond the history books. And that was a fascinating insight about the language mix; I think your in-depth research will pay off, and you’ll write a book that will make Polly proud of you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel so honored, Tinney, to welcome you for a visit here! From Antioch to the Society for Creative Anachronism to playing late medieval and early Renaissance music on a variety of early wind instruments to native wild plants,..I am looking forward to becoming better acquainted. Your blog on topics related to historical fiction lured me.

      I laughed when I read that you did market research for historical fiction “I am, therefore, embarking on a project to write the most salable historical novel that has ever been written, in which I propose to invoke pretty much every cliché I can think of.” I am looking forward to stumbling across more laughs at your blog.

      Like

  4. Grace,

    First, thank you so much for including me on your list. I will do my best to participate (I saw a neurologist yesterday and he’s going to have me try some new meds that should hopefully work on both the migraines and the nausea).

    Second, I am really intrigued by your description of your historical novel. Having spent way too much of my own time researching my own family history I know how fascinating, frustrating, and surprising it can be. I just love the pictures you included of Polly’s husband and mother. Do you have any of Polly as well? How did you first come across her story? Have you tried looking for primary sources in her home town? Visiting the place where she lived could be a great story in and of itself.

    I also think shutting yourself away from the world for a few weeks to write is a wonderful idea and I think could be quite productive. Knowing how well you write from reading your blog I’m very excited to see the finished product (although I know it can take quite a long time from start to finish).

    I wish I had some good software suggestions but I just use Word for text and Gimp and PowerPoint for images.

    Keep us updated on your progress and sending you lots of creative energy your way!

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Jess, I know that I write on behalf of many who are glad to hear from you, and are glad that you are OK. We understand that you are deliberately neglecting your blog for essential reasons, and we miss you.

      I have been finding that my migraines flare up after days of super energy (I mean extra energy, not comfortably good energy). I am wondering if the migraines are my body’s response to the flare-ups, and a way to make me take it easy to recover from busy days and stress. I am starting to use Eden Energy Medicine. Emotional Freedom Technique sometimes works. I understand that both are safe during pregnancy.

      Jess, you ask such great questions that get me talking… I think I recall reading somewhere that you visited your ancestors’ homeland, and that you have centuries-old royal blood?

      I have no photos of Polly. She died before her kids became “successful professionals”. I came upon her story a year and a half ago when I was writing a short story every day (these warmed me up for the Flash Fiction that Ronda mentioned above).

      For the short stories, each day, my husband suggested a few items to include, and one day he asked for my grandmother’s grandmother’s diary, a trunk and an attic. I haven’t yet found any information about my father’s mother’s parents. My mother’s mother’s ancestors moved to the US a long time ago, and they lived a few hours away from here for several generations. That land is similar to places that are familiar to me, so I can easily imagine it. They remained close to the families who Polly’s parents grew up with, so I have photos of descendants of Polly’s neighbors with great last names: German equivalents of ones that we associate with Dickens.

      While working on my husband’s genealogy, I found chatty stories about his family during the same years, some in similar geography. They are useful.

      I began the story with my husband’s list: a phone call from someone who found Polly’s diary in a trunk in her attic, and then discovering our genealogical connection, and then Polly’s story became that diary, and then stacks of pages later, the trunk and attic are gone.

      I have e-copies of a few documents as primary sources. I found websites with events listed that Polly might have written about. I looked up weather events. I’m reading fiction and nonfiction writings from the time, and listening to its music. She might have been a Bach fan like me. I found a cousin whose husband is related to Polly. They are living on a piece of Polly’s father’s original homestead. She said she would connect me with the historical society in town. She is on the board or something. I long to go there and walk the area, but the internet has to suffice for now. It is offering many resources, and I’m pretty good at digging them up. Polly’s mother’s family still holds family reunions, and I think that my sister went to one when she was working on a project for her librarian degree.

      I have a lot of work to do. I want to hike the area via Google Maps. I did that when I was researching my mother’s father’s ancestors, and I found the store that he used to own! 🙂 It is still standing.

      Rest peacefully, dear friend, so you can return to us soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Grace, Thank you so much for your kind words and your advice for migraines. I will look into both of those things for migraines since the medication I’m taking works very well, but only sometimes. I’m sure you are quite familiar with that experience. I’ve found that if I’m particularly physical during the day I tend to get pretty nauseous and then a migraine in the evening. I think the idea of our bodies telling us to rest makes a lot of sense.

        So, I wish I’ve had a chance to visit all the places my ancestors are from, but I haven’t yet. However, at least one of my aunts, Centeredpiece, who’s done a lot of intensive research into our ancestry, has visited places here in America and Ireland as well, if I’m not mistaken. I hope one day to go with her and another Aunt of mine on one of their visits.

        Yes, I do have some royal blood, but I suspect most people do, if you go back far enough. It also turns out that somewhere about 1000 years back my husband and I have some of the same royal ancestors. We both can trace our ancestry back to Cerdic of Wessex (467 – 534 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerdic_of_Wessex).

        I really find your idea about writing in Polly’s voice via a diary so fascinating. Do you actually have any writing from her or are you channeling her words?

        That’s so cool that you found a cousin whose husband is related to Polly and that they still live on the original land. I wonder if they have anything from that time period tucked into an attic corner here or there?

        And that you found the store of one of your father’s ancestor’s is amazing. I did something similar when I was researching my great-grandmother and great-father. I found a building at that address but there was no way to tell when it was built.

        I’d love to see a picture of the store. Do you think it’s been changed a lot since it’s been built?

        I hope you’re getting a chance to get lots of researching and writing done. If we don’t hear from you for a while then we’ll know why. I’m sending lots of positive writing thoughts your way!

        Thanks again for including me in your main character blog tour, I really appreciated it! (And sorry for publishing a day late but I was feeling quite miserable last night).

        Take care and hope to be back around soon!

        🙂

        http://jmgajda.com/2014/06/24/meet-my-main-character-blog-tour/

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Jess, I also have done extensive work on our side of the family. And have been to Ireland and France (originally we’re French Huguenot from Grandpa’s Father’s side, the non Irish one, our name was spelled Dui), I have lots of info and family trees if you’d like to see them. I love your posts and think they are astonishingly good and well-written. I want more!! 🙂 Your cuz, Elizabeth

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Definitely! I would love to see what you’ve uncovered. Also, lucky you going to both Ireland and France and getting a chance to research our relatives. That’s amazing and I’m sure it was fascinating. Do you have pictures from your trip there? If so, I’d love to see them.

            Thanks also for your support! I really appreciate it!

            🙂

            Like

        2. Sorry I meant to mention the Aunts’ side of the family had three Irish grandmothers on Grandpa’s side, and of course, a 100% Irish mother. So that is why we are so connected to Ireland. But I do have Dewey records going back to at least the 1200s. Mom has photos of some of them, and we know how several of our ancestors died and lived, and some photos of their headstones. I know I also have branches mapped out showing our 5th or so cousins, which is fun.

          Like

          1. Wow! You guys did so much work, and a lot of this back before ancestry.com, right? Which just boggles my mind. I don’t even know how someone would go about finding all of this information without going to the actual places and researching in the libraries and local courts for property documents, etc.

            And I had no idea that three of Grandpa’s grandmother’s were Irish. I guess that makes us more than quarter Irish. I’m sure if I tried to sit down and do the percentages my head would start to swim. Yeah, we should definitely try to combine our knowledge at some point. I would love to know where exactly Andrew’s family (my husband, not our cousin) and our family start being related. We had a good laugh about that.

            Thanks for sharing these fun tidbits. I look forward to hearing more!
            🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        3. Jess, I am waking up from my migraine medication (sumatriptan). It always works for me, but it takes a toll on my system, so I reserve it for days like today when I wake with overwhelming pain. I am respecting the migraine’s message, and laying low today. That’s nice, because that means I will be at my computer today 🙂 but working slowly 😦

          You are sweet to consider that we all have royal blood, if we look far enough. It is part of your endearing perspective of us all being related. How fantastic for you to have such personal, concrete evidence that supports this, as you and your husband found a common ancestor!

          I have no artifacts for Polly; except a photo of her gravestone. I look forward to when I connect with the historical societies to see what I find. In the meantime, that gives me a lot of artistic license, and a wonderful opportunity to go into meditative mode to perceive what she might have perceived. I consider the culture and contemporaries of her time, and how that might have influenced her descendants, and thus me.

          You reminded me that when I found my grandfather’s store, I also found the address where he rented a room for a while. I contacted the business owner who is there now, and got some information about the house that used to be there. An antique shop is across the street. I wonder if it has any of my grandfather’s promotional items, or items that he sold. So many trails to wander on… I’m “walking” around the neighborhood where he lived now, and just discovered an old Presbyterian Church across the street from his rented room. My parents raised me Presbyterian. I think he lived across from the Barnesville Antiques Mall at 202 N. Chestnut St., Barnesville, OH. I think that one of his stores was in the old building that is on the corner, across the street from 104 S. Chestnut St.. I’ll look it up for you another day, to be sure. What a great idea to get a screenshot of these locations as they look now! Thanks for this “walk down memory lane”.

          I wish you and your Aunts well as you plan your someday-trip to Ireland. I look forward to reading your stories then, from your perspective as a mother and writer, as I look forward to savoring more of your current writing.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Grace, I am sending you hugs and hoping that your migraines have quieted. Migraines are such frustrating creatures because so many of the medications do make you too sleepy to do anything. It often feels like a choice between lying in bed with pain or lying in bed too tired to move. So I hope your weekend was migraine-free and you were allowed to indulge in your creative license.

            Sometimes just sitting and thinking what life was like for one of our ancestors can be such an amazing journey. I like the way you describe it: “a wonderful opportunity to go into meditative mode to perceive what she might have perceived.”

            Sometimes I also like to wonder what our ancestors might think of us. Would my great-grandmother, whom I’m named for, even like me? Might she think me too loud, to outspoken, opinionated? Do you ever do that with Polly? Imagine how she might perceive you and how she would view you? I’m sure she would be beyond impressed with your weaving and writing abilities (how could she not?), but do you ever try to imagine what a conversation with her might be like?

            That’s so cool that you found the room your grandfather rented and actually called there to ask what it used to be like. I don’t think I could ever do that. I’d feel too self-conscious.

            I also find it very interesting that modern technology can really help us connect with our past. Touring places our ancestors lived via google really helps me to feel that connection, I just wish I could go there. Someday.

            I hope you’re writing is going well. I know that between managing life, a blog, and migraines, etc, it can be so hard to make a time and space to write in, but I hope that you’re able to because I really am so interested in reading your story.

            And now I’m sending you more hugs for writing!

            🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, I do have a blog on WordPress. I started it last year, then left it unattended for quite awhile. It’s pretty bare and uninteresting at the moment. I need to learn the technicalities better, so I can start following all these amazing blogs I’ve seen, and filling up the sidebars. 🙂

    Yes, link me to your blog, I think. Thanks again.

    Like

  6. Reblogged this on Ronda Reed's and commented:
    I would like to take a moment to promote Weaver Grace in her “Meet My Main Character Blog Tour”. There are some fantastic links to many great writers and authors here. Being a newbie blogger with a very bare sidebar, I need to rectify this and get with the program. This is a great place to start, with Weaver Grace.

    I am following Grace Buchanan’s blog for several reasons. I met her through google plus in the Writers Discussion Group. We both utilized the weekly flash fiction exercises offered there. Her stories spoke to me and vice versa. I find, through her blog, to be a very kind, humane person; someone to follow and admire in her strengths and endeavors.

    She invited me on her blog tour to keeping it going. I said I would love to. Now I hope I can do my part and keep it going. I understand I will promote three more. I hope my technology impaired abilities are up to this. Ha!

    Currently, her work in progress is a historical fiction. I particularly liked the genealogical digging she and her sister were excavating. What a worthwhile research! Such daily treasures, uncovering sentimental facts that not only helps your work in progress, but also pertains to specifically your past.

    She also has a page on her craft, loom weaving, which also appeals to the crafty side of my nature. I find her weaving abilities to be just awesome, and admire anyone who can do crafts of old, bringing them back to life. That is just fascinating to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such kindness! I am delighted to welcome you and your readers to my blog, and am glad for all that you contribute to it. I hope you have a comfy place to be while you are enjoying my contributions.

      Like

    1. Ker, you are a sweetheart ❤ I am aware of your editing skills, so I will be honored to share a draft with you…when it comes together to a point where it could be called a draft 🙂

      Like

  7. Hi Grace. I read your entry with great interest. What an exciting project to write a historical fiction to fill in the lost history of someone from your own family! A great way to get to know this lady better, learn your family history, and also learn more about yourself in the process, for there is some of her in you. I hope you enjoy this journey into your own past, wherever it ends up taking you and however long it ends up takes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Janna for stopping by (as you promised), and sharing your kindness 🙂 Yes, I am enjoying this journey deeper into writing and the past. And, yes, I am enjoying seeing similarities between Polly and me.

      On the other hand, when I try to explain Polly to a young adult, I have trouble finding anything that they have in common beyond basic humanity. They wake up in different beds and houses, with different people. They view work and education differently. Entertainment and pastimes are different. Expectations of themselves, others and life itself are different. I want to include young adults in my audience, which is a challenge. I hope to find connections.

      Like

      1. You speak of the biggest challenge of any historical fiction writer: how to connect a modern audience with a story from the past. I think this is a challenge regardless of whether that audience is a YA one or an adult one (although probably a bit easier with adults because we’ve lived a bit more and have (hopefully) learned to look beyond ourselves to under the perspective of others.

        The only advice I can offer (what I try to do myself) is, while entertaining with an examination of what’s different, to also drill down to the same universal human feelings that motivate the story – things like a yearning for love and acceptance, a fear of failure and disappointment, the desire to determine the course of one’s own life (as opposed to having it dictated by someone else). These are things I think anyone of any age (and in any age) can related to, for they’re the same hopes and fears that have moved people since the dawn of time. Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your advice rings with great truth: defining success, negotiating our social environment, surviving challenges, identifying how to be happy and creative, etc. are human experiences that we all share.

          Like

          1. nigüülsel, how fascinating that I should find in you a fellow genealogist. I applaud your process with the historical fiction. I have always been a fan of the genre, but the idea of ‘writing your family history’ (as advertised on pretty much any genealogy website) for some reason turned me off. Yet, today, reading this…I realize I have such wonderful skeletons in my closets from recipients of Tammany Halls contractual benificence (NYC Surrogate’s Court,where most of the Law and Order courthouse scenes are filmed, was designed by distand cousins) to improperly political members of the Brooklyn Democratic machine to the grands who used to play bridge with Hugh Carey’s parents. In a sense, it practically writes itself, lol.

            Maybe I shall find myself inspired too. I am truly (and duly) impressed by your project. I have a friend who is currently writing a book (all about how to do her profession, a true sleeper, unless project management is your thing, eh?) But, BUT, but, she is writing a book. And to me…how frickn cool is that? Now you, too?!

            Can’t wait for my autographed copy.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I’m crying “uncle” on nigüülsel. Please direct me to its roots, context, source, etymology.

              “Writing your family history,” as coaxed by ancestry research sites, appeals to those who battle boredom. That has never been my challenge, and probably not yours. I’m glad that I got you looking at your family history from a different perspective.

              Thanks for your encouragement.

              Thanks for reserving an autographed copy. That request is recorded here for posterity 😉

              Like

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