This week, while the frigid winds blow across Lake Michigan, I'm taking a writer's retreat in one of my favorite US cities - Charleston. Full of history from the early colonial period to the Civil War (and a Revolution in-between), this place has much to be proud of, especially if one is Scottish, Protestant, understands agriculture, and cherishes tradition. During the 18th and 19th centuries, French Huguenots and those of Jewish heritage fled here because it protected their freedom of religion. They still worship in impressive numbers right here in town.
I won't go into the "War Between the States" issues, but let me phrase it as did our tour guide (excellent, by the way), Tommy Dews: "Winners write the history, and losers suffer through the editing." As human beings, we all have our flaws, and if we give in to power, wealth and selfish desires, we too would wreak havoc in history!
So why did a writer travel to Charleston for a retreat?
Well, to write! My debut book, The Heart Changer releases April 26th, so I needed some time to gather my thoughts and concentrate on my book launch. Just typing those words makes my heart race. There’s so much to do in a short time!
By the way, if you love middle grade historical fiction, and want to experience a book launch first hand, leave your email in the box below, Or if you rather, sign up to receive my blogposts. Either way, I will contact you with further details. And don’t worry. It won’t take tons of time. . . and you will receive a free e-book version of my novel! I’ll walk you through the process. It’s painless. Promise!
Now, back to my retreat-
Being a lover of travel and history, I aim to take a break or two during the day and visit sites of significance. Or places that would lure a writer, like a coffee shop where a famous author penned a novel. A quaint bookshop would do nicely, or a historic society (if you are doing research, like I am for another MG novel whose MC is a Huguenot). Guess what edifice I found while surfing the net for touristy places? The oldest and only working French Huguenot Church in America -- and better yet, the Huguenot Society. Voilá! Today I have a tour at the church and a research appointment with the director at the Huguenot Society.
I always recommend a tour when one arrives at their destination. It gives you a lay of the land, and an idea of where you'd like to focus your time. And you always get a fun bit of trivia to get those little grey writing cells moving. If you write contemporary fiction, visit an art gallery. A children's museum is great fodder for a picture book. And of course, did I mention a coffee or tea shop? Let me tell you what I found. A treasure!
So, what's the big deal with Bitty & Beau's? #unbroken is not a reference to the ceramic cup. Nope. The owner's two children have down's syndrome, and her vision was to open a shop where kids with Down's could shine, while putting their skills to use running a coffee shop, from stocking and making the coffee, to manning the cash register. Uh, it really should be renamed the credit register, because, to avoid having to make change, they take credit cards or apple pay only! Brilliant. I have to tell you, it was a joy to chat with the staff. Their joy was contagious!
You never know what you will find when you venture into a new city. And being a writer gives you the opportunity to share your finds with others. In a blogpost, an article, on social media or -- in a book!
What surprises have you encountered in your travels? Let me know below. And, if you'd like to join my book launch, let me know that, too!
And stay tuned - my next post is The Heart Changer cover reveal!!
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.