I write fiction, historical fiction to be precise. I can even fine tune it to –Historical fiction based in 1880 Chicago with a strong architectural theme. I write about buildings, the men who financed them, designed them, built them and the people that use them.
Why am I telling you this?
Sent my novel, ‘What Price Honor?’ to my publisher, Emily Victorson of Allium Press , who after a suitable period of time, returned it with her edits. Time to face reality! I had to ask myself, ‘Just how real is real?’ You just have to get the right balance or recipe down.
Chicago in the 1880’s was an exciting, vibrant place. You might say it led a double life, part frontier western town and the other industrial eastern. After the fire of 1871, the city was a blank slate, ready to welcome a new breed of businessman, worker and architect. But there were problems. Chicago was built on gumbo. That’s what they called it. So in order to build tall, these men had to discard old building ideas and create new ones.
You might say I have a blank slate to create interesting adventures, people. I purposely set the book in 1882 because nothing really important happened. But…a lot of things are about to happen. The Socialist movement is gaining ground, skyscrapers are about to rise above 10 stories, electricity etc. That is where I have to find my balance, particularly in descriptions. There is not a lot out there. Ten years later, the Columbian Exposition, there is a wealth of information for the aspiring author. But 1882, I have to find the right recipe.