From Fact to Fiction!

Events, experiences and places inspire authors to create award-winning stories

All writing carries some facts and experiences of an author even when the story is based on anything but real life. However, many books bring a great deal of reality into the story. True life can be the basis of mysteries, thrillers, romances, and of course, historical fiction.  Here at Fact to Fiction, we will share with you events and experiences that were or might have been inspirations for award-winning stories!

Meet Deborah Lynn our From Fact to Fiction editor who will be sharing with you fun and interesting inspirations for some of our award-winning books-

Hi All!
Besides beta reading and editing I’ve been married 55 years and am a mom to two grown children and a grandmother (they still choose to call me “Ohma!”) to two almost-grown young men. I started college very late but now hold a Master’s in Clinical Social Work. I exercise because I have too. We’ve been lucky enough to extensively travel. My hobbies are painting, gardening, voraciously reading everything I can get my hands on about English medieval history, science generally/quantum physics specifically and sci fy. Currently, I am working on a 2nd soccer t-shirt quilt for my 2nd grandson who’s graduating high school and going on to college this year. Woo-Hoo!
Deborah Lynn

History in the Making by Susan Hughes

How I wove in the history to my story and what I chose to include: My novel, A Kiss from France, is set during the latter part of WWI and into the first year of the peace (1917-1919). I didn’t want to write about the trench experience because that was primarily a male perspective. I was more interested in the women left at home because their history is a dynamic one: they didn’t sit still and wait for the war to end, instead they also became active participants in the war effort by taking over the absent men’s jobs and keeping the country going. At the time my story is set the British people were war-weary and weighed down with grief and loss, so I explored this through the character of Eunice Wilson. Amidst all of this sorrow, women began to embrace new-found roles and enjoy greater independence. With this change, came opportunities for self-fulfillment, but also to go off the rails because did it matter what you did one day if you might be dead the next? This attitude promised potential for multi-layered complications and the character of Lizzie Fenwick embodies this. During my research into WWI, I discovered…

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History In The Making With Gloria Zachgo

We would like to welcome Award winning Author Gloria Zachgo today to talk with us about some of the history in her story. Never Waste Tears takes you on a journey with Rebecca, Nathan, Hannah, Carl, and Sarah to homestead on the lonely Kansas prairie, where they pave the way for generations to come. They individually share their dreams, challenges, heartaches, and guilt. Each had their own reason to leave everything they knew. The land was free—the true price—often high, where opportunities and tragedies were in equal abundance. Those who were strong, didn’t waste their tears, but used them wisely to help wash away their grief. Gloria, why is Historical Fiction important to you?  Near the farm where I grew up, my sister and I found the scarce remains of a fire pit in a neighbor’s pasture. I was told it had been part of a dugout that our ancestors had lived in when they first settled in the area. Why would they have tried to farmstead on a rocky hill? Did their wagon break down and the woman said she’d go no farther? Was it the last of the free land that the government gave away? Or did a member…

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A Victorian San Francisco Christmas

By M. Louisa Locke-Award Winning Author   Because the most recent book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, Pilfered Promises, is set during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 1880, I spent a good deal of time researching how residents of that city were celebrating the holidays that year, including looking for articles in the San Francisco Chronicle. What I found was that many of the traditions that we are familiar with today started in the Nineteenth century…including the importance of advertising special holiday sales! “The Arcade: We are offering this week SPECIAL and EXTRAORDINARY INDUCEMENTS to buyers of HOLIDAY PRESENTS, especially in our SILK DEPARTMENT” ––San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 1880 However, these traditions were actually relatively new. Before the mid-1880s, most native-born Americans, particularly Protestants from the Northeast, saw Thanksgiving and not Christmas as the key national holiday. In fact, throughout the 1800s, a number of Protestant denominations were very resistant to the celebration of the birth of Christ in any fashion beyond religious observances. Not surprisingly, it was the Southern state of Louisiana, where there was a significant Catholic population, that first declared December 25th a holiday (in 1837), and Christmas wasn’t declared a national legal…

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HISTORICAL FICTION JOINS THE BONUS MARCH OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION

by Glen Craney American soldiers denied their service bonuses. Protesters stage sit-ins to expose the greed of big banks. Homeless veterans huddle in tents. Rising anger against politicians sparks a populist movement. Headlines ripped from this year’s front pages—and from newspapers published eighty-five years ago. History doesn’t repeat itself, Mark Twain warned, but it often rhymes. And during the Great Depression, similar stories of woe and outrage held the nation’s alarmed attention. Long before Occupy Wall Street, there was Occupy Washington. In my historical novel, The Yanks Are Starving, I tell the story of eight Americans who survived the fighting in France during World War I and came together fourteen years later to determine the fate of a nation on the brink of upheaval. Culminating with what became known as the Bonus March of unemployed war veterans, the novel is a sweeping epic of the government betrayal that sparked the only violent clash between two American armies under the same flag. I became interested in the history of the Bonus March while covering Congress as a Washington, D.C. reporter. After moving to Los Angeles to write movie scripts, I turned my research into one of those screenplays that Hollywood executives…

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Little Miss HISTORY Travels to PLYMOUTH COLONY

The temperatures are dropping; we are nearing the end of the Fall harvest season. Have you been enjoying those fruits and vegetables especially associated with the final harvest before Winter?  Those items include the cruciferous family of vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes and winter squash. Other foods at their best at this time of year include beets, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, grapes, leeks, mushrooms and, of course, pumpkins! The quintessential menu appears on Thanksgiving Day, when families partake of their Thanksgiving feast. How closely does your holiday menu compare with that of the three day 1621 harvest celebration at Plymouth Colony now touted as the “First Thanksgiving?” Thanksgiving was not made an official holiday until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln designated the fourth Thursday of November to be a national holiday set aside to give thanks. Little Miss HISTORY has traveled back into time to that first celebration at Plymouth Colony. Let's take a peek.... Both the Wampanoag natives and the Plymouth colonists regularly ate wild turkey, but it was not specifically mentioned as present in that first feast. Edward Winslow, a signer of the Mayflower Compact and one of the leaders of Plymouth Colony, wrote about the first…

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A Very Thankful Thanksgiving

When we think of Thanksgiving we can smell the aroma of a turkey baking and pumpkin pie cooling, whipped cream and whipped potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy. It’s a tradition so ingrained in memory our thoughts automatically rush to full bellies and football, family and friends. Not so long ago, during the Great Depression, most of the country could only dream of a table laden with a fat turkey and all the fixings. And if you lived in the dust bowl in the 1930’s you forgot how to dream of a table filled with food or even a table with any food. But the American people are strong, resilient, and hopeful.   Envision living at the worst of times in a part of the country where daily survival meant fighting the wind storms and praying the small garden you planted would yield a potato or two and the chickens would survive for a few more weeks. Thanksgiving still meant a holiday and sharing. It provided a reason to get together and be thankful. I imagine during those times what a Thanksgiving would be like for those in small towns made up of farmers and ranchers, where neighbors knew each other…

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The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving Story

Every schoolchild knows the bare bones of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving story. Inexperienced settlers who came to the New World for religious freedom would have starved during their first year in Plymouth, if not succored by Indians who taught them how to raise corn adapted to New England’s climate. The Pilgrims feasted to celebrate their successful harvest, and invited their Indian saviors. That, in a very small nutshell, is what happened. Here’s the rest of the story:   The 1620 settlers were a mixed bag. Many were Calvinist Separatists who took refuge in Holland in 1608 to escape persecution by the Catholic-leaning King James. A decade later, the Dutch were growing weary of cultural differences with the Saints, as the English Separatists called themselves. The feeling was mutual. The Dutch loved celebrating the Sabbath with a pot of beer, the Saints’ children were speaking Dutch, and falling into ‘extravagante & dangerous courses, getting ye raines of[f] their neks, & departing from their parents.’ In 1617 the Saints decided that if they were to remain pure, they had to leave Holland. They sent agents to London to search out a place to settle in the New World. The original choice was…

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The Hobo Family

During the Great Depression, Maddy Skobel, my main character in Line by Line, reacts to her first real Thanksgiving dinner.  Maddy is a hobo who has been welcomed into the home of Phillipe and Francine Durrand: That afternoon, as I watched Phillipe carve a whole turkey, I thought about families.  In New Harmony, my family’s Thanksgiving Day never looked like the illustrations in Harper’s Weekly or the Saturday Evening Post. . .  I had never been part of a dinner where just one big, plump, stuffed and roasted golden brown turkey with drumsticks was brought to the table whole and served at one time. I thought about how there were two kinds of families: the ones made up of people related by blood, which you’re automatically part of, like it or not, and the families you choose for yourself.  Today Francine and Phillipe chose to include me.  I knew I was lucky, because there was a very large hobo family out there that didn’t have enough to eat. Because Maddy was a hobo, I needed to research how hobos lived—and survived—the Great Depression.  That quest took me to Britt, Iowa, where the National Hobo Convention has convened each August for…

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Thanksgiving in the New-Found Land

“Thanksgiving?” Matthew looked at his wife, standing with both her hands deep in an oversized pumpkin. “Yup. Puritan tradition – should go down well with a Presbyterian such as you.” She grinned and picked up a second pumpkin. Matthew raised his brows. “There’s a difference.” “I’m sure there is. Compared to the Puritans, you Presbyterians are the life and soul of the party.” Matthew snorted. Discussing theology with his strange time-traveller of a wife was an exhausting endeavour. While surprisingly uneducated about religion and faith, she held strong opinions and tended to be quite vociferous in her condemnation of “narrow-minded bigots” – a definition he sometimes suspected she also applied to him. Not that he considered himself to be a bigot – if nothing else, twenty years with this remarkable woman as his wife had broadened his outlook. “Party?” he therefore said, ignoring her little jibe. “Are we to have a celebration?” “A big one, tomorrow.” Alex wiped her hands on her apron. “All of us round one table.” She looked at the kitchen table. “Not sure if we will fit, though.” “Aye, we will.” He would, at any rate, as no one would dare to take his chair. She…

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Moi Name’s Jenno

‘Allo ev’rybody…! Moi name’s Jenno; leastways, that’s wot most o’ moi friends call me, so Oi reckon as ‘ow yew can call me that an’ all. Actually, moi name is Jean Bryce. Moi mum calls me Jeanie, ‘cept when she calls me “Jean”. But cripes, when she does that, Oi gotta look out, ‘cos it means she’s real cross wiv me. Oi live in a village in England called Widdlington. It’s quite a big village taken all-together, only it’s cut inter two parts by a river an’ a railway going through the middle. Each part ‘as got its gangs. The part, wot we call “The Street” is real old. It were started by the Vikings about 1200 years ago. It’s got two gangs. The new part, wot is where Oi live, were mostly built along Pepper Mill Lane when the railway came. It’s got two gangs an’ all. Each gang ‘as got a territ’ry, an’ nobody ‘ad better go alone inter the territ’ry of anovver gang, ‘cos that’s jus’ plain askin’ fer trouble. Oi’m talkin’ about the kids, o’corse, ‘cos the grown-ups ‘ave got ovver sorts o’ gangs, wot ‘ave ter do wiv political parties, or sport, or religion an’…

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