Today I welcome author Bess McBride to Terry's Place.
Write what you know they say. The problem is I know a little about a lot but hardly a lot about almost anything…or so it seems when I put on my “write what you know cap” when I’m brainstorming a new story. I’m suddenly beset with a case of “Wait, I don’t know anything about anything.” Could be a confidence problem, could be reality… Who can say?
I recently decided to return to work full time, accepted a fairly well-paying job and moved to a state I’ve only visited before. But that visit was the reason I found myself able to apply for employment in a strange town. Last fall…on our way down to our winter grazing grounds on the fabulous Gulf Coast.
I made the trip that many of us often long to do…at least once in our lives…a genealogical journey through the towns, cities and final resting places of my grandparents, their parents and their parents before them. In my case, these particular grandparents had come to roost in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa as they followed the railroad.
With the help of a third cousin whom I met online, I found everyone I was looking for, although they were all deceased. Still, I found my family…their homes, their towns, their cemeteries, their tombstones. And I was compelled to start a book. Write what you know they say. As an amateur genealogist, did I know enough to write a book around the subject? As a newcomer to the Midwest, did I know enough about the area to write a book set here? As a child born to traveling parents who never met her extended family, did I know enough about family to write about their lives?
None of that seems to matter. One thing we all know about is the power of love…even if it is the love of a granddaughter for grandparents she never knew, or a great-granddaughter for the great-grandparents who would never know her. The power of love gives me the inspiration to forge ahead with my next story of love…set among the cemeteries in the wonderful windy loess hills along the Missouri River between Nebraska and Iowa.
For a gal who has a glaring absence of family, I seem to have accumulated lots and lots of cousins through my interest in genealogy. Two of those cousins (second cousins who are 15-20 years older than me) happened to be attending a family reunion on their grandmother’s side of the family (our connection is through our grandfathers who were brothers) this weekend, only an hour away. I drove up to the big city, and we met, shared historical letters and photographs and traveled on to a nearby town to see our mutual great-grandparents’ graves while they shared memories of their grandparents and even my grandparents whom I never had the chance to meet.
The sense of continuity is strong when I am with my living cousins, and I feel connected to this place where my ancestors lived out their lives. I have many more cousins within a day’s drive whom I have not yet met, descendents of our mutual great-great grandparents. I look forward to finding more family and sharing stories and connections…and writing about what I thought I would never know about…Family.
Bess McBride writes sweet to sensual romance novels for The Wild Rose Press. Her next release, On a Warm Sea of Love, will be available from The Wild Rose Press on September 29, 2009. She is currently at work on a story set in Western Iowa. She welcomes visitors to her web site at www.bessmcbride.com.