While I was writing Striking Balance, I shared six-line weekly snippets under the #Rainbowsnippets hashtag. Many of those snippets included Tiny History Lessons, interesting historical bits I discovered during my research (okay, some I already knew but thought you might not know). I’ve compiled them into two posts before the novel’s July 21st release day. This is post two.
You can read post one HERE.
Daughters of Liberty (DOLs): According to Wikipedia, “The Daughters of Liberty was the formal female association that was formed in 1765 to protest the Stamp Act, and later the Townshend Acts, and was a general term for women who identified themselves as fighting for liberty during the American Revolution.” If you read many of the period journals you’ll hear the phrase daughter of liberty used for any woman who was both a hard worker and a patriot, and main character in Striking Balance, Ben, uses the term as both a compliment or an insult, depending on the person.
Cabins: So what did the average frontier cabin look like in the late 18th century? They certainly weren’t much to see, perhaps one or at most two apartments (rooms) of around 100 sq feet (10×10). Ben and Conall have two apartments, their main space and Conall’s apartment, which is a lean-to type space added to the back of the cabin. Ben has a small loft so the cabin has an unusually high roof pitch for the time period (there are reasons, believe me). The Alcotts on a neighboring farm? They live in luxury with a two-story cabin containing four fireplaces for the four apartments including the kitchen, so when Ben says their daughter Charity is spoiled, he’s speaking the truth.
Papers: Old or not, newspapers were worth savoring in a time and place they could be difficult to come by. And Conall and Ben’s cabin, like many homes of the time period, possesses only one book, the Bible. It’s estimated that 50% of Southern Colonial-era Caucasians were literate during the 18th century. That said, given that Striking Balance takes place along what is the frontier in 1779, 50% is probably rather high. BTW, toilet paper wasn’t a thing, in case you’re wondering. Leaves, corn cobs, and even, sigh, old newspapers were put to use, but proper TP, especially in the backwoods? (raises their brows and shakes their head) Nope. And you haven’t lived until you’ve had the displeasure of using an outhouse (privy) on a hot summer day.
I could create a vast series of posts detailing the history surrounding the novel Striking Balance, but tomorrow I’ll be shifting gears to focus on some of the language, specifically the more interesting semantics of the late 18th century.
Striking Balance, an historical dark fantasy set in Southern Appalachia, is available for preorder from Amazon in both ebook and print formats via the clickable cover to your right or through other online book retailers such as Barnes and Noble and IBooks.