Saturday, November 14, 2009

HOW I MET ONE OF MY CHARACTERS: (Thanks to one of my Readers!)

Last January, one of my readers, a teacher who read BLUE with her students, wrote to tell me how much she enjoyed it. She wanted to track down a particular video about Hickory's polio epidemic.

It's wonderful, of course, to know that a reader enjoys my books and that my story sparks an interest in history. But it's some kind of special when she offers to help research my work-in-progress because she lives near where it takes place.

When Candy Scherberger made this offer I thanked her and promptly returned to whatever else was overwhelming me at the moment. Then in August, I realized I was ready for her help. In particular, I wanted details related to the library at the College of William and Mary.

Clearly, August isn't the best time to ask a teacher for a favor. So I gave Candy an out but she promised to do what she could. Then, this week, she put an archivist in touch with me.

As a result, I know the name of the head librarian in 1942 - Earl Gregg Swem - who is now a character in my book. I know that the library, itself didn't have a name and that it was open and active during the summer (Whew! I needed that!),and I know that indeed, Mr. Swem hired student assistants. (I'm going to assume that one of them could be a love interest for my fictional character!)

In addition, I have links to hundreds of issues of The Flat Hat, the college's newspaper. And if there's anything I love more than an old newspaper rich with details of time and place, it would be - hmmmm what would it be?

Maybe the reader who helped me find it. Thanks Candy!


  1. Oh, wow! The library as character. OK, I know, it's the librarian, but I love books with interesting libraries and librarians. ( my former profession) This sounds like such good research material your friend helped with. Lucky you!