My Link to the Past as a Historical Fiction Author

Over the years, many individuals have uttered the words, "I was born in the wrong era."

Whether that be the past or future that they wish to be part of, there is a piece of them that knows they are beyond their time. Women during the suffrage era felt keenly that they were ahead of the years they were born in, knowing that they were capable of more than domestic life. Whereas old souls like myself and countless others, feel like foreign residents in this modern world.

We don't feel nearly as akin to modern conveniences like cell phones as we do to older practices like letter writing and face to face communication. We've adapted to our surroundings as best we can, but there will always be a part of us that feels out of place in the world of 2019.

I grew attached to period dramas in my early teens and realized my personality within the bygone era. And as the years went by, I dived more and more into the stories of the past and made my hearts home in those undisturbed fields and woodlands, that in today's world possess cities and machinery. I felt keenly that I belonged there.

This is why so many of us old souls delve into books and films, classics and historical fiction stories. Times and places that were slower, when wilderness was more abundant than suburbia, when days were filled with everyday joys, and when things such as love and relationships were straightforward and simpler; We relate to a way of life that is no longer in existence, and the only way back is through the stories we love.

I found my solace in the stories of L.M Montgomery, in particular, the Anne of Green Gables books. Something about this little redheaded orphan - turned farm girl struck a chord in me. I felt so connected to Anne and her way of thinking, that as I discovered my passion for novel writing, I naturally took inspiration from her and the authoress that created her world.

The Fields by my House came into my mind shortly after I began high school. It all began with a spark of an idea, on a walk home. I was thinking about a girl who wrote poetry by the fireplace in her home, and how she would make a fine heroine for a story. I ran home to jot down the idea, while I sat and watched Road to Avonlea, an extension of Anne's world. And I hadn’t even gotten through the opening titles when I realized where I should place that heroine- In a town similar to the Green Gables world that I loved, where beauty and wholesomeness are not only cherished but embraced. That heroine would become Mabel and that little town Annafield. I would then spend the following two and a half years researching and writing this simple story of a farm girl who longs to be a writer. It became my life's work, a project I thought about constantly and agonized over every day. As my Mom puts it, The Fields by my House was like another family member by the time I had finished writing it. My heart and soul went, not only into the story I was telling but into the time period I had set it in, in particular, the culture of country living.

From day one of writing my novel, I have researched the Victorian/Edwardian eras and educated myself on that 73 year period. The more I learned and continue to learn about those years, the more I have fallen in love with the era that I never got to know in person. Like any period in time, it had its good sides and its bad ones, but it's the positive things brought about in those years that draw my daydreams from this world into the old one. The universe of my mind will always live in the age of innocence; when poetry recitation was not only enjoyed, but expected; when people had love and respect for the land, and when day to day life was enough for people to live their lives fully.

I’m glad 15 year old me saw her potential and realized her gift for storytelling. If not, Mabel Fairchild would never have been born, and she would never have become a part of that lonely 10th grader who just wanted to write a story she could be proud of, in a world that she could understand. I'll always be a country girl at heart, and my mind will always live in the old world. And as I continue to write stories, and finish the Fields by my House books, my love for the things now gone will continue to grow.

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What's your favorite historical era, and why? Let me know in the comments below!

© 2018 by J.E Stanway. All Rights Reserved.