Just because I’ve written a book about the Civil War, don’t go thinking I actually know anything about the subject.
To paraphrase Lois Lane, “that’s what co-authors are for.”
As you know, I know a thing or two about sewage. I learned it all on the beat as a local news reporter. After covering a story about the upgrade of Christiansburg’s sewage plant, I was inspired to write The Qwikpick Adventure Society, about some kids that decided to risk it all to see the famous Sludge Fountain before it was shut down forever and replaced by a sludge jacuzzi. (By the way, this was just one of many sewage-related stories I had to write. Sewage = development= money.)
My co-author, Michael Hemphill, managed to avoid the sewage plant stories. His beat for awhile was the federal courts. This beat led him to write an award-winning and VERY upsetting story about the unsolved murder of a psychiatric ward inmate.
It also led him to write about the Civil War, specifically the attempt by Virginia to get a Civil War battle flag back from Minn.
It is just some pieces of slave-picked cotton and English wool. Cut, dyed and sewn together differently, it might have made a baby’s blanket or a lady’s dress.
But because it was a Confederate flag, men grappled for it, died for it, 137 years ago at Gettysburg.
Apparently, the pursuit of this story required him to hang out with Civil War reenactors drinking moonshine. You can read it here.
Just as I was inspired to turn my news story into fiction, Hemphill wanted to write a screenplay about Civil War reenactors. Somewhere along the line we decided to team up and Stonewall Hinkleman, a very reluctant Civil War reenactor, sprung to life.
Hemphill is the main source of factual information for the book, which closely follows the very real events of the day-long Battle of Bull Run.
But his Civil War connection doesn’t end there. He is also the Tour Coordinator and co-owner of Civil War Journey, a battlefield tour company that “transports you through the battlefields, hearing the voices, experiencing the history, enjoying the camaraderie. These learning vacations are stimulating, yet relaxing and personally inspiring.” http://www.civilwarjourney.com/
Civil War Journey’s Historian, Robert Freis, provided knowledge, guidance, suggestions and fact-checking as well.
So, as you can see, the book is bona fide even if I am clueless.