So I returned to the skeletal Part 1, and have been adding scenes to flesh out the characters more. I found a very helpful sight with some Abenaki words, which I will list in my glossary as I've done with the previous books.
My intent with Book #3 was to bring my many ancestors to the forefront; I am descended from at least five families who were impacted by the events of June 28 1689. However, as my Muses communicate with me, my fictional characters are becoming more and more the main characters, which are easier on me to write. But I still want to be sure my ancestors are fleshed out so the reader knows them well enough to have a real feel for who they were.
The fictional main character is Grace Hampton. Orphaned when her parents were ambushed by Indians when she was six, she and her sister Alice are taken in by distant relatives (and ancestors of mine ) Captain John Heard and his wife Elizabeth. I'm enjoying Grace because she is a spunky impetuous redhead who, by no fault of her own, seems to get herself into trouble. She even stands up to Indian warriors, but not so much out of courage as it is out of the fact she just doesn't think before she acts!
In Part 1, Grace is introduced as a tomboyish 9-year-old whose prized possession is the whirligig toy her late father made her. She wears it wrapped around one wrist so that whenever she has a spare moment she can send the mother-of-pearl button spinning on its string; think of it as a seventeenth-century child's cell phone!
Menane is a Penacook boy and Grace's peer. A smallpox epidemic took his parents, leaving his elderly grandmother to care for him. These two children meet and an unusual friendship develops. He's also a fictional character, but his brother, Kancamagus, did exist. With good reason, Kancamagus distrusts the whites, Menane is still young and forming his own opinions. Grace, then later her benefactress, Dame Elizabeth Heard, show him kindness, so his heart is softened toward whites.
The fictional hero from Letters to Kezia, Absalom Hart, is also important in this story. Friends with my ancestor Stephen Otis , he's a somber gentle giant with a strong sense of justice.
Part 2 opens 13 years later. Grace is a grown woman of 22. An independent and industrious spinster, she makes her living as a cheesemonger.
A major antagonist in the story is Major Richard Waldron, one of the few real-life characters from whom I am not descended. It's his actions that bring about the incident in 1676 which leads up to the Indian attack in 1689. According to my research, he ruled Cochecho like a king. I am in the process, however, of developing his character, adding more dimensions that just a prideful jerk. History doesn't paint a real good picture of him, but I still want my readers to have feelings for him. He had a large household, but to simplify the number of characters in the story, I only give him the fictional servant Elsie. Elsie's character is becoming more integral to the story, so it will fun to flesh her out.
As adults, Grace and Menane face each other amidst the chaos of the siege, and THAT is the part I'm looking forward to writing the most!
If this post has intrigued you, please let me know by commenting below!