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Bachelor and Munro
I didn’t set out to create a series of novels, let alone one that includes recurring characters. Frank Bachelor and Doug Munro were introduced in Fire Blight as lawmen who are unwitting partners. While their styles differ, they share the same work ethic and commitment.
But once I began thinking about a second novel, I realized two things. First, I liked some of the characters created in Fire Blight. Keeping them would provide continuity and familiarity. Secondly, a series allows for richer character development. Placing the same characters in different situations offers opportunities to further explore their personalities, interests, and interactions.
I am becoming comfortable with Bachelor and Munro as they become more comfortable with one another. I hope the readers feel the same.
History and Mystery
I love history. I read about the past every chance I get, and love writing about it. But these books are novels. Fiction. However, I have worked out a way to indulge my love of history within the confines of a fictional story. The Frank Bachelor-Doug Munro series is set in southern Illinois, which has a rich past. So while the characters, plots and locations are – for the most part – made up, some are real.
Fire Blight includes back stories about the Trail of Tears, which actually was made up of several routes. The term describes the forced relocation of the so-called Five Civilized Tribes of Native Americans that were moved from the Southeastern United States to points west. Affected were the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations. The northernmost route involved Cherokees, and crossed the extreme southern tip of Illinois. The fictional community of Cherokee Camp in my books got its name from a stop on the trail.
Since two main characters in the novel – David and Janet Purcell – own and operate an apple and peach orchard, I included some background about the fruit industry in southern Illinois. There were also references to events such as the 1925 Tri-State Tornado.
More history is found in The Pursuit of Bethany Ringel. One chapter details the Western campaign during the Revolutionary War, when General George Rogers Clark led a force into what is now southern Illinois, to capture Fort Kaskaskia and Fort Sackville from the British. The bootlegging gangster Charlie Birger also makes his way into Bethany Ringel, including his unfortunate end.
Some “history” is made up. Because I take pains to provide accurate information regarding historical sites, events and characters, I want to make sure the reader is not fooled, and that fiction is separate from fact. To that end I include a section toward the end of each novel called History and Mystery. There I separate what is real and what is a figment of my imagination, inspired by real events.
If you love history like I do, you should enjoy both the “real” and “unreal” depictions of times past. Maybe you will learn something. I certainly did, and continue to learn. The moment we quit learning is the end of life, in my humble opinion.
Thanks for reading!