If I could be a fly on a historic wall, I’d go back to the meeting house in Salem, Massachusetts when Sarah Towne Cloyce was tried for witchcraft in 1692. I recently discovered that I’m distantly related to her.
I’m also related through marriage to Thomas Fiske, the foreman of the jury that condemned at least one accused witch, maybe more. So I had distant Dodge relatives on both sides of this crisis in history. What I really want to discover is what position my direct ancestors—the family of Richard Dodge—took on the witchcraft issue.
So I dug into online archives, hoping for a diary or letter or some other juicy source. I emerged empty-handed. Thus, I decided if I couldn’t uncover a detailed history of my family at this moment in the past, I’d write their story myself.
That is how my current fictional work-in-progress began. Tentatively titled The Tale of a Hunter, my story is a Romeo and Juliet tragedy set in Wenham, Massachusetts in 1692. More on that story as it develops.
If you’re interested in writing historical fiction, understand that you’ll have to do lots of historical research. Here is a review of a nonfiction book for teen readers all about the Salem witchcraft hysteria. Read more