Today we have a guest post from Bob O'Connor about writing historical fiction. Bob's book The Return of Catesby is currently on tour with Walker Author Tours. Enjoy, and pick up your copy of the book at http://www.buybooksontheweb.com/product.aspx?ISBN=0-7414-8206-1.
They say “truth is stranger than fiction.” In my case, the combination of truth and fiction make for a really good story.
What I have done with my book “The Return of Catesby” is to write a story based on a real character in history who was a slave. Catesby was owned by Colonel Lewis Washington, a descendant of George Washington. He was a teacher at the newly formed Storer College in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia set up right after the Civil War to teach freed blacks to become teachers. As such, Catesby imparts his knowledge and his story of becoming free to both teach and inspire his students.
As a man who had been actually captured by John Brown, had his own blacksmith shop, escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad, been a United States Colored soldier in the 54tgh Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and had been captured and sent to Andersonville Prison, Catesby had the extensive background needed to impart knowledge to his students. After all, if a crippled slave like Catesby could succeed, his students certainly could too.
The Return of Catesby is a sequel to “Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War” published in 2008. In this account, Catesby, a former slave, becomes the first colored teacher at Storer College in Harpers Ferry, WV. Storer was one of the first schools in the country to be established for the purpose of educating former slaves.