One of the reasons I enjoy writing historical novels is the research. There is so much richness in learning about the past. Currently, while researching for Book 3 in my Prairie Sky Series (Under Moonlit Skies), I stumbled across a bit of Illinois history I didn’t know existed. The exciting part is…it works wonderfully into the storyline of my novel! Only the Lord could coordinate such a find!
Without giving away too much detail, my heroine in Book 3, Esther Stanton, needed a travel route between Illinois and Ohio. So, I started researching historical routes used in the 1850s. Come to find out, the first National Road, also known as the Cumberland Road, had been built in the early 1800s and ran from Cumberland, MD to none other than Vandalia, IL.
It was intended for the road to continue into Missouri, but lack of funds ended it sooner than expected. The route passed through the capital of each state it traveled through. At the time, Vandalia was Illinois’ capital.
I was overjoyed to discover that by 1858–the year Under Moonlit Skies is set in–the Cumberland road was a well-travelled road for stagecoaches and Conestoga wagons. The route provided the perfect opportunity for Esther to travel.
I’m hoping to make the trip down to Vandalia in the near future to visit the National Road Interactive Center and gain further insights into the road’s history. If and when I do, I look forward to sharing photos and more historical details with you.
As an historical author, it is my goal and duty to strive to be as historically accurate as I can in my novels. Research is time consuming, but I have to admit I have a lot of fun with it!
~ Do you enjoy when authors include bits of history in their writing? I would love to hear your thoughts!
**Read how God works in the lives of Cynthia’s characters in her Inspirational, Historical Romance (Prairie Sky) Series.
UNDER THIS SAME SKY ~ BOOK ONE
~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most ~
UNDER PRAIRIE SKIES ~ BOOK TWO
~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~