When I finished writing My Brothers' Keeper, I realized it told only part of the story of the Civil War. There were other perspectives for my readers to consider—the contribution of African Americans in the war, the strong beliefs of the Confederacy, and the divisive feelings in the Shenandoah Valley and the country as a whole in the mid–1800s. And so I decided to write a trilogy of Civil War stories for young people.
My love of history has made research a joy. When travelling to the settings of my stories, my husband and I have searched for books in small shops where dust covered volumes line the shelves. We have tramped in the swamps of northern Florida, coming within ten feet of a dozing alligator. By accident, we happened to be in Lexington, Virginia, on May 15, 1997, the day the cadets at VMI honor those cadets killed in the Battle of New Market in 1864.
As a teacher I realized there was a need for historical fiction about the Civil War. I believe many of the issues which divided our country during the Civil War still touch us today.