Sometimes your research brings up odd things – like a PDF of a whole book that someone scanned titled HistoricOntario – by G.E. Moore that has a bunch of really useful info about the Queenston area. Check it out!
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I’ve started a new story – which in the midst of this pandemic is a minor miracle for me. I’ve had no trouble writing journalism and creating news content, but up until recently, my fiction muse had been hiding in the corner, driven there by the anxious news all around me.
I’m happy to say that I’m back to writing a bit of fiction, this time a story about Canadian hero Laura Secord. Not sure what this will become, but as usual, I’m tracking my progress and research here!
Based on some research I’m keeping in mind, here are some main characters:
- Laura Secord (nee Ingersoll 1775)- daughter to Major Thomas Ingersoll
- Major Thomas Ingersoll (nee 1749)
- Elizabeth Ingersoll Pickett (nee 1779, married to Daniel Pickett)
- Mira Ingersoll (nee 1781)
- Harriet Ingersoll (nee 1783 from Sarah’s previous marriage)
- Sarah (Sally) Ingersoll (nee Backus)
- Charles Fortescue Ingersoll (nee 1791)
- Charlotte Ingersoll (nee 1793)
- Appolonia Ingersoll (nee 1794)
- James Secord (nee 1773) a young merchant of Queenston and the youngest son of a loyalist officer of Butler’s Rangers.
And here are some major timeline things to keep in mind:
- Ingersoll fought as patriot during the American Revolution and in Shay’s Rebellion in 1786 earned the rank of Major
- Met Mohawk leader Joseph Brant in NYC in 1793 who convinced him to move to Upper Canada
- Received 66k acres in the Thames Valley in a land grant from Simcoe
- Ingersolls moved to Upper Canada in 1795 (when Laura is 20)
- Thomas Ingersoll joined the local Masonic Lodge in 1796 and his tavern was one of two in the area that hosted the local Masons.
- Young James Secord joined the Masonic Lodge.
- James Secord lived on a 200-acre farm that his family had received as a United Empire Loyalist grant given to sons of British Loyalists from America.
- Laura marries James Secord in June, 1797
- Secord gave birth to her first child, Mary, in St. Davids in 1799
- 27 May 1813, the American army launched an attack across the Niagara River, and captured Fort George. Queenston and the Niagara area fell to the Americans. Men of military age were sent as prisoners to the U.S., though the still-recuperating James Secord was not among them.
- The Coloured Corps, a militia company of about 50 Black men, serves throughout the war, including during the Battle of Queenston Heights.
- June 1813, a number of U.S. soldiers are billeted at the Secords’ home.
- Laura Secord makes her trek to warn the British (specifically a military detachment camped in DeCew House) about the American invasion in June 22, 1813 (when she is 38 years old)
Despite Book 4 in the Portia Adams Adventures being delayed in its release (till the fall, pandemic-allowing) you can still pre-order it right now.
And because I know how Book 5 ends and no one else does yet (sorry!) I find myself in the research stages of Book 5. What I can reveal is that Portia comes back to Canada in this book, accompanied by Annie, Bryan and of course, Nerissa.
Right now I’m reading Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life and I have to tell you, prime minister Mackenzie King is WAY more interesting than my 8th grade Social Studies teacher made him out to be.
Any other books about the late 1930s in Canadian history you would suggest to help me with my research?
Wow, this is another awesome nomination for the little-calico-that-could!
The Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards (MYCRA) just announced their shortlist for 2020/21 and Pickles vs the Zombies is on it!
I was lucky enough to tour Manitoba in 2016 with the Portia series, and I am so excited to be a part of this very talented list of authors.
Some awesome news for fans of cats who fight zombies, Pickles VS the Zombies has been short-listed for the 2020/21 Hackmatack Award!
Past winners are some of my fav kids books, so I am thrilled to be on the list and honored to be amongst the best in the biz.
In case you didn’t know (as I did not), “the name of the Hackmatack program comes from a tree commonly found in Atlantic Canada, also known as a tamarack or larch.” It’s an annual prize picked by kids who live on the east coast, and there are four categories – English Fiction, English non-fiction, French Fiction and French non-fiction.
WICKED news eh?
As I am reading on a lot of my author-friends blogs and websites, I too must announce a delay in the publication of my books. While we’re all physically isolating to flatten that curve (a policy I am 100% behind) my publisher has let me know that The Detective and the Spy is being bumped into the fall. This means Trip of the Dead and The Detective and the Spy could potentially come out within weeks of each other which is weird, but whatcha gonna do?
I’m going to sit here in my home office in Toronto and be grateful that my food and mortgage are not dependent on my fiction writing because there are a lot of fine artists out there who cannot say the same.
So, here’s to all of the amazing indie bookstores trying to stay afloat, the authors whose books came out just as the pandemic hit and had to cancel the launch parties and to all the editors and writers out there who just need to get back out there.
I see you, I will retweet you, I will order your books and I wish you all good health.
I’m looking for some feedback as I start creating my visuals for the next Portia campaign. Can you please vote on the image (via comments) that catches your attention?
Look at this gorgeous cover for the latest Portia Adams Adventure (thanks to the fine folks at Cormorant!)
In case you’re wondering why it looks so different from the first three books it’s because we’ve graduated to the adult leagues. Portia is 25 in this book, so she’s no longer a young adult.
I’m really excited about this transition, and I hope all my fans will come with Portia and me on this new adventure!