word craft


Story Behind the Story #61: Sophia’s War

  1. Sophia's WarI was raised in Brook­lyn Heights, the site of the biggest bat­tle of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. It was that bat­tle, which brought the Eng­lish to Man­hat­tan, which they occu­pied for the rest of the war.
  1. The place where I lived was also not far from the Brook­lyn bay where the British had pris­on­er ships. Fifty thou­sand Amer­i­cans died on those ships. The beach was lit­tered with human bones.
  1. Know­ing the above led me to a youth­ful inter­est in the Amer­i­can Revolution.
  1. Rabble in Arms, Kenneth RobertsOne of the ways I learned about the Rev­o­lu­tion was read­ing his­tor­i­cal nov­els. Ken­neth Roberts was a pop­u­lar nov­el­ist in the for­ties, and wrote about those times. But, he was very much pro-British. One of the books he wrote was Rab­ble in Arms, which in large part was about Bene­dict Arnold, pri­or to his acts of trea­son. But, being a con­trary teen-ager, I liked the notion that Arnold was not real­ly so bad.  I devel­oped an inter­est in him, and of course, learned much more about him.
  1. Many years lat­er, I had begun an his­tor­i­cal nov­el series. The guid­ing notion was I would tell a very real­is­tic his­tor­i­cal tale, but insert a fic­tion­al youth, as the pro­tag­o­nist.  Thus Iron Thun­der and Hard Gold were written.
  1. The third in the series was to be about the pris­ons, pris­on­ers, and spies in NYC dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. It would have a girl pro­tag­o­nist. That was the gen­e­sis of Sophi­a’s War, and all of the above played into it.
The Battle of Brooklyn Heights, August 27, 1776
The Bat­tle of Brook­lyn Heights, August 27, 1776
  1. But by the time I got around to writ­ing it the pub­lish­er of the first books in the series, did not want to car­ry on. I wrote it any­way, but with­out the illus­tra­tions that the first two books con­tained. It was pub­lished by a dif­fer­ent pub­lish­er, as a stand-alone.
The mark­er in Brook­lyn Heights, memo­ri­al­iz­ing the largest bat­tle in the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War.
  1. At some point I went to the spot where, in the book, Sophi­a’s family’s 18th cen­tu­ry home would have stood in Man­hat­tan. Need­less to say, noth­ing of the 18th cen­tu­ry was left, save the paths of the old crooked streets. And where Sophi­a’s home would have been stood a Trump Tower.
  1. Then there was a revolution.

2 thoughts on “Story Behind the Story #61: Sophia’s War”

  1. I love Sophi­a’s War. Excel­lent book and I will now have to read the first two. More kids should be read­ing these books.


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