COME TO CHESAPEAKE COUNTRY
Why did you pick the setting you used in your story?
Chesapeake country was the inspiration for my Chesapeake Heritage series. When I moved to the it was like entering a different world. I was used to the mountains and forests of the Adirondack – a place where gardens were planted between the stones and winter lingered for seven months of the year. I fell in love with the tidewater marshes the first time I saw them when I noticed small ancient houses gradually melting into the soggy ground. The forests were different and the land was different – just as wild as the , but presenting different problems. I felt the wildness of the vista, but it seemed bleak and empty compared to the mountains I was used to.
The thought of survival in such habitat seemed impossible, and it was not until I was assigned stories that took me deep into the marsh country that I came to know individuals who were descended from the local Native Americans and the colonists who wrested settlements out of the inhospitable landscapes. I could not imagine finding enough food for a family to survive even the bitter (but brief) winters, and so I found materials for my Chesapeake Heritage series built around the stories of the women in a family who loved, endured and embraced Chesapeake Country.
Why you chose that particular setting?
I had an ancestor who was an indentured servant like Mary Charles in Chesapeake Harvest. I could not think of a more inhospitable landscape for the background of a story about a woman who had to choose between coming to the New World and finding herself in a place where survival was in no way guaranteed.
What does the setting add to the story?
Any effort to colonize a new world has its own difficulties. The Tidewater area offers rich resources, if one can endure the loneliness and sicknesses attendant on life on the verge of the steaming marshes that border arable land. Chesapeake Harvest tells the story of Mary Charles, who endures despite the dangers of being a stranger in a strange land.
Could you write the same story in a different setting?
I could write a similar story, and have. My novel Mystick Moon is placed in Mistic Conn., a place that was built with the same sort of frontier living that captures my imagination.
Why or why couldn't you use a different setting?
I could use a different setting and the problems would be similar, as long as it was a story of survival in a frontier life. Breaking farms and holding one’s babies as they died of fever are not new themes. I didn’t want to re-hash the Capt. John Smith story which had a very sad ending, but the tidewater environment is a big part of the Chesapeake Heritage stories.
Did you use a real place as a basis for your setting?
I have placed my story generally on the place known as the Eastern Shore, a peninsula composed of parts of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. I have not, however situated it in any particular place on a modern map, but rather ‘between’ those places that survived colonization and are present on today.
Or, did you create the setting from scratch?
The landscape of Chesapeake Harvest and the Chesapeake Heritage series was not created from scratch. I did however, go to a place called Elliott’s Island, which is featured in the second book in the series, Chesapeake Legacy. If you don’t have a boat, you must travel through 19 miles of farm fields, forests and marsh to the island. Elliott’s Island has the feel of eternity if you travel there and meet fishermen who have plied their boats on Fishing Bay for thousands of years. The island is so far from today’s techno-world it seems a place out of time. All you have to do is go there and walk down to the shore to feel what our ancestors felt when they first arrived with the intent of colonizing the area.
Is there anything else about your setting that we need to know? Feel free to share.
The Chesapeake Heritage series take place in a hard to imagine world. You have to come to Tidewater country, view its endless marshes and walk its shores to realize how very difficult life might have been when
Please provide your website link. www.terrylwhite.com
What is the link to buy your book? www.amazon.com, or from me at .
Tell us some specific details about your setting. arrived to found the first colony for the Crown. What would we see? What sort of people are there?
The people who live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland are the sort of people Hank Williams Jr. sang about when he said, "Country folks will survive." The people here are a gumbo of Native American, English, and French settlers with a sprinkling of the Irish and other ethnic varieties. Descendants of slaves still speak of picking cotton and working as migrants in the wide farmland acres. There are farmers with thousands of acres under the plow and watermen whose wives pick the meat from their crab harvest . The Eastern Shore has become a Mecca for retirees from across the Bay who find living costs down and volunteer opportunities rich and varies. Summer finds the residents enjoying sailing and enjoying the many weekend festivals the area affords.
If we were traveling to your setting, what should we bring with us? For visitors, what do they need to know to visit your setting?
The Eastern Shore of Maryland is tidewater country, composed largely of wetlands with areas of rich, arable land that is now the source of grain for the poultry and ethanol industries. Originally, this land was seeded with tobacco, which paid the colonists’ taxes to the English Crown.
When it rains, you get your feet wet. Summers are long and sultry, with lingering high humidity and long, sweltering nights. The farmlands are fertile and the fishery is rich, providing crabs, oysters, clams and fish for the Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, DC markets. Situated on what is known as the , late autumn finds the skies alive with migrating ducks and geese – some of which stay the winter to graze on standing grain crops planted by the rangers at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. Winters are brief and damp. Houses are built on pilings and foundations are plagued by termites and water damage even in town.
Thank you for sharing details about your book setting. Now, what's the title of your book and where can we buy it?
Chesapeake Harvest and Chesapeake Legacy are available both as ebooks and in print. They can be found at Amazon.com, Kindle, All Romance Ebooks, Fictionwise, Mobipocket and more. Chesapeake Destiny is set for spring release as an ebook and Chesapeake Heritage will be released sometime in the fall of 2009 and will be available at the ebook sites or from my publisher at www.writewordsinc.com