My apologies for not posting in a while. Life and work can get in the way sometimes. But I'm back!
I'm going to chat a bit on a historical novel I've written and is in the process of being critiqued as you read. Since I was a Civil War re-enactor for 15 years, it was easy for me to write about this topic. I had a plot idea, the setting was perfect, but I wanted to represent as much historical accuracy without the book veering into the realm of "Hollywoodized", so to speak. In other words, fake, or in re-enacting terms, farby.
The setting deals with two brothers, one who is a Christian and one who is not. One fled south while the other remained in the north. It is not a story of brotherly hatred, but of an unexpected antagonist, an officer in the ranks. The brothers, before the war broke out, were robbed on the street. In their defense, one of the attackers was killed. A court trial found them innocent of the incident, but the defending attorney, prominent and wealthy, never lost a case...until this one. And he also happened to be the uncle of the boy criminal who was killed.
Thus, the story follows Emory Gilroy's life in the 83rd Pennsylvania and his struggles with war and the officer, Lt. Carlisle. As the story continues, Emory battles the rebels and Carlisle while trying to find his brother, reportedly killed in action via a letter from his mother. The rest you will have to find out when it is released.
I chose the 83rd due to their prestige and the path of their battles during their 1864 campaigns. It involved many instances where I could describe a soldier's life and a bit more, yet it also gave me an opportunity to involve both of the brothers in realistic events. My experiences as a Civil War living historian gave me a ton of knowledge on how to describe some of what these soldiers went through. It is these descriptions some of my critique partners have said shed light on what these soldiers went through.
The battles were easy for me. One of my strengths in writing is describing combat in various forms, and by using my background in re-enacting and history, it was a no-brainer. But the story is more than just battle, its the human side of war; at least that is what I tried to capture. There is still some tweaking, but I am pleased so far with the result. This was my first novel spanning less than the 80,000+ words of my other works. So, look for the title, Enemy in the Ranks, in the future.