Today I sent off, to my interior designer, all the beautiful old tin-types and photographs that will be at the back of this finale of my Heritage Time Travel Romance series. I wanted readers to be able to see the real people who my main cast of fictional characters were based on.
Torie's ancestors are all fictional but with such a large cast of characters including three generations and covering three centuries of times, I needed to use some means to keep them all straight chronologically. Also it made it easy for readers to get to know them as characters and who belonged to who as they learned about and came to know the Wyman and Mills family's.
So the real family of my great-great-grandparents Richard and Fanny Axtell Yeoman became the fictional family of Judson and Rose Simpson Wyman. And with my family tree program always at the ready and using three generations of my own ancestors as a framework, I began writing my adventure that soon became an epic sized journey which would take three novels to complete.
Most of the stories included in the series are true, or have at least kernels of truth although credited to my fictional cast. For example from Out of the Past, the touching scene when a newlywed and very pregnant great-grandaunt Ivy McFall and her young husband Joshua are inhabited by Dave and Torie. Torie's description of Joshua's tragic and lonely death back in the 1800's, I found in an old newspaper and it struck a cord with me and stayed with me. Joshua McFall was the perfect character to attribute that sad end to.
My own true great-grandaunt Ida McFall and her husband Joseph McFall actually were married for more than twelve years and Joseph died much less dramatically at the age of 30 from illness. In the story, Ivy and Joshua had but one child before his sad end. The real life couple had four children, their last child being Georgia McFall, who became an only child for the purpose of the story and her name became... Katie McFall.
In Into the Future, many of the travels Dave must endure are true stories that I collected through my years of genealogy research and hours hunkered down in dusty old libraries and historical museums, reading old newspapers. The poor little toddler's end is a dramatized version of what may have happened. The story I read gave the basics of the scalding hot bucket of water, the poor mother looking away for a moment and I dramatized the possible scene Dave arrived in the middle of. The terrible car accident that left Dave struggling to survive a near drowning and many of the stories that became his personal hell in Into the Future are real stories from Iowa history.
In Forevermore, the travels continue and Torie will learn about her gift and discover that the world is nothing she once believed it to be as she is schooled by a patient and wise old traveler who holds all the keys.