How did your interest in writing begin?
I had library duty one Friday at school. The history of Albany, NY, was on display. One of the tables contained documents about an 1826 murder. Although I had lived in Albany most of my life, I had never heard about the murder. Being nosy, I was extremely interested in what must have been a scandal in those days. I asked to borrow the materials to read over the weekend.
The first text brought out the tenor of the historical period and was for instructional use in high schools. The murderess, an orphan from a well-to-do family, had eloped at fifteen in an attempt to quit school and leave her foster home. Later, she had an affair with an itinerant handyman. Her life was in shambles, caring for a young son while her husband worked away from home on the Erie Canal. Women in those days had no rights, but this gal was a bit feisty and tried her wings. She behaved inappropriately. At the end of the affair, her husband was murdered. She and the handyman were both accused but were tried separately. In his confession, he blamed much of it on her, despite the fact that he had murdered before. At her trial, the judges sent her away in disgrace after forcing her to watch her former lover being hanged.
The next book by a local professor was quite different - a decidedly biased account. I was stunned to read an academic work where the author placed the entire blame on the evil woman. That's when I decided to write a rebuttal in the form of a novel, a novel now residing in one of my file cabinets just waiting for me to write it. Not once did the professor take into consideration the confines of society, the state of her living experiences, or the fact that she was terribly young and immature. I'm not saying the woman was not at fault in the murder - just that she was a victim of circumstance. That story has many implications, and I can't wait to re-write it.
This story is interesting to me because of the historic attitudes of the day. The woman never spoke up in court to defend herself and the judges, thinking her a simpleton, let her get off with nothing more than their censure. The professor’s book led everyone to believe that she was a seductress who willfully intrigued the handyman and made him murder her husband. I wanted to write the story from a woman’s point of view, to show how women were treated during that time period. Men ruled the world then (and still do in many ways).