One of the things I most enjoy about starting a new work of historical fiction is jumping into a time that is not my own. I learned a lot about 1941 when writing The Mine and 1918 when producing The Show and rediscovered my youth in The Journey, set in 1979 and 1980.
In each project, I was able to lose myself in an era that had its own conventions, vocabulary, and public issues. I was able to see a vastly different historical period through the eyes of a modern time traveler.
This spring and summer I'll have the opportunity to see a different world again. I've begun writing The Fire, the fourth book in my Northwest Passage series and the sequel to The Journey. Set in Wallace, Idaho, in 1910, this novel will follow Kevin Johnson, a recent college graduate in 2013, through an important but often overlooked year in American history.
In The Fire, Kevin, an accomplished but luckless science major, will fall in love, witness Halley's comet, find his calling as a teacher, and experience the largest wildfire in U.S. history. He will see the Pacific Northwest as his great-great-grandfather saw it and wrestle with the impact he has on everyone he meets.
I'm about halfway through a first draft that will likely exceed 100,000 words. This will be the largest book in the series to date and hopefully the best. I hope to finish a final draft by August and publish in September. The Fire will be available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.