Writing The Story

Sarah Kay BierleWith so many books, projects, and endeavors, there’s a “story behind the story.” I wanted to briefly share my story of writing, researching, writing, editing, and publishing Blue, Gray & Crimson. Does that list of actions seem a little out of order? That’s part of the story.

Writing The Very First Draft

“You should write a book,” an older cousin told me one June afternoon. I was nine, he was fourteen and we were sitting at the table – obviously with nothing better to talk about. “Okay,” I agreed. Then we decided on some character names, that it would be a Civil War story, and I stoutly insisted the setting would be Gettysburg.

He went home, and I painstakingly wrote out a story in a black marbled covered notebook. (I did a lot of research *sarcastically* and read two picture books about Gettysburg). Anyway, my mom took my handwritten scribbles and typed them into the computer. Then, very seriously, we edited the poor little book.

The next summer I proudly presented a spiral-bound copy to my cousin. It was quite popular with the grandparents and few friends, but I never actually sold it. And no publisher came knocking at my door asking to see the “genius” who had written a “masterpiece” with a semi-noisy battle, three injured soldiers, and a perfect main character.

Back To Research Books

A family friend who had read the little book kindly gave me the book The Long Road To Gettysburg. Suddenly, I realized civilian life in Gettysburg wasn’t easy – things did not “go back to normal” after the battle the way I’d supposed. Thus, began my own long journey back to Gettysburg.

During the next few years, I read almost every Civil War book in the children’s section at our library, pestered re-enactors at living history events, and actually went to Gettysburg National Military Park. I made a promise – actually wrote it out and signed it – that I would study Gettysburg and Civil War and when my formal education was complete, I would rewrite my story.

In the autumn of 2013, with a college diploma in hand, I went back to my desk and started focused research. Thirty books and a hundred pages of notes later, I was ready.

Writing The First Draft…Again

This time I sat down at a computer with a story plot and historical knowledge. Some elements of the original story remained, but had been expanded into serious parts of the plot or key turning points in the story.

I began writing the draft in April 2014, and, in June, it was complete. The summer and autumn months were busy with researching publishing options, editing, and working with artist Cheryl Schoenberger to plan the original cover art.

Editing and Publishing

I was blessed to have an awesome team of family, friends, and professionals work on editing the manuscript. It was not always “fun” to read over two hundred pages in short time frames, but it was a learning experience.

The publishing process began in March 2015, and the book’s release is in July 2015.

The End?

So, there’s a little bit of the story behind Blue, Gray & Crimson. I’ll be sharing more through up-coming blog posts on “Back to Gettysburg Tuesdays” or through presentations and book events.

This isn’t the end of the story though. The book is now available and the story will continue as you read the book and share feedback.


One thought on “Writing The Story

  1. Pingback: Announcing A New Book! | Gazette665

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