Tuesday, April 12, 2011

History is Cool! A Guest Post by Author Scott Cardinal

I am happy to welcome author Scott Cardinal to A Few More Pages today. As a history teacher and lover of all things historical, I was quite excited when I saw what he wrote for us today. Enjoy!
Historical fiction and books that deal with time travel have always been of great interest to me. And I am not alone. Considering so many people’s current obsession with celebrities, it is interesting to see that people have always been interested in well-known individuals. Especially if they were heroes and legends in his or her own time. What I am especially drawn to is reading about people who were well-known 100+ years ago, who have been forgotten over the course of time.

My cousin is a well-known and respected historian. He is also a history teacher at a high school. He chooses this type of work because he has made a huge impact on the lives of countless kids who took his classes over the course of 30+ years. He is the type of history teacher that you wish you had. Seriously. He shows up in historical clothing and brings real artifacts with him. He brings history to life.

Kids do not skip his class. They love it. They want to know what he will wear or talk about today.

That is cool.

Because he loves history so much, he has gone out of his way to find out about heroes, legends, and events that are little known or not known at all. And when he talks about them, his eyes light up. His voice changes. He talks as if he was actually there. He knows these people. He knows these events. There isn’t anything you could ask him that he would not be able to answer.

History can be cool.

Nellie Bly
Learning about real heroes and legends can be cool.

Wouldn’t it be great if fewer girls were interested in Lady Gaga, but instead were interested in Nellie Bly? After all, she was a pioneer female journalist in the 1920’s who travelled around the world and also faked insanity to have herself committed to a mental institution in order to expose the horrid conditions. She was truly amazing.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if girls were inspired by Phoebe Fraunces? In 1775 the 16-year-old girl saved George Washington’s life by exposing the plot to abduct and assassinate him. Very little is known about this true story, but my cousin has an original article from the time as well as a copy of the court transcripts! What made this story particularly intriguing is that Phoebe Fraunce’s fiancĂ© was one of the lead conspirators! It was his job to set General George Washington up while he was alone with his mistress at Mary Gibbons’ New Jersey Cottage! To add further authenticity to this story, Phoebe was the daughter of Samuel “Black Sam” Boniface Fraunces who was the owner/operator of Fraunces Tavern that still stands in downtown Manhattan today! Why does it still stand? That’s easy to answer. It was at Fraunces's tavern, on December 4, 1783, that General George Washington said farewell to his officers at the close of the war.

Teenage girls like Phoebe Fraunces in 1775 were cool. More people should know about them.

Peter Francisco
Countless people today worship big, strong athletes. They think football players are awesome. They are considered heroes. Meanwhile, how many guys today now about real American heroes such as Peter Francisco? He was 6'6", 260 lbs, and when he was 16-years-old he became one of the greatest hero of the American Revolutionary War! Oh, yeah, and even though he grew up as an indentured servant he eventually learned to read and write and became a successful blacksmith and businessman. Wow.

Historical fiction allows us readers to meet the characters that populated past times, and live vicariously through their experiences. Intrigue. Romance. Drama. Action. Heroism. These things have been going on throughout history. And we get to read all about them!

Time travel stories can be particularly exciting and dramatic because modern day readers may be able to more easily relate the characters because they look, act, and talk like “us.” In addition, is there anyone in the world who doesn’t wish they could travel back in time – even just for a day? Who wouldn’t want to right things that went wrong? Who wouldn’t want to meet people they admire? Sure, some people would like to go back in time just to buy stock in Apple and IBM, but many of us would just love to wear authentic 17th century clothes, walk through a castle, drink some mead, and look up at starry skies that are not washed out by the lights of modern city lights.

A great deal of time, research, energy, and imagination goes into writing historical and time travel fiction and I personally like to reward those authors as often as I can. One way I just found out about is to join the Time Travel Reading Challenge. You can read all about it on Alyce’s blog At Home With Books. She lists dozen of Time Travel books, and I can guarantee that you will love a great deal, if not all, of them.

Remember, history is cool!
About the author:

Scott Cardinal is an American Novelist, Screenwriter, Investigative Journalist, and Filmmaker. Unlike most authors, he writes in numerous genres including Contemporary, Historical and Gothic Fiction, Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Horror, Thriller, and Adventure. His novels have been written in first, second, and third person. Many read very fast because he adapted them from his original screenplays.

Many of his literary works represent his obsession with American History and Time Travel. The Adventures of Justin Tyme and Inn Time best represent this.

You can connect with Scott online below:
Thank you so much for this wonderful and passionate essay, Scott! It reminds me of all of the reasons why I love history. I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at your historical fiction titles. 

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