The second book in my Civil War trilogy is nearly done. Praise be to the muses. I know you readers have been waiting for it. Life gets in the way of literary pursuits sometimes, especially when I’m forced to rely on other work for income. I always find it hilarious when people assume being an author equates being rich. Hardly.
My established readers know that the Cavanaugh and Reed families in the trilogy are from Charleston, South Carolina. Although we see Isabelle and Eva venture to St. Louis in the first novel, I brought the Cavanaugh clan back to their Charleston roots in the second novel. I usually stick to locations in my writing that I’ve visited numerous times in my life and therefore can write convincingly. I rather enjoy it when a setting takes on a life of its own and almost becomes its own character throughout the storytelling process. In fact, I’m more selective about location scouting and making sure those locations existed in the time that I’m writing than I am about any other aspect of building a story. That may be my tendency toward being visual and hoping one day to make movies. Nobody could ever say I wasn’t ambitious!
Recently, I took a trip to Charleston for a few days. One of my goals on this trip was to walk around old Charleston experiencing the city as my characters experienced it — on foot, for the most part. I remembered where all my main locations were and we set out for a walk to see if all of my careful planning was worth it.
Location 1: the “Meyers-Cavanaugh” house.
By Charleston standards, this house is rather middle-class. It was built in 1760, has three bedrooms, and is 2,287 square feet. In my novel, I added a little space with two extra bedrooms since there are so many family members living there. The outbuilding on the property is no longer there and the size of the property is smaller than it was in the Civil War, but luckily, most of what I needed to see is still in tact. The fence that usually lines the front of the property wasn’t there for some reason. We think the current owners are making some improvements.
Location 2: the Reed mansion.
In reality, this mansion on the battery is the Edmondston-Alston House. It was built in 1825 and enhanced in 1838. This was one of the first mansions built on what is known as the high battery. In my version of Charleston, this is where Eva grew up before getting married and moving to St. Louis. This house has a lot of memories for Isabelle as well because they were constantly with each other, having no sisters of their own.
Location 3: Saint Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church and cemetery.
I forgot to get a picture of the actual church, so I stole one, but the cemetery pictures are mine. Saint Mary of the Annunciation is the oldest Catholic Church in Charleston and it’s the parish of the Cavanaugh and Reed families. Isabelle and Eva attended Mass here as little girls and many of their family members are buried in the graveyard surrounding the church. The graveyard is rather crowded and wraps around the back of the church from both sides. The Cavanaughs have a rather large plot here and a new grave is added in the second novel.
There you have a bit of a walking tour of Isabelle and Eva’s Charleston. I have more but I can’t show them now or I’ll give away plot spoilers. I will post them after the novel is published though!