Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why did I choose Indianola?

I'm working steadily to finish what I thought would be a novella set in Indianola, Texas in 1875, but I have 50,000 words already and I'm no where near the end of my story so....could this be another full length novel? As a pantser I won't know until I reach the end but it's looking that way.
I chose the town because I wanted a ghost town. Ghost towns have a fascination unlike real or fictional towns in that they possess mystery. Why did the town die? I wanted that part of the town to be a real element in the story. At the time I went searching for a setting, I had no idea how that history would play into my story but wow - I'm so excited about this one.

Indianola rivaled Galveston back in the day and was known as "the" port for shipping and for newly arrived immigrants. It was perfectly situated with easy access. In fact, it was the county seat at the time, but nature had other plans. A very distructive hurricane swept through in on Sept 16, 1875. Folks managed to rebuild, but another hurricane in 1886 sealed her fate and the post office was officially closed in 1887.

After reading some of the town's history, I told my mom about my selected location and she got all excited. She actually had a book on the town's history because she's huge into geneaology and that's the port where my forefathers entered the US for the first time. Having the book made my research go a lot smoother. Yes, there's plenty of info on the Internet, but not the wonderful tidbits offered by Indianola: The Mother of Western Texas by Brownson Malsch.

Even more fascinating is the culmination of the Sutton/Taylor feud. The trial of Bill Taylor was in progress when the hurricane hit so the town was full of visitors seeking a bit of excitement. I started my story in August and I'm now at the point where the hurricane hits. Can't wait to see how my hero and heroine react, how they survive. So many lost their lives to nature's destructive forces.

I'm planning a trip to the actual site sometime in March. I'll post pictures later.

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