Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Truth about the Puritans by Jannine Gallant

Here's a question for all you historical authors out there. Do publishers really want the truth and nothing but the truth, or do they want a prettied up version of the facts? Do readers really want new time periods to explore, or do they prefer to stick to traditional eras?

We're sharing a bit of history this month, so I thought I'd slide in a few little known facts about the Puritans. Yep, I said the Puritans. I stepped out on a long, skinny, rickety limb and wrote a whole book about this less than glamorous era in our history. But you may be surprised by a few of these Puritan facts.

1) Puritans had celebrations and festivals but they didn't celebrate Christmas or Easter.

2) Singing and story telling was allowed--but no hymns in church. Too distracting.

3) Children were allowed to play games.

4) Puritans did not dress in all black.

5) Beer and wine were commonly consumed.

6) Puritans (including women who were definitely second class citizens) were well-educated. Towns of 50 or more families were required to have a public school.

7) The common welfare of the community was put ahead of self-interest. Unemployment was virtually unheard of.

Don't ask me why, but I took an in-depth class about Puritanism in college. When I decided to write my first historical novel way back when, I naturally turned to an era with which I was familiar. Shockingly, editors are resistant to this less than romantic time in our history. And they have some definite preconceived notions about the period. An Uncertain Destiny bristles with reality instead of an inaccurate movie version of the truth. As a result, my agent isn't finding it an easy sell. (Yes, I rewrote the whole thing, so I'm pretty positive the rejections aren't because the writing sucks!)

I thought the mystery and tragedy of the Salem witch trials would sell my book. Am I the only one fascinated by this creepy time in our history? Let's hope not! In the meantime, I'll patiently wait for an editor willing to take a gigantic step outside the box.

So, what's your favorite era in history? Do share.

You can find buy links and info on my currently published books on my website. I'll keep my fingers crossed that An Uncertain Destiny is prominently featured there sometime soon!


Margo Hoornstra said...

An Uncertain Destiny is a great book! Romance, danger, deceit it's all in there! It will definitely find a home, a good home!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Margo. Fingers crossed.

Diane Burton said...

I'm a little tired of reading about the same periods of history and the prettied up versions. I'd enjoy reading about the Puritans. They formed so much of our (Americans) way of living. I hope your book finds a home, Jannine.

Barbara Edwards said...

I love the Civil War and the American Revolution. And anything about the United States. I agree we need more variety.

Alison Henderson said...

I haven't read a historical in ages because I'm so tired of "same old, same old". I hope Dawn finds an editor willing to step out on a limb.

Jannine Gallant said...

Diane & Alison, glad I'm not the only one who wants something new!

Barbara, I also wrote a Revolutionary War story way back when. If I ever find a publisher for this book, I may resurrect that baby and do a massive rewrite to conform to today's standards then see if anyone wants it. One thing I've learned, though, is it's almost easier to start from scratch than rewrite!