Saving Marina will be released in print next Tuesday, January 19th, and in ebook on February 1st.
People often ask me which is of my books is my personal favorite. I usually answer with the one I’m writing now. That is the truth, mainly because that is the story I’m most focused on, however, each book has something special about it. Whether it’s how the story came to be, the research behind it, a character that reminds me of someone, etc. etc. Saving Marina is no different. This book is special because of my family history.
I’d heard for years that there were ‘witches’ in our ancestry, but didn’t think much about it. All families have ‘skeletons in the closet’ and tidbits that may have grown into ‘wives’ tales’ over the years. It wasn’t until my son was exploring Ancestry.com and told me that my eight times great grandmother was arrested as a witch during the Salem Witch Trials that I took a deeper interest.
During that tremulous time, which lasted less than a year, fear engulfed many communities, and along with that came self-preservation. People accused others of witchcraft in order to simply protect themselves. There are many theories behind the witch trials. Some I read amazed me, others were staggering, and then there are those that, although incredulous, seem understandable considering the time period and the beliefs and ways of life back then.
My ancestor’s name was Elizabeth Dicer, and though I dug up as much material on her as I could, there isn’t much. It seems she was arrested after accusing several others of being a witch—which wasn’t uncommon. From my understanding, it was late in the year, and cold when she was imprisoned. Her son-in-law, whose name was Richard Tarr, (my paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Tarr, and Richard would have been her several times great grandfather) petitioned the courts to release not only Elizabeth, but several others because they would never survive the cold winter in the jail which had no heat. Just the previous month, The Court of Oyer and Terminer, which had been specifically created to try accused witches, had been overturned, or dissolved, by the Superior Court of Judicature which specifically outlawed the use of spectral evidence in any of the hearings. Richard obtained Elizabeth’s release by paying her bail and promising to return her to the courts for a set upon hearing date the following spring. Between the date of her release and trail date, additional changes and orders came about which led to the end of the accusations and trails, therefore Elizabeth, as well as several others, never needed to return. A few years later, monetary reparations and public apologies were granted to some families for false proof and wrongful deaths.
Although I used my family history and Richard Tarr’s name in my story, I did not use Elizabeth’s premise. Marina, my heroine, has her own reason for believing she is a witch.
And now I’m off to work on my next book about two orphans brought west on a train, separated, and reunited years later during the rough and wild days of the cattle drives inundating Dodge City.