I get to learn about the “funnest” stuff.
Researching for How Sweet the Sound was not all about such grim topics as psychotic pirates, ruthless pirate masterminds, and poor, sick ladies being tortured with criminally dangerous drugs. Sometimes I got to learn about “growing doorknobs” and 18th century fiddle tunes and the flatboats the settlers steered down the Ohio River. And some of the products merchants shipped down the river, too.
The cave featured in How Sweet the Sound was the hideout and headquarters for river pirates and other outlaws during the late 1700s and early 1800s. One pirate put up a sign to lure settlers traveling down the river: Welcome to Wilson’s Liquor Vault and House for Entertainment.
As I was writing the scene inside this “cave-bar,” I realized I didn’t know what kind of alcohol they would have available, what it would be stored in, and how it got to the cave in the first place.
No problem. After a quick Google search, I found a great site that told me all that an much more about it. In a word: whiskey. And it would have been shipped down the Ohio (all the way to New Orleans) in barrels on flatboats. So I added a few barrels of whiskey to the scenery inside the cave and voila! My pirates were in business.
Visit this site to learn more: THE HISTORY OF SPIRITS IN AMERICA
There you’ll find an interesting tidbit or two for your own historical novel. Or maybe, like me, you don’t drink the stuff, but have a curiosity about all things historical. Here are some of the interesting topics there:
1. The birth of American whiskey and bourbon and how it differs in content and taste from that its Scottish and Irish ancestors.
2. How and why nearly every common farmer made his own whiskey. And why and how this led to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791. (Along with an easy recipe for making hard cider.)
3. How Kentucky became the whiskey capital of America.
4. How flatboats on the Ohio River played a part in the discovery that whiskey aged in charred oak barrels tasted much better.
5. The effects the Civil War had on people’s drinking habits and the origin of “artificial whiskey,” tax abuse and general government corruption.
6. Abraham Lincoln’s stance on drinking and how it compares to Alcoholics Anonymous today.
And much, much more.
How Sweet the Sound is now available in Kindle and paperback. I think you’ll be as intrigued by the pirate cave as I am. If you don’t already get my newsletter, sign up for V.I.P. Perks in the right sidebar. That way I can keep you in the know about all my upcoming books.It would be so nice of you to share!