In our look back at the American Family Portrait series, we’ve made it to Book 3 in the series, The Patriots. And in this episode, I describe how, while mining historical research about the Revolutionary War, I struck character gold. I discovered Patience Wright, America’s first sculptress of notoriety.
- In the front of most novels is a disclaimer that the story is a work of fiction and that all names, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination.
- Still, it’s well-known, that some fictional characters are based on living persons. Tom Sawyer, Aunt Polly, and Becky Thatcher were based on persons Mark Twain knew while growing up.
- In all of my novels, I have an Afterword in the back of the book where I describe what is fictional and what is historical, providing resources my readers can use to research the history for themselves.
- In The Patriots, my character, Abigail Matteson was inspired by the historical Patience Wright.
- As a young girl, Patience molded figures out of clay and bread, coloring them with pigments from herbs, and flowers, and tree sap.
- Patience moved to Philadelphia, got married, and had five children. And when her husband died, she had to support her family on her own. She turned to her modeling talent.
- Together with her sister and eldest daughter, Patience exhibited her work in Philadelphia, London, and Paris to great success.
- Several amusing anecdotes of visitors to her house mistaking wax models for real people were the inspiration behind several of my scenes in The Patriots, including a dramatic escape scene.
Other episodes in this series:
- Why I Write Christian Historical Fiction
- The Incredible Power of Historical Fiction
- The Making of The Puritans
- The Making of The Colonists
- The Making of The Patriots
- Sports on Sundays: Keeping the Sabbath in the Days of The Puritans
- My 13-year Odyssey to Getting Published
- John Winthrop: The Forgotten Founding Father
- A Middle-Aged Male Author Attempts to Write Poetry From a Teenage Character
- The Stolen 300-year-old Bible
Jack’s Next Post
VIDEO: The Making of The Adversaries