Why write history?

Many of you know that I am not originally a “writer of history.” I am a published romance writer. As a kid I didn’t much like reading. I think I made it through high school without finishing more than two or three books. And then I read my first romance novel. And I was hooked.

I will admit that, in the beginning, I mostly read historical romances. They seemed to make history come alive. Real people. Real stories. When I started writing, though, I wrote contemporary romance. I guess I love the idea that love does win out in the end.

But now I’m writing history. So the question is why?

Sam Adams said, "It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men."

I believe that we must keep the stories of the founding of America alive, keep setting brushfires in the hearts and minds of our people. Or we’ll lose it all. All that these people gave everything for. Their stories are real and, though love doesn’t always win out in the end, their sacrifices did make a difference. And still do.

So why do other people write history? A few days ago, I was reading through some posts on a Revolutionary War board. An author was touting his book about the lead-up to the Revolution and mentioned that Amazon was offering it at a discount. I hopped over to Amazon to discover that the discounted price was $27. How many readers do you think he’ll get at that price?

Now, granted, he may not have set the price. He may be with a publisher of scholarly books who set their prices according to some view that their books are worth a lot more than others. Really? Why is that, I ask. Is that because the author did hours and hours and months and months of research? And the writer of historical fiction didn’t? Well, that’s just silly. Even the premier work on April 19th, 1775, Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer, sells for under $20. And he sure-as-shootin’ did his research. Almost half the book is footnotes.

So why the high price of history? You got me? But I do know the unintended consequence. Fewer readers. Fewer brushfires.