When I first began the research for this book it soon became apparent I would need to make a cross-country trip to Silver Spring, Maryland –  to the Adventist World Headquarters where the Ellen G. White Estate and Archives are located. I didn’t know when I would be able to make the trip, it seemed like a far off event in the future, and most of all – totally unattainable. A dream that would never actually happen.

Then I attempted really writing writing earlier this month, and realized I needed to go there, and I needed to go there now.  If my characters were going to be true to history, and true to who they really were I had to have more information. I had to read their letters, I had to have the primary documents.

So I bit the bullet and booked my tickets, made all the arrangements, ensured everyone I take care of here would be taken care of while I was away. And I went. For two and a half days.  Half of that time taken up by air travel. But I went.

I spent every moment of those two days in the archives diligently reading, photocopying, taking notes, or transcribing letters and documents.

Okay, every moment but those few that we took a break to spaz out over the earthquake. 5.9 if you hadn’t heard about it, but unless you were in a cave you heard about the horror that was unleashed on the east coast.

I must have I copied off more than 400 pages of letters, documents, news clippings, and articles. I then transcribed another 23 pages of letters that were too fragile to photocopy, read a book on the history of Australia in the 1890’s, and took a notebook full of notes on it. I completely filled my head with the lives of these people – my ancestors, my novel ‘characters’ – and I came back with a real grip on who they were as people.  I discovered what made them tick, and what fueled their decisions and actions.

Sometimes I feel like a real big jerk for reading all these personal letters they wrote to each other – but most of the time I’m just grateful they left so much of themselves behind for us to read through.

One of the hundreds of letters I read through

Lunch at the cafeteria with a book to read - never a wasted moment. Oh how I miss Adventist cafeterias. Delicious!

I also found an amazing website: http://www.gutenberg.org/ which has created free ebooks out of several of the very old, and very much out of print books I didn’t have time to read through in the archive library before I left. Thank goodness for the internet!

Not only did I blaze through all that research, I also found time to tour the historic district of Washington D.C. (in evening before I grabbed dinner at a bar overlooking the Washington monument. Yes, a bar – it was the quickest and cheapest place I could find, and – surprisingly delicious food.  The humor of my nerdy little self reading a history of the Adventist church in Australia while sitting at a noisy bar in the heart of D.C. was not lost on me, trust me.  And to the sweet girl that sat next to me: he’s just not that into you. Seriously. You deserve better! Phew, so glad I got that off my chest.)

The greatest part was meeting another researcher who became just as excited as me about my book(s).  I told him the premise and he ‘got it.’  He got the whole idea of the book and so succicntly worded it that it made my heart skip a beat. “I can’t wait to buy it and give it to my children and grandchildren!” he said.

Talk about pressure!

There are people out there that are excited about this book, and that expect to read this book.

I have to deliver.

There is no better motivation than that for me.

And after all that time spent researching I even managed to squeeze in time to write,  which brings the word count all the way up to: 5740.

Thats two {very rough and unfinished} chapters – or approx. 23 printed book pages if you’re keeping track.

Next research trip: Australia! {If only I had a rich patron to send me there!}