Please welcome my writing friend, Jennifer Lynn Cary, who has done quite a lot of work on her Crockett family genealogy. Then she did the most wonderful thing… she wrote it into a book! I so love doing this myself and love hearing when others do. Take it away, Jenny…
Thank you, Angie, for having me on your blog. I’ve heard writers speak of their passion for writing, but for me it’s more. The Crockett Chronicles are in my DNA. I started musing about this a few decades ago—hate to say just how many, but I had small children. My stepmother researched hoping to find college scholarships for my sibs and me. By the time she had the information together and applied to the DAR (Davy Crockett’s father, John, fought at the battle of King’s Mountain) I was married.
It seems everywhere she searched she came back to this book series as a source but couldn’t find it—Notable Southern Families. Then, during a trip to the Alamo, she found them in a small adjacent library. They copied any pages she needed, and she brought them home. It was the motherlode. It not only showed the lineage from Davy Crockett to my grandfather (my father’s father) but also went back to the first Crockett of the lineage, Antoine.
My mom made the applications to the DAR and handed me the data. I hadn’t gone on that trip so it was my first time to see the information. That’s where I met Antoine and Louise. Their story stayed with me. I dreamed about them, envisioned them, imagined all sorts of plots. All from about two paragraphs in that book. Fast forward a few years. I returned to college for my teaching certificate. A professor I wasn’t fond of asked the class where they would be in five years. Feeling smart-alecky I said I would be at a resort, relaxing after a successful book signing for my NY Times best-selling novel. Yeah, he didn’t believe me either.
But that stayed with me. About ten years later, I still thought about Antoine and Louise. God tapped me on the shoulder. He pointed out that I would never have a best-selling novel if I didn’t put something on paper. So I wrote.
Soon after our son went home to Jesus, writing became my therapy. I researched, I met other authors, and I eventually finished a book about Antoine and Louise that, for a first draft, wasn’t too bad. But I didn’t realize what came next and got involved with a publishing group that… let’s say it wasn’t the best idea for me. But I kept writing and learning. Things in my home and professional life got a little crazy, and I put writing on hold. Finally, I retired from teaching and the second thing I wanted to do was write—the first was sleep.
I prayed for an idea for about six months when God gave me one. Nine months later the rough draft was finished. I reconnected with my writing friends, sharing my interest in indie publishing with one friend who was quite knowledgeable. She came for a visit and when she left; we had a game plan. I trotted out my first book, this time we edited and revised like crazy. That is The Patriarch. I also had written the second in the series, The Sojourners about fifteen years ago. We’re putting the final touches on it now. When I first wrote it, I traveled to Ireland, where the story takes place. I stood in places where my ancestors walked and lived, even meeting a distant cousin I never knew I had. It was like going home for the first time.
The hardest part of the whole plan was writing the third book, The Prodigal. I’ve never written so fast in all my life. Ninety-five thousand words in under three months. Whew! By the way, The Sojourners released in November and is available for sale now. The Prodigal, the final book, released in January.
My final thought is this: there is a kindred spirit that goes beyond author/character with these people because they are real people who really lived. I carry their DNA in me. I can’t explain that connection better than to say I believe they have passed on a spiritual thread to me and I want to honor that with my writing of them. God promises to bless for a thousand generations those that honor Him. I believe that. Yes, this is fiction, but it is based on real people. I hope these stories come alive for you as well.
About Jennifer Lynn Cary
Jennifer Lynn Cary is a direct descendant of Davy Crockett. Retired from teaching and a full-time grandmother, Jennifer and her husband make their home in Phoenix, Arizona.
You can find her books on her website or on Amazon.