Today I'm pleased to welcome my friend Kim Murphy, who has an essay about a fascinating but little-known aspect of early American history which forms the background to her latest fiction release, The Dreaming: Walks Through Mist. I was absorbed by the novel when I read it several years ago; the research is sound, and I can highly recommend it to readers of time-slips (one of my favorites) and anyone interested in colonial America or Native American cultures.
The Dreaming: Walks Through Mist
by Kim Murphy
Witch trials in Virginia?
Except for some people who live in the tidewater region of the state, few realize that Virginia was the first to hold witch trials on the North American continent. Not only are the Virginia trials overshadowed by Salem, but the records that have survived to modern times are sparse. Thanks to the Civil War, many of the 17th century records were burned during the 19th century (another area of history that I know very well!).
Even though historians disagree whether the cunning folk (English shamans) ever reached the American shores, I uncovered two Virginia witch trials that sounded very much like cunning women. Yet, something was missing.
When the colonists first arrived on Virginia's shores, the land was already inhabited. Besides the John Smith/Pocahontas myth, I knew nothing about the Algonquian-speaking people, commonly referred to as the Powhatan. In my pursuit to learn more, not only did I read books, but I visited the historic sites. Jamestown is the original site where the colonists made the first permanent English settlement in North America, and Jamestown Settlement is a living history park where the 17th century comes alive. The Citie of Henricus is also a living history park portraying the second English settlement. Like Jamestown Settlement, it includes exhibits and demonstrations of how the Indians of the time lived, but unlike Jamestown, Henricus did not survive Opechancanough's organized attacks in 1622.
In my story, The Dreaming: Walks Through Mist I have blended modern times with romance, fantasy, paranormal, and the 17th century.
I will be continuing the story with The Dreaming: Wind Talker, which will hopefully be a fall release. My most recent release, however, is my first nonfiction title, I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War, the first book dedicated to the topic.
Thank you for letting me stop by. For further information, please visit my website www.KimMurphy.Net.
Kim Murphy's The Dreaming: Walks Through Mist was published by Coachlight Press in 2011 ($15.95 trade pb / $3.99 ebook). I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War, also from Coachlight Press, was published in January 2014 ($14.95 trade pb / $21.95 hardcover).