Honor Among Outcasts: Early Research Takes me to the Missouri/Kansas Border
I’m progressing on my newest novel, Honor Among Outcasts (Book 2 of the DarkHorse Trilogy). The story takes place in Civil War Missouri, the nastiest, lowdown, dirtiest part of the bloody conflict—oh, what my poor, harried characters may encounter!
Besides my main characters, I also am considering adding a couple of quirky new ones. Readers really loved the oddballs in Book 1 (The Lies That Bind), like idealistic little Ellen. We’ll see what fits into the new story and its themes.
So far, I’m fascinated by the 1863 chain of horrors on the Missouri/Kansas border during the war. I think I’ll begin with Union General Ewing’s Orders 9 and 10, which were tough responses to ruthless rebel guerilla activity, including crimes against civilians, what today we’d call crimes against humanity. As a response to these Orders, Confederate bushwackers massacred hundreds of abolitionist civilians in a raid on Lawrence, Kansas. Killed men, women, and children. Quantrill and other guerilla leaders led 400 rebs.
These brutal murders led, in turn, to Ewing’s Order 11, which cleared whole western Missouri counties of everyone, especially “pro-rebel” sympathizers, but pro-Union citizens, as well: everyone, men, women, and children. In defiance of their orders, troops robbed and burned their homes and farms in retaliation. Picture it: the roads clogged with refugees, old men, women and children, some with few clothes on their backs, many with no mules or oxen to pull wagons, carrying what they could save! Rough times.
Oh, my poor, sensitive characters, faced with unspeakable crimes, getting caught up in history’s tragedies. How did the DarkHorse partners—Durk, Big Josh, Antoinette, Isaac, et al—Devereau French, and their respective allies jump out of the Mississippi flames into this inferno?
But of course, nothing is simple in my novels. Twists and turns, surprises and revelations will be coming at you faster than a flash flood—oh, what I plan to startle and delight you with — again!
Online With Ed
If you haven’t done so, check out my online interviews: G.W. Pomichter’s “Hangin With” show, and David Clarke’s “Different Strokes for Different Folks.” And coming up: my interview on LA Talk Radio’s “The Writer’s Block” on March 31 (8 pm PST/6 pm CT), with Jim Christina and Bobbi Bell.
I’ll keep you up-to-date on all this!
Oh, and after you’ve read The Lies That Bind, let me know what you think. I love getting feedback, opinions and recommendations from fans.
For now, on with the Honor Among Outcasts research!