I wrote The Rising Shore–Roanoke as a way to cut a path back in time, to an island where I could imagine hearing the first splashes and gunshots of our American history, and behind that racket, a baby's cry. I learned about the Lost Colony in grade school. The picture that caught my attention must have shown a woman in a long cape, holding a wrapped infant, standing on a beach. She wasn't a Pilgrim. She'd disappeared into the woods years before the Puritans built their cold churches far north of her location. Her name (Elenor) wasn't that important, not as important as the name of her baby–Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America. It was the disappearing infant that made this story so much like a Grimm's tale and fixed it in my head. I was a fan of all woodcutters' children who snuck out of the house and started walking into the dreadful forest.
Elenor Dare was actual; an Elizabethan woman, daughter of an artist, she lived and died. Hansel and Gretel are fiction. But I'm sure their stories have tangled together in my head. Americans often call on Forefathers–and sometimes Foremothers--as patron saints or even distant ancestors, as if we had all magically inherited fragments of their courage and resourcefulness. I am convinced that immigrants who survived sea crossings and then had to set up house in this new place were changed, and that their examples still ignite restlessness (and inventiveness and belligerence) in the United States. But I'm also aware that it's unlikely I would have dared to venture if I'd lived inside that bowl of time–the 1580s–rather than this bowl of time. I can't claim the Elizabethan planters or American frontierswomen as my relations.
Yet what if? If I had sailed, and survived, how would I have behaved? It's impossible to know, but this simple (simplistic?) question haunts my reading of all stories about flawed heroes, real and unreal.
I hope you read Rising Shore–Roanoke, get immersed in its world, and recommend the novel to your friends. Thank you for visiting this website.
First time scuba diving with husband, Hugh
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