Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky
When the Moon Has No More Silver
When I first published Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky in 2006, I could not have predicted the response to it. Dark Enough was a homespun effort, although I approached it with passion and a desire for accuracy. I had learned that fifteen generations ago, my grandmother Cecily had come to Jamestown in 1611 as an eleven year old. Her mother Joan had come two years before that in 1609. These facts were indisputably in the records. Yet most history books told me no women or children were at Jamestown. The realization that we had not only forgotten these women but even denied their existence wouldn’t let me go. I kept picturing all the unmarked graves of women and children that must surely be beneath the soil of Jamestown Island. Could I tell these women’s story? I doubted it, but decided to try.
I quickly learned who was in charge. Joan Peirce wanted to tell her own story; in my mind, I heard her speak with authority and even defiance. I knew that a first-time novelist, especially one writing historical fiction, should never attempt to write in first person. “That effort most always fails,” I read. Yet, Joan was speaking to me clearly. When I attempted to convert her words to third person, the intensity was lost. It was not, after all, my story to tell.
In telling her own story, Joan often spoke to me of things that seemed far-fetched. I would research the facts only to find Joan knew what she was talking about! I gradually realized that Joan and the story knew what they wanted to be—what they should be.
I completed Dark Enough after eight years of work in May 2006. I didn’t attempt to find an agent or publisher. There was no time for that since the big Jamestown 2007 celebration would soon be taking place. I printed only 200 copies and fully expected to store the unsold books. But to my surprise, these copies vanished within a few months. I ordered more and then more…. Historic Jamestown, Jamestown Settlement, Henricus, Shirley Plantation, and Colonial Williamsburg were amongst the museums that sold Dark Enough.
The books spread across the country and even around the world. Before I knew it, letters were pouring in from all over, books clubs were reading it, classes were discussing it, folks were ordering them as gifts. Dark Enough, a simple, true story of suffering and survival had seemingly touched a chord. I had never expected this. Then the phone began to ring with groups asking if I would speak about the women’s story of Jamestown. Hundreds of speaking engagements later, thousands of emails later, and after book sales in the five digits, I am overwhelmed, amazed, and grateful.
Writing the second book has taken five more years, but at last it’s complete and available. When the Moon Has No More Silver follows the story of the women and children through the years 1610 to 1620. Initially, I had planned to write only one more book after Dark Enough, but this second book grew so fat that I had to split it. Dark Enough will now be a trilogy, and I’m already working on the third book, which will be called The Sun is But a Morning Star.
I hope you enjoy When the Moon Has No More Silver I as much as I’ve enjoyed the journey of bringing it to you.
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