Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why I Love 17th Century Virginia by Kim Murphy

Our series of guest posts about the 17th Century by the lovely authors from Hoydens and Firebrands continues. This time our post is from Kim Murphy.


Thank you for inviting us. I'm the odd one on Hoydens and Firebrands, as I'm the only Hoyden who writes about colonial America. Because I live in Virginia, I have also used the setting for my American Civil War novels. I find writing about where I live much easier to research by being able to visit the places where the history took place.

Why did I switch to the 17th century? I'm not really sure how it happened. I truly thought when I wrote about another time period that it would be during the American Revolution. In the early 1990s, I visited Jamestown and thought what a wonderful period to write about. One of the historical sites has replicas of the sailing ships that made the journey from England to Jamestown. I had a romantic notion of the colonists sailing to a new world and what sort of adventures must have awaited them. When I discovered there were no women on the first journey, I let my idea of writing about the period drop as I always like to include a strong woman in my stories.

After finishing my Civil War timeslip novel in 2007, I had a dilemma. I needed a new era to excite me and had a couple of ideas floating around in my head. One was that of a 17th-century witch. After a bit of research, I discovered Virginia did indeed have witch trials. Almost everyone in America associates Salem with witch trials, but Virginia has the dubious honor of being the first on the North American continent to hold such a trial. I was off and running.

The first group of English women arrived in Jamestown in 1609, which unfortunately coincided with the winter called the "Starving Time". I had expected my journey to be a colonial story. As it turns out, I was drawn to the plight of the Indians, commonly referred to as the Powhatan. In the historical records, I found where "many" colonists had run off to join the Powhatan. The act became punishable by death, leading me to believe it was far more common than many historians cared to admit.

Due to the lack of popularity for 17th-century stories, I again wrote a timeslip. Not only is my cunning woman (healer) trapped in modern times, she tells the tale of being caught between cultures, English and Powhatan. Current release date for The Dreaming: Walks Through Mist is January 2011.

Kim Murphy


  1. I really enjoyed reading this post! I am now following the blog Hoydens and Firebrands. I know there will be a lot of interesting historical stuff to read about...yay!

    I added your button to my blog!

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Michelle!

  3. Kim thanks so much for such a fascinating post, and for stopping by!

    Michelle, I love reading the Hoydens and Firebrands blog because you never quite know what exactly you are going to read about there!