If I’m not mistaken, this Friday marks 39 days that Californians have been sheltering in place. (I know! It seems really unnecessary to add a link here, but since I’m a historian, it’s possible that there will be a later time when someone wants to know “what’s sheltering in place?” And so, I link.)
Some of us are a little stir-crazy, some of us are running out of flour (but not bread recipes!), some of us are a little paler than usual, some of us might be a little leaner, and since we are all writers of historical fiction, we are all wondering….Which of your characters would you like to be quarantined with?
He lives in Honolulu and takes advantage of every opportunity to surf, sometimes making his own opportunities to do so. He’s loyal to his family and friends, and he would do anything for Dolores. Alberto has a good sense of humor and a lot of friends. He lives with his parents in his grandmother’s house, and Grandma Jessie is an excellent cook. Being quarantined might tie Alberto’s free spirit down a bit, but Grandma Jessie’s cooking will make it worthwhile.”
C.V. shares “If I had to chose one character from my work in progress to endure this long period of quarantine, it would be Margaret.
She is a spunky, active person who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She doesn’t tolerate helplessness and hopelessness in others. A great frame of mind to have during a time of uncertainty.”
She doesn’t chafe against the restrictions of young ladies like Lady Lydia does. Lady Agnes is all about isolation, good at organizing people. She already embroiders linens for women’s charities, and she is a competent pianist. She also has her own secrets and would be quite capable of keeping others’ secrets too, just in case you let something slip on Day 45 of quarantine.“
Kathryn adds “I think I’d quarantine with Trou (True) from THE CASKET MAKER’S OTHER WIFE.
His mother Anna is a midwife and healer, but Trou was often called upon to help her minister to others. There was a real Trou and accounts say that he was a natural healer. He nursed several of his own children through the 1918 Spanish Flu before succumbing to typhoid in 1919. Some thought he would have become a doctor in a different time and place. He lived in a number of small homesteading cabins during his lifetime, so he’d know something about confinement and how to ‘get away’ into nature. Plus, he was a musician and loved to play the accordion. A little music would lighten the mood.“
“Since Gilded Age New Orleans lived under the threat of yellow fever every summer, I’m sure that Fanny, Sylvia, Olive, and the rest of the crew actually did quarantine sometime in their lives. But I don’t think they were very good at it because they like to be out and about the city. I think they’d be very difficult to live with in one place for a long time.
But if I had to pick one character, it’d be Sylvia’s sister Olive. As a doctor, Olive has her own infirmary at the back of the Wisdom Hall Settlement House (where everyone would be quarantined). I imagine that Olive would spend her quarantine conducting scientific experiments and organizing her medicines (including poisons!). I also think that Olive would be sneaking out to doctor people and that I’d be able to talk her into taking me along with her, so we wouldn’t actually be stuck in the infirmary.”
Ana Brazil writes historical crime fiction celebrating bodacious American heroines. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Historical Novel Society, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers.
Ana’s award-winning historical mystery FANNY NEWCOMB & THE IRISH CHANNEL RIPPER is set in Gilded Age New Orleans. Her upcoming October 17 2023 release is THE RED-HOT BLUES CHANTEUSE, a Viola Vermillion Vaudeville mystery set in 1919 San Francisco.