As the release date for The Darkest Current lurks around the corner, I’ve begun that trip down nostalgia lane to when I first conceived of the concept for the novel. I’ve had many (almost a scary amount, really) of people ask me, “why did you pick 1893 as the setting for your book? Like, I don’t remember learning anything about that year in school?”
“Oh but you’re so wrong! Let me tell you about the literal perfect storm that was 1893!” is my typical response… at which time most people politely smile and accidentally spill their coffee down their shirts in order to escape the conversation.
For those that don’t have a dark beverage within reach and are forced to listen to my ramblings about another time and place, the following are the bullet points and basis for the setting of The Darkest Current.
– 1893 was just after the massive railroad industry collapse that financially bankrupted a large majority of the south. Trains heading west were a hot business, and so the thought was, let’s build a network of railways to connect all of the major southern cities! The problem: EVERYONE had this same thought and so the market was saturated before it ever really launched. No good…
– 1893 was the year the Sea Islands Hurricane hit the lower Atlantic coast. Thousands lost their lives – most of them freed slaves and their descendants who were still struggling to establish themselves in a still very divisive and non-inclusive society.
– The Sea Islands Hurricane led to the solidification of the American Red Cross as a natural disaster aid organization. Prior to this, the Red Cross had been more of a wartime aid only, but the combination of a fire in Charleston and the Sea Islands Hurricane thrust Clara Barton and her relief efforts into the role we now recognize them for today.
-1893 also found America deep in the throes of recovery from the Civil War and the South was finding it hard to keep up. Deep in the mulch of discontent and growing cries for social justice were sown the seeds of discontentment at the obvious lack of gender equality and opportunities for women.
And there you have your history lesson for the day that you didn’t know you wanted! There actually WERE things happening in 1893, particularly in the South, and the ripples of these events were felt for decades to come.
Come back in a few weeks for more sneak peaks into the world of the Sullivans and Amelia’s struggle to find her footing amidst the chaos of the end of the 19th century!