While Writing Antique Dreams
By: Amber Stockton
Have you ever sat down to read a book only to discover by the end of reading it that you’d received a history lesson without realizing you were learning history? That’s what happened to me with this third book in my Brandywine Brides trilogy. It began with Bound by Grace, continued with Stealing Hearts, and concludes with Antique Dreams. Like so many of my of my previous books, this series involves the same family in different generations, which means the setting of all three books remains the same.
My first series was also set in Delaware, but in Colonial times and closer to the town of New Castle then the Brandywine river area of northern Delaware. That little state often gets overlooked in history books, as well as in general geography, in favor of the bigger and more “known” states in the U.S. At least that’s what history book writers and a lot of teachers end up teaching.
One thing I discovered while researching this series is how critical and influential the little state of Delaware truly is. For example, did you know about Caesar Rodney’s ride from Dover, Delaware, to Philadelphia on July 2nd to interrupt the gathering of the Continental Congress and cast his vote in favor of independence from England? The delegates were at a stalemate, and Rodney’s vote turned the tide, causing a domino effect with the delegates which led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Had it not been for Rodney’s ride, we might not celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, or even at all.
And think about the last time you received a credit card statement or even an offer to sign up for a credit card. Did you happen to look at the return address on the outside of the envelope? Ten-to-one says the city postmark is from Wilmington, Delaware.
Also, did you know New Castle, Delaware, was originally supposed to be what Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) is today? That town is a fully functioning, restored Colonial town, and the residents declined the potential to turn it into a tourist site celebrating Colonial history. They preferred their little town to remain quaint and private. As a result, Williamsburg became the international tourist site, though those who are aware of New Castle still visit for a less-crowded historical experience.
Wilmington, Delaware, has been the focal point of industry for nearly 400 years. Everything from shipbuilding, gunpowder manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, railroad cars, carriages, and leather. By the end of the Civil War, Wilmington was producing more iron than the rest of the country combined and it rated first in the production of gunpowder. Pharmaceuticals followed a close second and still remain a significant source of production today. The city even boasted the first horsecar line in answer to the westward expansion of the city’s finest merchants and manufacturers into large homes along tree-lined streets.
Those homes are the ones where the characters in my series reside, and their roles as prominent business owners factor greatly in the stories of each book. Researching this wealthy area of Delaware and digging deeper in the everyday lives of the residents who lived there provided a lot of appeal for me. Growing up, I used to dream of one day living in one of those grand homes on several acres of land in the beautiful, well-kept neighborhoods or country estates west of Wilmington. It was amazing to see so much green and so many artfully-landscaped lawns.
At first, I balked at returning to the setting of my first series, mainly because I had since moved 2000 miles away to get away from the industry and development of the area. But now, I realize how much history in that little state there is yet to be told. Such a rich and fascinating history with many more stories to cover. You just never know where one of my books will be set next.
Reader Questions: Have you ever stumbled upon a town or place that you consider a real treasure, but it appears as if the rest of the world might not be aware of it? It could be while driving across the country or even into another state, or while browsing online, reading books, watching TV/movies, or even talking to a friend or family member. If you’ve found such a place, where is it and what makes it so unique?
Another question to answer (if you can’t think of one for the above): Can you name at least one of the major companies or businesses that are incorporated in Delaware?
Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author, speaker, and virtual assistant, who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie.. She has sold fourteen books so far and is represented by Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary. Read more about her at her web site: http://www.amberstockton.com/.
About the Book (Antique Dreams, book 3 in Brandywine Brides):
Lillian’s brother has one last request. On a cold April night as the Titanic sinks to the ocean floor, Conrad Bradenton asks his new business partner, Aaron Stone, to fulfill a final wish: that Aaron return a well-worn book to his family and take care of his sister. Aaron seeks out Conrad’s family, never imagining the depth of his commitment until he meets lovely Lillian Bradenton. Hit hard by the despair in her eyes, Aaron encourages Lillian to restore her hope by bringing a boarded-up bookstore back to life. Lillian is uncertain whether she can trust this stranger, the last link to her beloved brother. But she has faith in her brother’s ability to read people. If Conrad saw something in Aaron, maybe she will in time. Then Aaron is summoned to London, and Lillian wonders if it is too late to turn hesitant friendship into undying love.