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17 June 2013

Nova Albion

I love sites like This Day in History. I get so many ideas for books (often books I'll never write, LOL!) by looking at the daily events.

Today is full of fodder (the Statue of Liberty arrived in 1885, the Battle of Bunker Hill took place in 1775, the Watergate break-ins happened in 1972), but my favorite tidbit was that today Sir Francis Drake claimed what would become California for Queen Elizabeth I today in 1579:

"During his circumnavigation of the world, English seaman Francis Drake anchors in a harbor just north of present-day San Francisco, California, and claims the territory for Queen Elizabeth I. Calling the land "Nova Albion," Drake remained on the California coast for a month to make repairs to his ship, the Golden Hind, and prepare for his westward crossing of the Pacific Ocean."

What an interesting starting place for an alternative history series. What if Roanoke colony had been established in there instead of an island off Virginia a few years later? What if the Spanish had never established a foothold here? What if the English had colonized Northern California? What would the repercussions be? I think if I was to write a steampunk series or an Urban Fiction series, this would be my starting point for the history. It would give me such scope for invention and world building.

My brain works much the same way when I'm plotting my historicals. I see something and it sparks (often, it's something tragic that I think deserved a better ending). I turn it over and day dream about it until I suddenly have a plot, or at least an idea to hang a plot upon.

How about you? What's your favorite plot genesis?

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