I HAVE A GREAT STORY
Should I write it?
I still remember when the book ROOTS came out, and how it was a massive hit which was then made into a movie.
It was the first time, that I can recall, that a book was written about the genealogy of one person, traced back to his slave roots. It was a genealogical book, written in such a great way that it captivated the public. It brought us back generations and told the fascinating story of a man and how he came to be who he was. The book was written by taking stories from all the amazing experiences his ancestors had gone through- both good and bad, and making it flow forward into the life of the man telling the story.
I have such a story. It’s not fiction either. It’s very real and continues to this day. I’ve been working on it for 35+ years but am ready to share it now. I should write a fictional novel based on fact. This is the only way it can be told because there are gaps in this story that have to be filled in.
The above woman is only one tiny part of the story I’d write. She would be the character known as “Lady Boisdale” as she referred to herself. She was the wife of a Scottish laird who left Scotland and moved to England. He lived on the money he inherited after his land was sold off.
Lady Boisdale (or Mary Hender) was only about 15-18 when she met him and was illiterate. He was 39 by this time and had had at least 3 prior illegitimate children before her. Her father was quite a character and so was she!
She had 9 children before she “officially” married him in a secret wedding called an irregular marriage. Together they had 12 children and he had at least 15 that I’m aware of.
He directly descended from the great Macdonald of Clanranald clan that can be traced back to Somerled. She was of Cornish stock, descended from a shoemaker and somehow ended up living as a proper lady but without the legitimacy.
The truly amazing part is that she was a rough and tough lady who ended up in court for various reasons and always represented herself rather than hire a lawyer. She was accused of stealing, had a baby left on her doorstep who died within the day, got beat up for not paying her rent for over 6 months and charged with various other offenses. She ran a boarding house when her husband went AWOL, in order to support herself.
For about 30 years they lived as gentleman/woman with nice homes and lots of servants. They moved from Plymouth, to Swansea, and finally to Liverpool. By 1857, he was put in debtors prison for insolvency and then disappeared for a few years.
Once back, they moved in with their only son who hadn’t emigrated and spent the last decade or so in virtual poverty. Their children either died young in the UK or emigrated and then died young where they moved to. Each child has their own fascinating and tragic story as well.
To top it off there is a possibility that there might be a claim to the chieftainship of the clan because of the story I discovered.
My husband is descended from this family. The genealogy was done just to find his ancestors names. The story was discovered while I was doing the work finding them. I’ve been told so many times that this would make a great novel. There is only one problem.
I’ve never written a book! I’ve only written a short story. I’m not sure if I should write short stories about each person or try and put it all together as a novel. This is going to be my project for the next few years. What’s a Button, by the way? (see above photo of ad)