EXCERPT from "Linking Past to Present" by C. Coco DeYoung in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction
"Wonder-lust," the need to know more and silenced only by research, can serve as both the catalyst and foundation of well-crafted historical fiction.
Carefully whittled, it becomes a chain linking the author and young reader to the annals of history.
Research is for me a hands-on experience steeped in sensory input. Wonder-lust created a need in me to feel the sensations of a rail-riding hobo during the Great Depression. "You don’t have to hop a moving train," a fellow writer once chided. "You could lose a leg!" Nevertheless, grabbing hold of the “grip iron” or ladder of the worn wooden boxcar was like gripping hold of a leg of history. As a writer of historical fiction obligated to fulfill the expectations of the young reader, the first-hand experience of hopping a train goes far beyond the realm of research necessary to write a period piece.
C. Coco De Young is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and storyteller. Her middle-grade novel, A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt, received the Marguerite de Angeli Prize, nomination for 10 State Book Awards, the 2000-2001 Keystone to Reading Book Award, Teacher's Choices 2000 by the International Reading Association, a Booklist "Top 10 First Novels" of 1999, and was selected by the Children's Book Council and the National Council of Social Studies as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Ms. De Young holds a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Elementary Education, and an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, both from Seton Hill University. She resides in Ridgefield, Connecticut with her husband, Don.