Saturday, September 08, 2012

YA Caught My Eye

The Lost Colony of Roanoke—even having written a novel inspired by this piece of history, which happened hundreds of years ago, typing the words still gives me a shiver. And why not? It's shivery stuff. In the 1580s, Sir Walter Raleigh got Queen Elizabeth I's permission to found a permanent colony in the New World. After an initial failed attempt, more than 100 men, women, and children signed on to a 1587 voyage—only to find themselves in dire conditions before long. Their leader, Governor John White, was sent back to England for help. He returned three years later to find no trace of the colonists, save the legendary CROATOAN carved into the bark of a tree.

There are few stories in American history that hold more allure than this one. So it's no wonder that it's a mystery people are still trying to definitively solve. In fact, just this year a new potential clue was found embedded in one of White's painted maps. And I wanted to solve the mystery, too. As I did research, I came across the name John Dee, a famed alchemist and advisor to the Queen, who it turns out was involved in planning the colonists' voyage… My story clicked into place. But my solution didn't involve going into the past. Instead I decided to bring the past to us. In Blackwood, when a mass disappearance occurs on modern day Roanoke Island it turns out two very smart—and very modern—17-year-olds are tied to the original mystery, and that they're the only ones who can uncover the truth, at last.

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