Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day Two with Sandra Robbins

Small cotton house surrounded by agricultural fieldsphoto © 2010 Kheel Center more info (via: Wylio)

I have always loved history and couldn't understand it when my friends in school would complain about having to study it. I enjoyed reading about people and events that had happened in the past and thinking about how their lives were similar to mine even though they lived years before I did.

I suppose that's why I wanted to write historical romance when I first began to write. I wanted to take readers into a different time and place from their lives and give them a glimpse of what it was like for our ancestors. To me, the South offers many choices for stories that readers will enjoy.

In writing Blues Along the River, I did a lot of research about the changes that were taking place in the South in the years after the Civil War. With the end of slave labor, planters had to find another work force so the agriculture system could survive. This need brought about the advent of the tenant farm system which survived well into the twentieth century. In 1930, 1,831,470 tenant farmers lived in a sharecropping system across the South. The end of World War II saw a decline and finally an end to this way of farming.

This system, though it sounds good, often resulted in a different kind of servitude. Those who worked the farms were often entrapped and barely scraped by on what they earned at harvest time after repaying the landowner for the "share" they had been given during the year.

My grandfathers were both a part of this system, but they were fortunate. With a strong faith in God and a strong work ethic, they both emerged from a system that sucked the life out of others. One of my grandfathers was able to buy his own farm while the other attained elected office and served his country for years.

In Blues Along the River, the tenant farmer system is the backdrop of Marcus's and Victoria's story. I hope you enjoy reading about a time and place where a love of God, family, and land offered hope for a renewed future.

Question of the Day
Were any of your ancestors involved in a major historical event?


  1. I love the way you bring the past to life, Sandra. My mom grew up in the days of WWII. A true patriot at the age of four, she donated her tricycle to the scrap metal drive and memorized slogans like "Loose lips sink ships". Also, she and a female cousin of hers were always on the watchout for signs of enemy spies even though they lived in extremely rural Mississippi. I suppose the OSS would have been happy to know they were keeping that corner of the country safe from the Gestapo. (Grin) Sometime in the future I'd love to set a story in that time just to be able to share some of her memories with others.

  2. Hello Sandra,
    I have always loved history, too! I don't know of any ancestors in major events. Mostly they just tried to survive during the Depression is an area where it hung on for many years, rural mountain areas of TN.

  3. I love history!

    Family lore says that I'm related to John Paul Jones. :)

  4. I also love history! And according to my grandmother, we descend from Patrick Henry, so there's a historical event to be connected to!

  5. AnonymousJuly 08, 2011

    The family tree shows that I am related to Zachary Taylor, Jefferson Davis and Aaron Burr. ;)