Mastodon The Writing Desk: Guest Post: The Loyalist’s Luck, by Elaine Cougler

11 November 2014

Guest Post: The Loyalist’s Luck, by Elaine Cougler

When the Revolutionary War turns in favor of the Americans, John and Lucy flee across the Niagara River with almost nothing. They begin again in Butlersburg, a badly supplied British outpost surrounded by endless trees and rivers, and the mighty roar of the giant falls nearby. He is off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she is left behind with her young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy—her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy.

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History, Fiction, and Where the Two Meet

Suddenly voices sounded ahead of him and he clenched his weapon. Not fifty feet away a tall red-jacketed officer wearing a brightly coloured sash and a hat decked out with gold braid and a white ostrich feather broke out of the trees and ran toward him. Robert dug in his feet and with shaking hands fired his weapon. Back into the thicket he flew, the falling white-haired officer filling his mind as he tore down the path to the shelter below. His chest heaved and his heart threatened to leap out of it, both for the running and for his fear, which grew and grew. He thought he recognized the man he had felled.                                                                  

From The Loyalist’s Luck by Elaine Cougler

History doesn’t record who killed Sir Isaac Brock at the battle of Queenston Heights on the thirteenth of October, 1812. When I came upon that fact as I did research for The Loyalist’s Luck, a light clicked on in my head. Why not suggest that one of Lucy’s sons did the deed? She would be appalled.

Robert Garner, in the years leading up to the War of 1812, met and married a young American woman and subsequently fought for the opposite side when war came. I imagined what the war would have been like for him as he climbed the heights at Queenston, knowing full well that his brothers might be shooting down at him. Or worse, he might very well see his own musket ball fell William or Thomas.

But I went farther. I had him shoot the beloved British commander. Of course Robert is a lesser fictional character in this novel but I’ve connected him to the history with this minor scene and in that way told some of the actual history of Brock at Queenston Heights.

To give the reader clues about who the officer might be, I’ve added actual details about Brock’s attire. He wore the British red uniform, his hat sported gold braid and a white ostrich feather, and Tecumseh had recently given him the gaudy sash in recognition of Brock’s bravery.

But I didn’t actually say that Robert had shot Brock although in the very next paragraphs the point of view switches back to the British with William thinking about Brock’s death. The reader is welcome to surmise Robert has killed the British commander.

In this way I’ve left history intact, yet suggested what may have happened. And this is the wonderful thing about historical fiction. We authors can ponder and point and readers can draw their own conclusions.

Elaine Cougler

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About the Author

Elaine CouglerA lifelong reader and high school teacher, Elaine found her passion for writing once her family was grown. She loves to read history for the stories of real people reacting to their world. Bringing to life the tales of Loyalists in the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 is very natural as Elaine’s personal roots are in those struggles, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.

For more information please visit Elaine Cougler's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

The Loyalist's Luck Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 10
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 11

Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Wednesday, November 12

Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, November 13

Guest Post & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, November 14

Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, November 17

Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, November 20

Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 21

Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, November 24

Guest Post at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, November 25

Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, November 26

Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, November 28

Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

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  1. Tony, thanks so much for hosting me and The Loyalist's Luck on your inviting and unique blog. I particularly like the calibre of the photo you have at the top of the homepage. Well done!
    All best

    1. Thank you for a great guest post Elaine (the banner on this blog is a picture I took of Dylan Thomas' writing desk, in his little writing hut at Laugharne, close to where I live in West Wales.)


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