I love history. It fascinates me like no other topic. There’s so much to learn from the people, places, and experiences of the past. History surrounds us, whether we take time to notice it or not. Vintage buildings, houses, vehicles, clothing, printed materials, heirloom plants, and photographic images all tell stories about the past. History in its many forms tells where we've been as a society, and sometimes provides clues to where we're headed in the future.
History has been part of my life as long as I can remember – family history and history of place. As I child, both grandmothers entertained me with stories of their families’ 200+ years of living in Middle Tennessee. No incredibly famous or infamous individuals populate our family tree -- just ordinary folks who lived hard-working lives, experienced U.S. history as it unfolded, and passed the stories to their offspring.
I've tackled a variety of topics during 40+ years of writing, but my favorite assignments deal with historical and non-fiction subjects. My desire to learn about the past continues, and research is a favorite part of the process. Research can be so engrossing that I literally lose track of time. Facts and figures are gathered from numerous sources, personal interviews are conducted, and the information is organized. Only then does the writing begin. My goal in piecing together a narrative is to provide readers with accurate, informative texts -- words that will allow them to experience life as it is -- or was.
Old photographs are another favorite -- the black and white images of nameless people posed near recognizable landmarks. Those images provide a peek at the past, allowing a glimpse of the same landmarks as seen by earlier generations. The landmarks may remain, but like the ebb and flow of a river, the stream of humanity is ever moving and constantly changing.
I also have a lifelong love of books and the printed word. Those who know me know I’m seldom without reading material – either printed or electronic. Most spare moments are spent reading, absorbing information, and taking notes on random topics for future research. If I can learn something new, it's been a good day!
Valerie Battle Kienzle Author