Lots of you have already heard the latest news: Caroline Abbott’s stories are set in 1812!
That’s all I’m able to say about her for now. What I can do is tell you a little about the process for creating Caroline and her world.
When I was invited to join the project, the editors at American Girl had chosen 1812 as the time period for the new character. Nothing else, including her name or where she lived, had been decided.
I spent about a month doing lots and lots of research about that era. I read everything I could find: books written by modern historians, books written by people living during the chosen time period, letters and diaries.
After that I met with the project’s editor and researcher at American Girl. We narrowed down possible locations for the setting, and—after getting feedback from other editors—we chose the location. Once that was decided, I traveled to do more research.
Next, I created a proposal for each book, sharing my ideas for the stories. My proposals were read by several editors and the researcher. The editors have lots of experience with American Girl books, and they know what readers like.
Once everyone agreed about the basic ideas for the stories, I began writing.
When I finished the first draft of Book 1, I started on Book 2 while the editors and researcher reviewed Book 1. I did several drafts of each book. Each time, they got better. With all the back-and-forth, we were sometimes juggling three or four books at once!
The researcher helped find answers to historical questions. Once I had complete drafts ready, the researcher also identified several content experts—historians who know a lot about the time and place I was writing about. They read the drafts and looked for any historical errors that might have crept in.
The whole process of researching, writing, and revising six books about Caroline took over three years. One of the hardest parts for me was that everything was a secret!
Next month, I’ll tell you more about the process of creating Caroline. Check back soon!