Readers often ask why I chose a particular historic site and theme to feature in a new Chloe Ellefson mystery. It has become tradition to share what I found special in each new book. Here are some of the elements found in the 7th mystery, A Memory of Muskets.
After four adventures away from home Chloe is back at her own site, Old World Wisconsin. I chose in particular to feature the Schulz Farm, which has been restored to its 1860 appearance. This is a fabulous collection of historic buildings, one of my favorite exhibits at Old World. The architecture reflects building styles in Pomerania.
It was also one of the first buildings I ever worked, way back when. Flax processing is one of the major activities at the Schulz Farm. I was so excited to finally learn to weave!
After delving into Chloe’s background in earlier books, it also felt like a good time to learn about her friend Roelke McKenna’s heritage. The book includes a plotline that shares the story of the first of Roelke’s German ancestors to immigrate to Wisconsin—just as the American Civil War begins.
Wisconsin has a strong German-American population, and I was pleased with the opportunity to share a bit about that cultural group. A key scene takes place at German Fest, Milwaukee’s huge annual celebration of all things German.
The book is set in 1983, the year German-Americans celebrated the tricentennial of German immigration to America.
The premise of A Memory of Muskets involves preparations for Old World’s first Civil War reenactment. This was fun because I once was responsible for coordinating Civil War events at the site. Activities often involved the German Schulz Farm. The 3rd Wisconsin Regiment and other top-notch groups presented thematic programs that reflected different aspects of the war on the Wisconsin homefront.
I was a reenactor myself for over a decade. It was a wonderful hobby. I learned a lot, had some amazing experiences, and made some special friends.
I also met my husband, “Mr. Ernst,” through reenacting. So yes, I have lots of special memories!
In the coming weeks and months I’ll share more detailed behind-the-scenes photos and stories. In the meantime, I hope this serves to pique your interest in Chloe’s latest adventure! Happy reading.