Lars D. H. Hedbor is a father, marketer, and technologist passionate about history; in particular, the Revolutionary War period. To date, utilizing his imagination and a thirst for authenticity and accuracy, he has published three books.
Raised in Vermont, Hedbor’s interest in the Revolutionary War grew as he learned that the lives of the people involved extended far beyond the traditionally storied battle arenas of New York Philadelphia, and Boston. While the Carolinas’ involvement in the war are known to most armchair historians, there really hasn’t been much written in the way of historical fiction on the area, or Vermont’s role for that matter.
Hedbor had always had a desire to write about the period, and, in his mind, these seemingly little known areas seemed the perfect settings for his stories. In other words, while the author is telling stories, they have factual settings and are surrounded by documented events most of us aren’t aware of. So, here’s a chance to enjoy a good suspense tale and learn something at the same time.
“The Prize” was Hedbor’s initial foray into publishing. It’s a story set in Vermont against the backdrop of the war as it related to Lake Champlain, and a young boy caught up in events that will change the world. Readers took to Hedbor’s easy style. The author seeks to entertain readers, and he does that very well.
“The Smoke” is Hedbor’s latest offering in the series and presents a different take on the war. In thisHaudenosaunee Confederation, a nation of Native Americans who the Revolutionary War throws into a state of Civil War pitting brother against brother as the clans try to honor alliances, only to learn their nation may well become the real victim in the battle between British and Colonists. The story’s well done, and I enjoyed the insight and respect given to a people, victims really, long forgotten and overlooked in the circumstances that devoured them.
If you enjoy the Revolutionary War period, or want something a little different than you’re used to, definitely give a Lars D. H. Hedbor book a try.
Q) What first made you decide to write historical fiction, a genre open to careful scrutiny?
A) History has always fascinated me, because it helps to illuminate how we have arrived at our present circumstances, and to set our expectations as to what might happen in the days to come. It is difficult to learn much about the motivations and situations that drive history from the statistical history that many of us learn in classrooms--dates, names, body counts, and geographies--but I've always been excited by solid historical fiction.
Writing historical fiction permits me to teach history from the perspective that I think is the most important - that of the ordinary people who made extraordinary, often heroic decisions, and wound up shaping events in powerful and far-reaching ways. Not all of their names and specific deeds were recorded, a circumstance that gives me some leeway as an author, but their impact on our lives today is inescapable.
Q) How much research went into creating your characters from the Haudenosaunee Confederation?
A) I read several in-depth histories of the Haudenosaunee part in the American Revolution, as well as their history in the decades leading up to that time. I studied what I could of the structure and cadence of their language, and immersed myself in both primary and close secondary sources regarding their traditions and culture, reading accounts set down by external observers and by those who still adhered to the old ways themselves.
A lot of this research took place, though, after I had already started to know who my characters were, as I sought to understand how they might see one aspect or another of the world around them. I write very quickly, and rely on both a modest library of physical books, and the far richer resources available online to inform my writing. I was particularly concerned in creating The Smoke, though, that I treat all the characters with proper regard for their individual strengths and weaknesses - it's all too easy to fall into stereotype and biases.
I strive in my writing to put myself in my characters' heads, and to see the world through their eyes, and to depict their actions realistically, as motivated by their understanding and knowledge. It is inevitable that some of my own preconceptions likely shine through in my characters, but I do put a lot of effort into overcoming that tendency.
Q) You have an affinity for science fiction and fantasy. So, why choose historical fiction?
A) I very much enjoy reading good, character-driven science fiction that doesn't play too fast and loose with the rules of what's possible (or if it does so, follows the new "rules" it has established). My favorite sorts of fantasy are those that seek to establish a consistent and rich mythology, without just invoking supernatural capacities anytime the author gets stuck on how to explain events in the story.
In many important ways, the sort of rigorously self-consistent speculative fiction I like is not all that different from historical fiction; the main distinction is that the framework of history can be found already neatly laid out in academic materials that I think are so dreadful to try to teach from directly, whereas authors of speculative fiction have a bit more freedom to establish that framework for themselves.
Q) Your stories involve the deep underbelly of characters facing turmoil, be it in their families, or themselves in terms of where they stand and how they’ll deal with a war tearing neighbors and families apart. Why is the ‘inner’ person so important?
A) Most of us face moments in our lives where we must make choices that we are aware will affect not only our own fates, but those of people around us, whether family and friends or a wider community. My observation of human nature is that these cusps are usually not faced blithely, and most of us, when we come to them, give careful--even agonized--consideration to the potential outcome before making a decision.
I have no reason to believe that the men and women who shaped the historical events about which I write were any different in this regard. Contemporary correspondence and accounts of events makes it evident to me that it was clear to all concerned that the American Colonies were in the process of a world-changing moment, even as they were in the middle of the maelstrom. As is the case today, some people simply drifted through the events around them, but many made conscious, anguished choices to break with their pasts and do something unexpected - and heroic.
Q Any parting comments for fans and readers new to your work?
A) First and foremost, thank you for your enthusiasm in exploring with me these small stories of the great events of the American Revolution. One of the primary things that I have learned, over and over again, is that the great figures we hear about in the classroom did not stride across the stage of history alone, but were assisted and pushed there by people not that different from you and I, and whose impassioned, bold actions made a difference that we still benefit from today.
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net