Searching for history…

As a writer, you never know what you’ll find when you start doing research.

For instance, I recently looked up information about the Battle of Saratoga. This important battle in the American Revolutionary War plays (a small part) in my current writing project.

When I began my search for information about this battle, I had no idea what I’d find. As I scanned and scrolled down through the thousands of other websites, I suddenly noticed a post showing the name of one of my ancestors.


Positive that I was seeing things, I clicked on the link which took me to an old blog post written by a bookseller. Upon reading her post I discovered she had found a book—a very old book that was in terrible shape. At first she was just going to throw it away due to its poor condition. Then she started looking through it and discovered there was writing on some of the pages.

Here are the photos of the pages she shared on her blog:



Now some folks might not get excited by the sight of this scribbling from an old book. But as a person heavily involved in searching for my family genealogy, I instantly recognized the name and place of birth shown as being that of my 4th great grandfather, Solomon Wallace Stewart. Being able to see the very pages that he wrote his birth information on—and the names and birth dates of his children—made chills go up and down my arms.

Finding this was totally awesome.

Since it was such an old blog post (from 2007) I sent a message to the bookseller asking if she still has the book in question (which was printed in London in 1780.) I haven’t heard back from her yet, but if she does still have the book, chances are pretty good that I can’t afford to purchase it anyway. Just having the photos of the pages, though, are something I never expected to have. The information I found has helped to verify some of what I already knew, plus given me a few more facts I didn’t have, adding one more piece to the genealogical puzzle of my ancestors.

Now, back to my writing project, I did find the information I needed to complete the scene in question.

But for a few hours my work of fiction took a back seat to real life history.


Research . . .

I love doing research for my books.

Reading books about the time period in which I’ll be writing is a must if I want my stories to be accurate and give my readers the feeling of actually ‘being there’.

Photos of the setting, time period, and what I envision my characters look like, also help me when I’m creating the story.  Most of the time I keep all this ‘research’ information to myself–at least until the book is finished and released.

Once the books are out there in the public eye, however, I want my readers to know and understand where my story comes from.  So having said that, here are a few photos I used when I was doing research for my most recent Christian Historical Romance, Mattie’s Heart — Book 1 in The Morgan Family Saga — available at

You can purchase “Mattie’s Heart” here!

RKyser-72dpi-1500x2000Enjoy the photos!



Northern Pacific Railroad station at Gardiner, Montana, train in station, 1905file000878232921

10516583_740346449335337_4703949807203296395_n24982962314046ceb6f9349318e767cd Template for Mattie in kitchen

P.S.  If you’ve read Mattie’s Heart, I would love to hear back from you about your thoughts.  Do these photos represent what YOU thought of when you read the book?

By the way, you can see more photos I used for research for ALL my books on Pinterest:  Ruth Kyser on Pinterest

God bless you!

Ruth Kyser

Homesick . . .

I’m really missing the mountains today.  I don’t know why some days I miss them more than others, but today I long for the cooler mountain breezes and lofty views that are so special in the Smokies.

Any of you who have read my Christian Inspirational Novel, The Healing Hills, already know how much I love the Cades Cove area of the Smokies.  There’s something almost magical in that quiet, peaceful valley.  Perhaps it’s because you can almost hear the voices of the generations of families who used to live there.  Whatever the reason, some days I miss it more than others.

So I want to share a few of the photos I took during my last visit to the Cove.  Hopefully you will understand some of the draw of the place.  And if you want to know even more about it, be sure to read my book.  Available at and Barnes&

Looking toward the mountains from the John Oliver cabin in the Cove.

Looking toward the mountains from the John Oliver cabin in the Cove.

The Cable Mill--a still-working grist mill.

The Cable Mill–a still-working grist mill.

The Primitive Baptist Church.

The Primitive Baptist Church.

The John Oliver cabin.

The John Oliver cabin.

Reading, Writing, and Research….

I really like doing research!file000175875802

Sometimes when I’m writing, I find myself getting sidetracked by looking up a piece of information or checking on a fact.  I know some writers just keep writing and go back later to check the facts, but in most cases I would much rather take a few minutes to make sure what I am writing falls in the realm of plausible.  I’ve found it I don’t do this, I end up wasting time writing something that later I have to go back and totally delete from the manuscript.  I hate doing that!

Maybe some writers don’t have to worry about facts.  Do writers who deal more in the realm of science fiction have to check to make sure their writing is accurate, or do they just go with the flow?  Hmmm.  Good question.  I may have to ask some of my author friends that question some time.

Anyway, back to my research.

My current WIP (Work In Progress–for you newbies out there) has required me to research Michigan trees, flora and climate in South Carolina, Civil War, slavery, and Canadian census records.  And I’m sure there will be much more research required as I’m not finished yet!

But honesty, I really do enjoy the research part of my writing.  It’s the ‘getting the feel’ for the facts that allow me to get into my characters’ heads like I do.  Without the research, I’m afraid my writing would be rather boring–more along the lines of an essay.  And who wants that?

So….now that I’ve taken a little break to write this blog, I’m back to ‘hitting the books’, so to speak.  Gotta study up for writing the next scene!