Peter Serko

Hattie’s War – A Middle-Grade Novel

Thirteen-year-old Hattie Howell would fit right-in in 2022. She’s smart, ambitious, and a tad rebellious. She’s artistically inclined and speaks her mind, never one to take “no” for an answer. The problem is, it’s 1875, and Hattie’s world doesn’t quite fit her, or so she thinks. Adding to her woes is her father’s death, a father she never knew. The only thing she knows for sure is he died at The Battle of Gettysburg, and he was an artist. She wants to be an artist like him, but first, she needs to find out why he left his family and her behind. 

The arrival of an unexpected letter from her uncle marks the beginning of a life-changing journey for Hattie. In their backandforth correspondence, Hattie learns of her father’s life, the war, and the circumstance of his death. Along the way, a series of surprise gifts from her uncle further opens Hattie to the wider world around her. Finally, closure and a chance for a life beyond her rural upbringing are hers for the taking, but will she follow her dream and take that leap?  

HATTIE’S WAR draws on a real-life story—Hattie is my Gr-Gr-Grandmother Harriet, Hannibal my Gr-Gr-Gr Grandfather. While the story itself is fictionalized, many of the details are based on real events, including actual letters written by Hannibal during the War

 

Creating Hattie’s War

In this section, I share some background on how the story was developed and what went into writing the manuscript for Hattie’s War. I suggest reading #1- A Daughter He Never Knew first.


Hannibal Howell’s Military Service 

The New York 76th Volunteer Regiment Through Gettysburg The 76th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 12 officers and 161 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 156 enlisted men to disease during …

#10- Query, query, query…

These days getting published requires a literary agent. Few if any publishers accept submissions directly from writers unless, of course, you are someone with a track record. This means that the next task is to …

#9 – The Lady from Texas

The Hattie’s War manuscript began with a series of letters written between Hattie and her uncle Bryon.  Day one was April 11, 2020, at 3:10 pm. How do I know this? Google Docs and the …

#8 – Letters of Hannibal Howell

From the start, I dreamed of finding Hannibal’s letters.  I knew it was a long shot and had pretty much given up hope.   Besides, the letters were not something critical to Hattie’s story, at least …

#7 – Who is Hattie?

Hattie’s War is a work of historical fiction loosely based on threads of known information.  Once I decided the story should be told by Hattie I needed to figure out who exactly MY Hattie was.  …

#6 – Photos and Drawings… the gory details

The Civil War was the first war to be photo-documented, leaving us a vast collection of graphic imagery of the horrors of war. The best-known photographer of the war was Mathew Brady but there were …

#5 – Books

Fortunately, a treasure trove of materials exists ranging from memoirs to historical fiction, to academic writings dating from the time of the conflict up until today.  The massive two-volume, The Blue and the Gray; The …

#4 – Who, When, Where

It’s said that no other topic has more written about it than the American Civil War.    Every aspect of the war has been documented, dissected, debated, and written about for the last 150 years.  …

#3 – Pvt. Hannibal Howell

Long before beginning work on Hattie’s War, I spent considerable time digging for information about Hannibal Howell, my gr gr gr grandfather.  There are tidbits of information about him, but not much.  If Hannibal hadn’t …

#2 – So Many Questions

Hannibal Howell and his two younger brothers, Byron and Tappan, responded to President Lincoln’s plea in 1861 for volunteers to bolster the Union Army in the early days of the Civil War. The Howell brothers …

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