Here’s “Mixing History and Fantasy, Part 2” by guest blogger Betty Kulich. To read the first part of her blog, click her. Betty discusses how she combined the two genres for her novella, The Mask. Your turn, Betty!
As a Christian author, the connection to the supernatural needed a Biblical spiritual connection and not that of the usual supernatural, occult empowerment. This took some prayer and meditation, asking God who was the first author (Hebrews 12:2) for some creative thoughts to direct my story line. The fruit of meditation and prayer brought thoughts of how slaves came to America from Africa. That could become my link for the travel from Africa to the South prior to the Civil War and the time of the Underground Railroad’s operation. But why was the Mask in Africa to begin with? This is where another Holy Spirit inspirational thought connecting Solomon and the Queen of Sheba whose origin some say was Ethiopian—an African nation. Researching many legends and speculations surrounding their story, I spun more ideas to create a romantic story that connected King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, their romance, and marriage, to a supernatural mask given as a wedding present from Magi in the Middle East. A supernatural mask given to transform a woman into her God-given personality and destiny that always ended with true and perfect love as God intended.
Now I needed a story thread to get the Mask from the Middle East to Africa and finally to the United States in the Civil War era. I linked the Mask through the Queen of Sheba’s son to generations of African tribal chieftains who passed the special mask through their first-born daughters. This would allow the Mask to travel down into multiple generations until one of those chieftain’s daughters would be kidnapped by slave traders for auction in America. Secreted in her clothing the mask traveled to America, but how would it get from the slave industry of the Southern states to Ohio, a free state, and a “station” on the Underground Railroad’s Ohio Literary Trail—the Rankin House? This became the next leg of the story.
Would the story end in that time period or continue traveling through later eras, even perhaps into the present? I wanted it to continue and connect to the House of Four Pillars, a trunk from its attic and discovery of that trunk years later, bridging the gap to the present. I wanted to keep the Mask moving to more women, who needed it’s help to find their true love.
The House of the Four Pillars would connect as another stop on the Underground Railroad as the slaves made their journey to freedom in Canada. The House of Four Pillars could allow a new fictitious character to inherit the Mask from the African tribal daughter who only had sons. The Mask would now begin to work in a new life bringing perfect love to a heart for a lifetime. Through my fictitious trunk, the Mask would await a new owner for over one hundred years before beginning to work again. I needed to create a way for the trunk to get into the hands of a modern-day family with a daughter who needed the Mask to transform her life. I did that through an auction to support the Ohio Historical Society. The auction would bring the trunk containing the Mask eventually to the present, transforming another woman’s life by the supernatural powers and bringing her to the destiny and true love God had planned for her.
The Mask, a novella, has many opportunities for new and intersecting stories of others in the linage of the mask. What about others who misused the mask and its powers? What about women who inherited it and were too fearful to wear it? Many possibilities for the creation of other short novella spinoffs from The Mask await!
Ohio is full of literary connections. Libraries, museums, homes of authors, historical sites.Did you know Superman was born in Ohio?Did you know Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in the Cincinnati area?Check out the Ohio Literary Trail, compiled by Ohioana, for more interesting facts.
But before that, we invite you to enjoy some stories inspired by visits to a handful of Ohio Literary Trail sites in the last year. Your imagination might be sparked. Or at the very least, your curiosity!
“Mazza Mystery” by Bettie Boswell: Just who was the woman pretending to be a known artist? Why?
“Bovine” by JPC Allen: An elitist author comes to a backwater Ohio county, thinking he’s found the perfect setting for the perfect crime.
“Between Semicolons and Plot Twisters” by Rebecca Waters: An author finds more in common with Harriet Beecher Stowe than she ever would have guessed, when modern-day slavery comes close to home.
“The Mask” by Betty Kulich: A gift of true love is passed through the ages.
“Books: Caged and Free” by Michelle L. Levigne: On a moonlit night, old books come to life to share their stories.
Betty Kulich is an ordained pastor and serves as an Associate Pastor with her husband Rick of 50 years at Redeemer’s Church, Columbus, Ohio. Betty is the Director of Women’s Ministry for Harvest Preparation International Ministries (HPIM) of Sarasota, Florida for Mexico and Central America. Winner of the 2021 CIPA Book Award for General Fiction (The River & El Rio). Author of The Mask: A Historical Fiction Novella for an anthology based around the Ohio Literary Trail. Devotional author for Guidepost Books & Abundant Books. Winner of the 2020 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to being an international speaker & author, she hosts short vlogs on Facebook called “Life Outside the Pages” and a YouTube ministry channel for Hispanic Women. Betty is a certified P.O.W.E.R. speaker through AWSA. Member of AWSA, WW, ACFW, CIPA, Blue Ridge. Connect with Betty on her website, FB page, or contact page.